And it was just the beginning.
There was so very much to learn. My book was out there for the world to find and enjoy and I had the satisfaction of being able to say to anyone and everyone that I was an author.
It could all just be that simple. Write it and publish it. The only difficulty is selling it. Now that is a story all of its own.
I will admit that I like learning new things, as long as they are fun. Marketing is not something that I have found fun. But learn it I must.
So, onto the internet I went. There are many, many, many places to find advice on how to market a book. I trawled through long hours of advice, most of it similar.
I made notes of what sounded good and began my campaign.
Advertise on Amazon. Watch your money disappear down a rabbit hole and bring very little return. I made amateur mistakes and soon realised that I should have started all this marketing much earlier. Months before release.
I came to the same conclusions that most of the advice gives.
- Write a good book. (well I think I did that)
- Get a good cover. (it is good. Though as you know if you have followed my blog, I have my own cover demons that I am still trying to address)
- Write a good blurb. (I did my best)
- Get reviews. (Ah… this could be a problem)
- Spread the word wide on social media. (Ok I have a few friends on FB and I have new shiny author accounts on TT, Insta and twitter – I just have no clue what to post about. But I gave and continue to give it my best shot)
- Keep going, never stop!
So, I know my mistake. The all important reviews. The reassurance to a potential reader that if someone else liked your story then they will too.
I called my friends, I e-mailed everyone I thought would read my book (a very short list from my contacts) and eventually, way too late I started a newsletter and began to collect e-mails of readers who were reading my free stories.
Friends are great. Until you ask for a review. Luckily a few did me the great service of writing one, and I thank them for it.
I started doing supply teaching full time. Each school I went to, I put a small stack of books in the staffroom with a note to help themselves to a free book if they could please leave a review when finished.
One review later I gave up on this as a course of action.
I tried some review websites. Yes, people were eager to sign up for the offer of a free book. Ask them to review it, to let me – the author – know if they liked it or not, now I understand the agony of hours metaphorically begging.
I got up off my knees and tried something new. I published several short stories as reader magnets and began to grow my e-mail list. Perhaps people who read all the time would be more inclined to leave a review. I really enjoy the chance to interact with my audience via my newsletter (Findo’s Message Tube) and yes, I have had one e-mail response to me from the 300 or so ‘fans’ I now have. But I still have not found the secret to getting a review.
Eventually I dropped my Amazon US adverts, no sales, no reviews, no point – yet.
After keeping a close eye on my UK adverts, I dropped those to. It was too easy to spend hours looking at very little data and wishing there was more.
I like writing, so I got back to writing.
Book 2 of The Beast is going well. I wrote a prequel to the story -The Hunt From Shadows- giving readers an insight into one of the main character’s past, this is now available for free to anyone who signs up to my mailing list. https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/11919fcc-d92e-11ec-9456-0f8a4e2307e7
Then I tried something new. A story which will shortly be available exclusively through my Patreon page, a serialised novel. More news available on the coming soon page of my website.
I got burnt out. Working full time, writing when I got home, keeping the family happy.
I took a few days off writing and found that I couldn’t give it up. I needed to write. I had more story to tell.
I work, I write, I hope I have found a balance now.
Obviously, the dream is to write full time. So, in order to make this dream a reality I applied for a permanent job teaching.
I did not succeed.
So, I applied for another job. Happily, they liked me, I will be a full-time primary school teacher in September.
Don’t worry if your confused, so was I…
If I want to write full time then I need to get paid. That means book sales. Which means I need to finish book 2 and release it sensibly ensuring I get a good review team organised ahead of release and use my new-found knowledge of marketing to good effect.
Unless I am very lucky the income is unlikely to support me, so I might as well work. After all, I wrote book one whilst working.
Mix in some very friendly Patrons through Patreon and I hope to slowly build towards my dream, and produce good quality fiction along the way.
Somewhere on this journey, a few kind people have read The Beast, some have left reviews. Of those people, some are friends, but most are strangers who have let me know what they think of my little story. Their words make all the difficult times worth it, and yes, I am smiling.