For those of you who have been following my blog, whether on my website at www.henrytobias.com or at Google + http://bit.ly/1GM615j , you will know that I recently published my first book, an eclectic anthology of short stories and essays ‘Just for Fun’.
I published it first on Smashwords, and set the price at $3.99 for the e-book. Wanting a print edition I published at CreateSpace, which will be available within the next few weeks – I’m just waiting for my friends at my writing group, to whom I owe so much, to read the proof copy and see how many mistakes they can find.
I have been looking at my stats and if I was dependent on sales of my book to feed my family, we would all have starved or be begging on the streets of Jerusalem by now – which rumour has it yields quite a good living – not that I’m contemplating putting the rumour to the test. First of all I haven’t got the patience to sit on the pavement all day dressed in rags and then at this time of year, it’s too hot, with temperature reaching 40° C.
I’ve sold SIX e-books, TWO on Smashwords and FOUR on Amazon, but I’ve had 72 sample downloads at Smashwords –Amazon don’t have a sample downloads counter, but as I suggested it in my enquiry they may add such a feature. Now I know that sounds like very bad percentages of sales to samples, but this is my first book and it takes time—so the more experienced, successful authors tell us.
However I’m getting away from the purpose of my current blog or rant if you like.
Promoting my book is to say the least, challenging! I’m tweeting, blogging and Google plussing or as www.dictionary.com tells me there is no such word, maybe it should be Google +ing. I read sites promising to teach me how to ‘sell books by the truckload’ how to become a bestselling author in six weeks, six months or while I sleep. Once one gets past the hook sentences and wild promises, all better sites will have a disclaimer – ‘we can’t promise anything’. Then there are the webinars, which promise to turn you into an expert writer, author, blogger, indie publisher, just listen to the free webinar, which tells you nothing, but promises that if you are willing to pay $300, $500 or some ridiculous amount, you’ll soon be sipping mai-tais or whatever your poison is – mine is Coke served ice-cold, on a Caribbean or Greek island – not that I’d go to Greece at present – I may not be able to withdraw money to buy anything to eat, never mind to drink. Anyway mai-tais are rum based – according to Wikipedia – so Greece is the wrong setting.
Now any author who writes to become another J.K. Rowling or E.L. James, to name just two phenomenally successful writers, is living in la la land – and I don’t mean L.A. – that’s another place altogether – although the same number of actors find their dreams there, as successful authors – very, very few.
I read about seo – promising plain English (I don’t know where he learned plain English?), analytics – both Google and universal, keywords, ten steps to market your books, five steps to get readers, seventeen steps to get admitted to a mental hospital. It’s driving me bonkers, crazy, insane! Besides, all the e-book and print book retailers have myriad books, priced from zero to plenty dollars on how to tweet, Facebook, google+ etc. etc. etc. your way to billionare-dom.
I’m totally confused. The only advice that makes any sense is ‘marketing your book is a marathon, not a sprint.’
So I think I’ll stay with that last thought, sit down, take a deep breath and go for the long haul – as I said – it’s the only thing that makes sense.