I haven’t been very active lately. Life gets in the way. It’s a matter of tiredness and to be honest, also frustration.
For those who think that once you publish a book, you don’t have to do anything more, I have bad news. Once the book is out, your troubles have just begun. In the case of traditional publishing, the publisher will also promote you to some degree. If you are self-published like I am, getting noticed is tricky business.
When I published my first book, I made some mistakes due to inexperience. For example, I didn’t know I had to find possible reviewers before I published the book, or establish my presence in social media. Here is a link to a blog with useful information:
As I said in a previous post, reviews are vital. Not only do they encourage possible buyers to invest in your work, but also serve as promotion and free advertisement when the reviewer posts them on their reviewing blog and any other social media they may be using. So I busted my behind looking for reviewers and reviews. I went through a list of reviewing blogs, located genre-related bloggers and sent more than thirty five emails asking for reviews on my book. I also organised two giveaways on Goodreads. (For those of you who don’t know, giveaways on Goodreads are a way to create buzz. Randomly selected winners get free copies they are expected to review. Strictly speaking, it’s not compulsory for winners to write a review, but this is why giveaways are organised in the first place; to offer the writer exposure and reviews).
So, let’s see what I’ve achieved so far. In the case of emails, I received five replies: three ‘no’ and two ‘yes’. The rest never replied. The two who said yes, they are interested, haven’t contacted me since September. I am still waiting to hear from them.
In the case of Goodreads giveaways, out of eight books, three got lost in the post and I had to buy new copies and resend them. So far I’ve got two ratings and just one review. Five more members have copies of my book in their possession, some for ten months now, some for eight, and they haven’t rated it or reviewed it. I know better than pressure them; I only contacted them once, to make sure they got their copies safely. They will rate or review the book when they have time, which may well be in two years from now or never.There is nothing I can really do except perhaps organise another giveaway, and hope winners will respond more promptly this time and books won’t be lost in the post.
The thing about being a writer is that you need to have patience, lots and lots of it. Your book may be your number one priority, but other people have different priorities and problems. They have jobs, families, friends, pets, and everything else life entails, like sickness, heartache, accidents, divorces and plain, mind-numbing tiredness. That’s why you have to wait, and wait, and wait some more while trying to think of ways to promote your work. The real problem is that you don’t know what makes a difference in sales. Is it reviews? Is it advertisement? Giveaways? Word of mouth? Connections? Plain dumb luck? All these combined? So you have to try any stratagems you can think of, (in my case, with a very limited budget at your disposal…) and keep your fingers crossed. There are several internet articles on promotion, but they more or less say the same: I wish we knew what makes a difference to do it too. 😉 So patience, insistence and hard work. It’s discouraging, frustrating, even downright maddening in some cases, but no-one built a fan base overnight. As I said in the previous post, that’s how real life works, contrary to descriptions found in YA genre.
Here are four lists of reviewing blogs. Good luck! I hope it all works out.
Here is also some advice on review requesting: