Initially I decided to self-publish both my books after learning that it would be up to me to market and promote them anyway, with little if any help from the publisher.
The Light Stays On first came out in 2008. The reviews and responses were heartwarmingly good, but I did very little to publicize it. This love story was (and still is) listed on Amazon, I did a couple of book fairs, got the book into several independent book stores, and had a hilarious reading in Provincetown (me sandwiched in between two very erotic lesbian writers, one with a story about Buffy the Cheerleader and her gym coach. I crouched in embarrassment!)
I also got a nibble from a publisher I had contacted, who was interested but only if I expanded the story by 50 more pages. I didn't follow up. Fast forward to today and The Light Stays On is finally getting my attention. I'm always thrilled when someone says that the story of Alex and Lily meant something and touched them in some way. I've made a few small changes and have recently 'republished' the book on Amazon, also making it available as a e-book and in countries outside the USA. This time I'll be more involved.
At the same time I'm promoting my recent book of poetry, Love & Other Annoyances. Same deal: it's on Amazon, in a few select bookstores, and I've done a couple of book signings. What's different this time around, is that I'm also laboriously trying to learn about algorithms and meta data--the secret sauce that puts a book in front of Amazon readers instead of buried under thousands and thousands of competing titles. Learning anything about this computer-generated approach is no fun. I pretty much hate even reading the basics.
It's all harder than I expected.
I've done a bit of paid advertising on Amazon and I've nagged just about every kind person who's bought my books to leave a review on Amazon. I expected 30 reviews the first month the poetry book came out, without realizing that writing a review isn't an easy ask for many people. Reviews can help a book take off; that's for sure. So I'm still pushing and hoping, now, shooting for 50 reviews. (I'm hopelessly dogged.) But I also know this goal isn't going to move ahead without a real effort on my part. I also know I can't be nagging people!
Which brings me to my current Turtle way of life. These days I stop what I'm doing, whenever I can, when I start to lose interest or get tired or feel frustrated. So for my book promotions, this means there are many days when I do just a little. This especially means that my attempts to navigate the computer skills and knowledge I need are driving me crazy! There are some days I could throw my laptop against the nearest wall or window.
But this is also true: every single time I see a new review or there is a new sale or someone acknowledges my writing, it's gold.
Sigh. Every single time......xo