To promote or not to promote?
These are the questions that an indie author faces.
Do I have the answer?
Before my anthology, ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon‘, came out, I was going to be attending the Ad Astra Toronto Convention. To promote my work, I printed up business cards with a scan code. I passed out these cards to any and all who would take one. My hope? That people would, in fact, download and read my work. From this, I hoped whatever number did take advantage of the offer, a portion of those would enjoy the stories enough to purchase, ‘Tomorrow Wendell‘, the novel set in the same universe.
For almost a month before the convention I plugged hard – including mentioning about the free give away on any Ad Astra related site I could. I made pictures that had the book covers and quotes from reviewers and shuffled which ones I posted on Facebook and Twitter every day. I tried my hardest to both be constantly in the faces of anyone who might see these posts and yet find a line where I kept them engaged in the posts without just being the same ‘billboard’ over, and over, as they drove down the street. Because lets face it…there are thousand of such billboard lining the social media highway and it is too easy to be jaded, even to the things you love.
What was the result? Well, there was a definite sales upswing during that period recorded on my quarterly report. The question is – was it worth it? I spent many hours tailoring these posts, and responding to posts, and working hard to get people to seriously think about purchasing my books. It was not something I would really want to do 365 days a year… nor do I think I could, while maintaining any sanity or time to write. It was nice to see what appeared to be a direct correlation from the work to the sales – but it was also a bit disheartening because I knew I could’t keep it up.
So if not time invested to bump sales, what about money? Answer? I don’t have enough of it to find out. I suppose I could horde all profits from sales until I have enough to pay some decent agency/group to promote me and then after a year compare sales… but I have other uses for that money. I guess maybe I’m just not a gambler at heart.
I used to write for the love of writing and because I had to get the damn voices in my head to shut up. Recording them was the only way to do it. I still try to do it for the love of the plot, characters, and the simple joy of creating a world from words, but the pay-check – big or small – it changes that. No matter how hard I try, my brain slips to the business side. Should I be spending more time on social media – more sites, more clever promotion gambits? What am I doing wrong – what did I do right?
It’s no wonder writers are so often considered to be insane… the job drives us there. I have no answer except one – write for the love. I’m going to try my hardest to follow my own advice on this but, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, even this post is a promotion. ~sigh~