Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Current Life of Me the Writer


 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

Love kj

10 comments:

  1. My question would be "why do you write?" Is your motivation to sell a lot of books? Make money doing it? Increase readership? I have a friend who has published 30+ books with an editor and a publisher and barely ekes out much profit. It is a very tough business to break into.

    I wish you luck in achieving whatever your dream is.

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  2. I can answer that question, rather easily, 8. It must be a passion, or a purpose. I have to write. That said, I am also an entrepreneur. I like feedback on what I do, I like to at least break even, and I especially like the possibility that what I do may help or comfort or entertain someone somewhere.

    and yup, writing is no way to make a living! I'm counting my sales for the poetry book because I want to know when I've covered my initial costs of paying for setup and editing. If I'm completely honest, there is also this far out silly hope that I might be more 'successful' than I imagine I might be. If I had a choice between money and praise, I'd quickly take the praise.
    love kj

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  3. I never thought about this. It's not enough to write a book but people have to read it too. Hmmm. Must rethink retirement project.

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  4. Dear kj: I am sure the book will do very well. My best wishes! And you are a phenomenal writer, sales or otherwise. By the way, my firm belief is that good writers are rarely good marketers, and vice versa.

    Love

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    1. hello hdwk, thanks for your kind words and long standing support. did you manage to buy the book through Amazon India? I hope it has not been a hassle. I am finding that I HATE the marketing piece, mostly because so much is dependent on technology and social media tools.

      I hope you are well and I am so glad we keep in touch!
      love
      kj

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  5. Replies
    1. hello rajani, thank you and welcome.
      love kj

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  6. I spent time writing for publication, and found that it has nothing whatsoever with writing for the love of writing. Rather, it's a business that a given writer might or might not be good at, and that's if s/he can to do it at all. My chief regret in life is that I haven't done "more" with my writing, but I truly don't know how I could have succeeded given what my strengths and weaknesses are. I wish you luck.

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    1. snow, it is definitely a business. I have the skills to be good at the marketing piece, but over the years my interest in pouring energy into that has declined. So I'm taking my time and nibbling here and there. The Amazon algorithms are maddening and difficult to understand. Don't forget you can easily self publish your vast and thoughtful essays. I'm happy to share my journey with that if you are interested. It is quite a great feeling to hold your own book in your hands.
      love kj

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