EleMental: A First-person Shooter (level 1) will be free through Amazon and Amazon UK on: Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October (US times).
EleMental: A First-person Shooter (level 2) will be free through Amazon and Amazon UK on: Friday 5, Saturday 6 October and Sunday 7 October (US times).
I’m rubbish at promotion. This is not me whinging, this is me stating a fact. And something other writers in this new world of indie ebooks must feel as well. To be a successful indie writer, you need a business management degree, you need to be a whiz at IT and you need to have the mindset of a car salesman. Oh, and it also helps if you can write. But that last one only comes later – when you have readers, and they begin to weigh you up, deciding if they would be happy to read another of your books. But you have to get to those readers first!
In truth, this is how traditional publishing houses are anyway (to varying degrees of success – my old one has just sold itself to A&U as of this week). They are businesses after all. Some staff working in publishing houses might be there for the love of books, but a business is there to make as much money as it can from its product. What an attitude! Like when I worked in hospitals in the eighties and patients were treated as daily cost figures indexed against average length of admission rates.
I’m loving the sense of control indie writing is giving me, but there’s a real down side. The expectation that you now must treat your writing as a product to be pushed on to others. If you’ve been an insurance salesman and you’re now turning your hand to writing ebooks … well, you have a real edge.
Having spent years as a health social worker, I’m finding it a big ask to suddenly turn around and start acting like I’m a Mad Man advertising executive. I can’t do it! The number of times people have offered me money for my print edition, and I’ve just given it to them instead. Silly me. And I’m paying for my lack of experience and slack business attitude now. Take a look at any of my ebooks on Amazon and Amazon UK, and it’s hard to believe I have just finished launching the first level of my newly-republished book. The Amazon ‘likes’ are low, I have one review (good on him, though and thank you), and I daren’t for the life of me check out those much-discussed algorithm sales figures things Amazon so obligingly provides its indie writers. The less I know the better.
It’s such a different way of doing things, this new writing game. Once, it seemed fine that someone from a welfare background also had ambitions as writer. So many of us did. But, today, does that translate to saying that I also hold ambitions to be a salesman on the Internet?
It’s about finding a balance that hopefully works, and to some degree I’m comfortable with. I haven’t found that balance yet, that’s for sure. No amount of happy tweeting and Facebooking made a heap of difference during my launch a few weeks ago. One good thing, I have joined a terrific Internet-based group known as the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), and from there have received some advice from experienced indie writers who have managed to find a balance between high quality writing and self-promotion activities. It’s different for all of us. But it’s good to hear what they have to say.
And so I am starting again. See my new dates above. I’m going to be giving away all four levels of my ebook for free at intervals, starting this weekend. Through ALLi I found out that a whole new industry of free ebook promotion websites has sprung up. The irony is, many won’t agree to promote your book unless you have five, 10 or more Amazon reviews and you’re averaging four to five stars. How am I supposed to get Amazon reviews without their promotion help? (Certainly I won’t be hounding family and friends for reviews, that’s not cool.) It reminds me of the old catch 22 in traditional publishing, where a publisher will only look at manuscripts from agents, and agents will not consider representing you unless you are already published.
I’ve trawled through the many websites and have approached sixteen that look possible. Fingers crossed they’ll include my book in their promotions this weekend.
I’m proud of EleMental: A First-person Shooter. It reviewed well when it came out as a traditional print book (including Book List). And, through this indie ebook phenomenon, I’m rapt that I’ve had the opportunity to give it a makeover (and bring back some of my old ideas, like the title, that the publisher did not want). I believe in my book. I’m standing by it. Here’s to a better promotion second time around. And to finding a balance I’m happy with.