I have no regrets for the work I put in and consider THE BETWEEN to be a success. The book sold a few hundred copies and I covered my expenses. Conventional wisdom would have me continue to flog the book on social media outlets to drive up interest and sales. Conventional wisdom would have me continue to solicit reviews and run promotions. (Which I continue to do, but not as my primary job. My primary job is writer.)
This is not to say that those activities are wrong or ill-advised. There is no denying that content creators need to also take the lead on having their material discovered. However, promotional activities are harmful to your bigger picture goals if they:
- cut into your writing/creating time
- annoy your potential readers
- pester your current readers
I haven't seen significant direct return that I can attribute to any of the promotion/guest blogging/reviews around THE BETWEEN. I'm not surprised.
This is my first published work. I don't have a backlist. I don't have an industry reputation. The kind of audience that I want for my work takes time to nurture. It takes relationship building and a body of work.
I'm fortunate. What I do have is a drive to write stories and the discipline to finish them, then polish them to the best of my ability.
To that end, and because if I read another article on social media strategies to sell a gazillion books my head will explode, and because I can't stand the hourly barrage of self-promoting tweets/FB messages etc, I've decided to take a giant step back from the relentless marketing. I'm not well suited for it and it makes me crazy. What I will do is focus on writing. Writing more stories and novels.
My current project is a serialized SciFi novel in progress (DERELICT) that I plan to have finished this fall. If my agent still doesn't believe it is commercially viable, I will revise it, have it edited, etc, and self-publish it as novel number 2, even as we continue to submit other novels to traditional publishers. (I've been very public and upfront over my belief that it's not an either/or situation, but about getting the right projects into the hands of readers in the best way.)
I'm committed to offering my newsletter subscribers original short fiction in return for their trust in providing me their email addresses and their trust.
I'm committed to editing/revising the work my agent is representing and approaching this publishing business with professionalism and a high work ethic.
I'm committed to the stories I have yet to write, and to the readers I have yet to meet.