The Path Through The Dark Woods
First the good news: I’m almost done with Deep Pink. I need to do a last thorough read, since I think I sound amnesiac through some of it. As in “Why are you telling me this again? You already said it.” This is the result of many, many interruptions in the editing.
Anyway, as the time to release it (and the books almost done shuffling impatiently behind it) out the door, Dan and I were discussing how to promote.
We have a lot of indie friends, so a lot of the ideas they used came up. Only to have me break into a rousing (off key) rendition of “my way.”Also, yesterday on my blog, since Frank J. Fleming did a post on marketing someone in the comments recommended a book by an indie author who made it big on how to promote your book. And I had to pour water on it and point out this is a whole genre, and yep, they all have different advice.
Here’s the thing: for twenty two years I did what I had to do to “succeed” in traditional publishing. For reasons out of my control that success was limited to “continue being published” and it worked. What I had to do was out of my control too. There was one way to make it in publishing and it involved a lot of keeping your mouth shut and swallowing. It also involved to a greater or lesser extent a lot of faking. Probably more than in other jobs. (What do I know? It’s been decades since I had honest work.)
Stuff like that breaks you and breaks your soul. It also doesn’t really work.
Now, none of the indie stuff is that bad. And some I might even do. But following things like the K-boards or the other stuff people keep following to find out “how to promote now” would drive me nuts.
There’s this method that INDISPUTABLY works, which involves identifying under-serviced areas, writing to those areas, extensively researching the right key words, changing them when those change, etc etc etc
Listening to someone — for whom it worked spectacularly — describe it, I felt exactly like I did when I was in my twenties and a friend dragged Dan and I to an investors meeting. (i.e. how to get rich quick meeting.)
My reaction “yeah, logically this works, and it works for John. But it’s a full time job that eats your life, and that’s NOT how I want to spend my life.”
I am very clear on what I want to do with my life — to the point I keep postponing starting classes to teach writing, because I’m afraid that will become THE job, and writing the side line — and it is not research underserved areas, write to market, or research keywords.
I’m not disputing it works. I’m fairly sure it does. It’s just not MY way.
Same and with sugar on top for newsletters and even to an extent for buying ads. I’m too slapdash to keep it up, and between blog, aggregator blog, MGC and writing fiction, I’m already maxed out. And that’s not counting my tendency to be a promiscuous short story slut, who basically writes for anyone whose project interests me.
And then, you know, some methods only work because they’re … small. Once everyone is doing it, people stop reading the newsletters, or whatever.
So, what is my plan? I don’t know. We’re very sit of the pants we who are myself.
Look, having started a blog when everyone assured me blogging was no longer a thing, and done it to the point it now has on average 8k unique hits a day, I couldn’t tell you how I did it except “I did the things I knew how to do and knew I could keep up, and I forgot everything else.”
And that’s what I’m going to do.
One thing everyone agrees on is write a lot. Writing a lot is good for your numbers and your purse. So I’m going to do that. I’m also going to give the books AT LEAST passable covers (some will be better.) And try to do a professional job.
And I’ll push them on my blog, the aggregator blog. And I’ll probably come up with other ways to promo. Try a lot of things and some of them will stick.
But after 22 years of doing what I HAD to do? This time, I’m going to do it my way.
Because that path through the dark woods? In the end, you have to find it yourself, with your own light, if you’re to end up in a place you want to be.
And so it starts.