Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Time for a new plan

I read something interesting the other day. Apparently most independent authors sell on average 4 books a month. Did you get that? 4 books a month. And when you consider that most of these books are priced between $2.99 and a meagre 99 cents, that’s not a lot of royalties to be earned. Doesn’t look like too many writers are going to be quitting their day jobs any time soon.

The good news for me is that I’m actually managing to do better than that. The bad news is, not by a lot. At this stage, any plans for instant stardom are most definitely on hold.

So what is an indie author to do faced with such a distressing statistic? Especially one with barely any knowledge about marketing and a pretty minuscule social network to this point. Do I go off into a corner, put my head in my hands and wail inconsolably at the hopelessness of it all? Or do I put my nose to the grindstone and dedicate every waking hour to the single-minded pursuit of publishing glory, to the exclusion of all else?

I’ve decided that the answer is going to be neither of the above. I’ve come up with a novel marketing strategy:

I’m going to have fun!

I’m not going to tear my hair out and whine and whinge about how hard it is. And I’m also not going to drive myself to the edge of exhaustion over it. I’m going to try and enjoy myself.

When I go out on social networks, I’m going to have a laugh with people. See if I can make them smile, and see if I can make myself smile as well. Whatever promotional activities I hold, I’ll try to add in some sort of fun element to make them as appealing as I can. Whatever space I’m in I hope to make an enjoyable space, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or this blog. Enjoyable for other people, but most especially enjoyable for me.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try my best. And it also doesn’t mean I’m not going to be smart and organised. But if I’m not enjoying myself as I go, I’m either going to collapse into a miserable heap or turn into a manic head-case.

Maybe I’ll be successful. Maybe I won’t.  From now I’m suspending all my expectations. I know my book is good (I've had enough wonderfully positive feedback from readers to tell me that) so I want to give it every chance it deserves. And if that's going to be a long haul, I need to make sure I can maintain my motivation without going crazy.

Because ultimately, the reason I chose to write was because I really enjoy it. If I don’t extend that fun into my marketing, then I might as well not bother.


  1. An excellent post, Jonathan. You mention issues with wisdom behind them, and I fully agree with you. You should also try and interact with as many people as possible to try and build successful relationships. I left a post on your Facebook wall last week which I'm still waiting for a reply to ; )I'm not accusing you of ignoring me - you just probably haven't seen it yet. But I thought this was a good place to mention it : )
    P.S. I've tweeted this for you, hopefully you'll get a lot of hits as a result.

  2. Yeah, I write because I enjoy it and it gives me an outlet that is a lot less destructive than many others I can imagine.

    Who knows, maybe my writing will be treasured when I'm no longer around. Immortality of my words on the page. Of course, that doesn't help me or my family; nor did the praise that Kafka earned after death. What the hell, we write because we do. If it sells, great, if not, I'll keep writing anyway. I know more than a few words, I'm literate, it's my right.

  3. I like! And I agree - writing is fun, but marketing isn't and it's sooooooo hard. We might not be millionaires, but at least we still have hair :) You're fck it attitude made me laugh :)

  4. If you write because you want to write, you'll always have fun. If you write to make money it'll end in tears more often than not!

  5. This is a really great post and a good reminder of why we write.

  6. Writing is definitely not a get rich quick scheme--sometimes it works out that way, but if you're looking to get rich there are easier ways of doing it.

  7. I agree, we write because we love to, not because we're going to get rich. And hey, if we get rich too, that's great. But it shouldn't be the sole purpose otherwise I can imagine a whole lotta unhappiness and head bashing. And really, who needs it? (Head bashing bruises)
    I JUST went indie and not to make my millions (although like I said, I won't complain if it happens) but because I have a good book and I want others to read it. And hey, it's been fun so far.
    Great post!