I don't know whether it's just me, or whether other writers feel this way, too, but now that I've finally published Striker, I feel kind of - empty. Is that weird? I feel like I've lost this huge part of me, that suddenly, after all those months spending time with those characters, immersing myself in their lives, I feel a little bit lost, and for most of this week (yes, I know it's only Tuesday) all I seem to be doing is faffing around and getting nothing constructive done at all. Not one thing. Well, okay, I've written a press release to send to local newspapers, when I feel brave enough to contact them. And I've done a handful of guest posts on other authors' blogs. But apart from that, it's been a case of twiddling my thumbs and putting off the inevitable - the marketing of Striker.
Yes, I can put it off until those proverbial cows come home, but this book is not going to sell itself. People aren't going to fall over themselves to buy it if they don't know it's out there. So it's up to me to change that - but that's where we have the problem. I don't have a bloody clue where to start! And this is nothing new. This is my seventh book, so you'd think I might have picked up a few tips over the past couple of years, and I have. Don't get me wrong. But there's only so much an indie author like myself can do before we hit that brick wall. Although, right now, I feel like I've hit it before I've even started!
You see, I'm really not a very good salesperson. I'm also very shy. I find it hard to approach people, hard to ask for things, and I find it even harder to blow my own trumpet. I mean, I can sit here and say I think Striker is one of the best books I've written, and I really think, if you like your escapism sexy and your men hot, then this is the book for you. But I find that very hard to do. Not because it isn't true, because it is. Well, I think so, anyway. Selling myself just doesn't come easily to me, that's all.
I see some of my fellow authors appearing in local newspapers, on radio shows - and I wish I could do that, too. But I just find it extremely difficult to push myself, and my books, forward. But that's nobody's fault but my own. And I have to change that mindset.
So, with all that in mind, does that mean that, maybe, I shouldn't be doing what I do? Because, after all, marketing and selling yourself is such a huge part of being an indie author. But I don't think it's just the shyness and the fear of approaching people that's holding me back. I think there are other things standing in the way, too. And that brings us back to that age-old subject of the indie -v- traditionally-published author.
To some, the stigma of not having a publisher willing to back your books still makes a fair amount of people out there assume that your work isn't good enough, it's not up to scratch because, if it was, then surely a publisher would have spotted that potential and snapped you up? They assume that, just because you're an "indie author" you aren't taking it all seriously because, if you were, then surely you'd be spending your days trawling through agents/publisher listings finding one who will represent you. Er, no, actually. I've been there, tried that, and found that it took up far too much precious time that I could be spending writing. However, you do underestimate how much kudos mentioning a publisher carries.
I know for a fact that, should Striker become a successful book (I'm talking hypothetically here because, right now, I think Jackie Collins has naff all to be worried about!) I probably still wouldn't get past the usual round of ignored emails at local TV/Radio stations, because they look at the words "indie author" and dismiss you and your book like you don't matter. That you can't possibly be good enough because nobody in the literary world wants you.
I know this is a problem that will continue and, to be honest - thanks to Amazon changing their algorithms on a frequent basis - I can't see it changing any time soon. So I'm just going to have to get used to it, toughen up, get working even harder, and learn to market my books in a better and more imaginative way. Nobody's going to do it for me.
I have to learn to ask, to put myself forward, and if doors are slammed in my face then I need to fight to get them opened again. That's what I need to do, rather than venting my frustration here. Although, it's amazing how cathartic getting something off your chest can be.
I hate the marketing side of things, I really do. I find it such a chore, and that's mainly because of the kind of person I am. Shy, quiet, and not someone who regularly pushes herself forward. I just love to write. When I'm writing I'm happy, I'm really, really happy! But then we get to this part of the process and I feel deflated, almost. Like none of that hard work was worth it, when I know that I'm the only person who can make it worth it.
Christ, I can ramble on, can't I? But I think I know what I've got to do now. Even though I'd much rather just open up a new Word document, and start typing that first sentence of a brand new book. Because that's why I love doing what I do...
Follow @michellebetham Tweet