The perils of self-promotion – Amanda Egan
A week ago I featured an interview with author Gary Murning on the subject of self-publishing and it’s impact on the literature landscape. This week, we take the subject a bit further.
Amanda Egan took the self-publishing step last year with her debut novel, Diary of a Mummy Misfit, and the follow up, The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit. In this guest piece she gives us an insight into why she took that step, and the difficulty facing self-publishers in getting noticed in a crowded market.
I shamelessly sell myself, beckoning punters over with an alluring proposition. ‘Look at me!” I say. “Come take a closer look at what I have on offer and see if I can tempt you.”
Every day I do the same thing, almost like pounding the pavements – just to lure another customer, to make another cheap buck.
Yes, I’m an Indie writer and my days are filled with raising my profile and praying that a few more books will sell and my exposure will go up another notch. Because without the support of a publishing house or agent, all these jobs fall to me.
And of course there’s a fine line to tread – not enough plugging and I fade into obscurity, too much and I start to piss people off. Oh to find that perfect balance!
When my first book was released last June, nobody knew who I was. I’d just been rather unceremoniously given the flick by two major publishing houses (“Oops, sorry, just signed someone too similar!”) which in turn led to me sacking my agent for dragging the chain. So I launched myself and my book into the cyber world and hoped for the best.
I quickly realised that I was the tiniest, most insignificant little drop in the ocean and that writing the book had been a doddle compared to the job ahead of me now.
I did (and continue to do) all the things you’re meant to – Facebook, Twitter, Klout, blogging, guest blogs (like this) and interviews. I also gave my novel away to reviewers and prayed for positive feedback.
The 5* reviews came, as did the writing of book two and currently book three. It became easier and easier to put a 90,000 word book together and harder and harder to promote myself.
Twitter’s great for promoting because it’s so immediate but you can’t be ramming your wares down peoples’ throats all the time – they get the hump. It’s far better to plug a couple of times a day and then spend the rest of the time chatting, getting to know people and hoping that they find you interesting enough to go and check out your work. It’s a case of building a rapport and trying to be witty within 140 characters, then standing back and hoping for the best.
But the absolute best way of selling – like any business – is word of mouth. My readers do the job for me. The Mummy Misfit Brigade are a loyal lot and they tell friends who go on to tell yet more friends. I guess it’s pyramid selling in its purest form. My readers are now eagerly awaiting my third book so I must be doing something right!
So, as I limp towards my first anniversary as an Indie writer, what have I learned?
- the writing is the fun part
- it’s a slow old burner
- it’s a 24/7 job
- it’s rewarding and disheartening in varying degrees
- it’s not for the lazy.
But watch this space. I’m a fighter and I won’t give up until I hit the big time – hopefully with a mini-series. And then I can put my touting days behind me!
Thanks to Amanda for taking the time to write this piece. Obviously, if you take your writing seriously and decide to self-publish, it is a huge undertaking. Getting the book written is just the beginning, and all of it is not for the faint-hearted or the thin-skinned it seems. So all you budding novelists, still interested in publishing that meisterwerk yourself?
Amanda Egan’s books Diary of a Mummy Misfit and The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit are available to buy on Amazon for Kindle and in printed format at Lulu.com. You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @mummy_misfit and her Mummy Misfit Blog is updated weekly.
Amanda Egan lives in London and is currently working on her third novel.