Saturday, May 14, 2011
Frustration and What in the World Am I Doing?
On top of all this, I'm finding the only way to get my books in people's hands is to offer them free. Such is the life of a true indie author. I'm suffering from what is commonly called artistic frustration or starving artist syndrome. It's when you KNOW you have an excellent product and you are trying to make others aware of it. I offer my books for free to military personnel...it's the least I can do for our service men and women. This is my largest market so far.
I've social media'ed myself into a frenzy...my part not the buyers.I've offered coupons for free Fridays for the month of May and watched my numbers go no where. (Message me for the e-book code)I've followed every guideline I could get my hands on. I've tweeted it. I've added it to my messengers. I've emailed. I've Googled it. I've Stumbled it. I've Dug it. I've LinkedIn it. I've Facebooked it. I've myspaced it. I've SheWrites it. I've added it to the signature in every message I've posted. I've hit every place I could advertise and promote for free. I've created trailers to hit the youtube viewers. I've press released to all the regional newspapers. I've created and distributed bookmarks, flyers, and posters.
I've sold two books...count them one...two in the past month. At $0.84 per copy that's $1.68 cents...that's less than $0.01 an hour for labor (that's just in advertising)...oh wait, there is taxes to be paid, Internet services to deduct, power bill, printing costs like paper and ink. Well, I'm in the hole big-time! What kind of marketing professional am I when I can't sell my own books? What in the devil am I doing? I have to be certifiably INSANE! Let me put the calculator away before I really get going and see how much I didn't earn while writing these books.
No book clubs here to promote at. No bookstore is willing to let an indie author in to even do a book signing. Just missed the author's reading/sale at the one public library in town. I cannot travel more than day trips and with gas prices the way they are I'd have to sell a couple hundred copies a trip to even make it profitable. Ah, the joys of living in a small town. About the only thing I haven't tried is running down Newcastle Street butt naked screaming at people to buy one...wait that would only serve to make people throw up and get me arrested...Nope, can't do that.
I know, I know it's brand building. It's making people aware of who you are...like this blog. But after months of this, I'm tired, beaten, and FRUSTRATED! I'm not giving up, but I've spent far too much time doing all this instead of writing. It's is not a you build-they will come living.
Do I have thousands of dollars to pump into advertising...nope (remember the double digit bank account). I had thought to buy my paperbacks from CreateSpace and sell them at the local writer's conference in June, or even grab a booth at the local festival...wrong! At this point even ten copies of one book would break the my bank account. My account is screaming at me and teetering on the edge of red. I found myself in tears today just balancing my checkbook! The old "you gotta have money to make money" keeps biting me in the butt. That's when I knew I was seriously frustrated. I'm sure all you eleven followers know my feelings. I didn't self-publish to get rich, but I also did not self-publish to just provide free reading material for everyone either.
I emailed a friend, Jack McDevitt, and he agreed it was a rough way to go. Of course, he's been published in standard publishing for years and he and his wife are great. I think if I really had the choice I would have gone back to standard publishing, but that isn't even an option right now. I'm thinking about why I am doing this to myself. The answer is clear. I do it because I have to. I know I'm a good writer. I know how to tell a good story.
BUT is there anybody listening?
For good measure I'll promote it here again-
Both available at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com
The Sacrificial Lamb
Facebook Author Page
Escape from Second Eden
Facebook Author Page
Author Page Amazon