Square One

I have a new book launching in ten days. If you keep up with me at all, you know what it is, because God knows I advertise it every five minutes on social media. The book is going to be divisive, if beta readers are anything to go by. Two seem to like it. Two don’t. That’s fine. I very rarely split things down the middle with readers anyways – people either seem to love my writing or royally dislike it.

I wasn’t particularly nervous about Savor the Wicked throughout most of the first half of the year. The world’s troubles and issues of a personal nature have taken my attention away from my new series. But now that the release date is right around the corner, I’m starting to realize I’m coming up against this one in much the same manner as I did The Ghost at His Back. Back then, I think I could afford about fifty dollars worth of advertising for that book. I advertised it locally through a small county newspaper and through Bknights, a discount advertiser that has gone on to become a staple of my advertising, since I still work on a shoestring budget.

This time around, I’m not even working with that, not yet. I’m looking at buying a washer and dryer next month, glasses the month after that, and soon a freezer for the winter months. All of these are necessities – not urgent ones, but they have to take priority over my business expenses. I’m excited. It’s the first time I will have had a washer and a dryer for over ten years.

But from a business perspective, it’s insane. When I set the preorder date, there was no way to expect this. I am releasing a book with no advertising save for what I can scrounge up on social media. My mailing list might as well be non-existent. Most the people registered to it signed up when I first started (and before laws changed for this sort of thing) to be entered in a Kindle giveaway. The people who actually open the newsletter are largely family. That’s… pretty much it. It’s why I pulled Beast as a freebie from the newsletter and sold it on Amazon instead. In its short lifetime, it’s already sold more copies than people who have signed up for the newsletter.

Turnaround from the newsletter is also atrocious. Same with my social media advertising. I see more sales when my brother says something flippant about one of my books being out than I do with months of chapter teases, pre-order announcements, and all that nonsense. I can’t sell a book for shit. It’s easier in person with paperbacks, which has always surprised me. Generally, there, if people pick up the books, they buy a copy. I did some mental math one day during a sale and figured it came out to about 8 in 10 people buying books who read the back matter.

So why there and not online? Your guess is as good as mine. No traditional means of author magnets has ever worked for me the way it has for other writers. Part of it I know is not writing to market, but even there, you’d think I’d get SOME people reading the first chapter of a new book online or at least giving the posts some likes or shares. But apart from a couple close friends, I can’t even get that. That’s not me whining. That’s me saying things need to change.

And they will. Eventually. I’m working on something massively stupid at the moment, so stupid it should get more eyes on my work, or so I hope. And financially, things are looking up. I have some big expenses on the way, but once I’m over that hurdle, I should be able to advertise future books in a bigger way.

In the meantime, I do what I did back then. with The Ghost at His Back. I ask people to share, much as that sucks to have to do. I try to write the next two novels, which is secretly where the real money will come from (buy-throughs are my bread and butter). I continue to look forward to the day when I’ve ground out enough stories that I can eventually turn advertising into a major cornerstone, not just a “when and where I can” opportunity.

And maybe by this time next year, I can start looking at in-person sales again. Maybe. We’ll see if Godzilla doesn’t come destroy the earth or whatever the hell else 2020 has in store for us.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, whoever you are stumbling across this blog. I have maybe two visitors a month here, so if you’re one of them, much love. And please, don’t be shy. Some days it feels like I’m drowning out here. You have no idea how much a comment or a like means.

Or, God forbid, a book purchase and a review.

Okay, whining’s done. Back to work.

Author: therealcamlowe

Writer, occasional victim of pug crop-dusting.

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