Hey, it’s Insecure Writers Support Group Day!
I was informed that this is the IWSG anniversary, and that posts were requested in the area of Marketing and Publishing, for inclusion in “The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond.” Nothing I have to say is relevant enough to be included in such a guide. But, coincidentally, this topic has come up in full force the past few days on the writing sites I frequent, so it is a good topic for me to blog about anyway. And because my experience is only with self-publishing, that is what I will talk about 🙂
Have you heard of The Self Publishing Podcast? If not, you should check it out. I don’t follow it very closely, but I have read the book those guys put out called “Write. Publish. Repeat.” and I definitely agree with their core philosophies. A big idea of theirs is to differentiate between strategies and tactics. You should totally read the book, but basically they discuss general behaviors, and not specific platforms or web-links, which could change over time. Strategies, they insist, are almost timeless. The same strategies will work with any tools, in any decade, long after the currently-popular social media hubs are obsolete.
So in that vein, this is my shortlist of strategies the average insecure writer can use to help them along in the publishing and marketing process. But first let me disclose this: I am NOT an expert, nor a very successful author! I am mediocre-to-low on the “indie success” scale (there’s no such thing, I just made that up) so take my advice for what it is – free and biased.
- Be confident, or at least fake confidence. This is most important. You had the nerve to write something, to have it beta read and edited, to commission cover art, and finally to upload your finished work to Amazon or another vendor. Now you are feeling vulnerable. Does your writing suck? Did you just waste a ton of time and money on a foolish dream? Will people hate it? Will people even notice it? Does the title sound stupid? Everyone feels this way. Suck it up, buttercup. Because you have to muster your confidence and try new things. What things? That’s up to you: Join groups, request blog reviews, ask to guest post on other people’s blogs, post your book on promo sites, post in facebook or G+ or goodreads groups… just DO STUFF. And don’t let those horrible voices of doubt in your head stop you.
- Keep track of your actions and results. Depending on the type of person you are, this sounds either ridiculously obvious or just plain ridiculous. It is both. Keep notes on what you do, when you do it, and what happens with sales as a result. A simple notebook is fine, unless you are a total geek and then you can do some kind of spreadsheet or whatever geeks do. Just record what you do (“guest post on xyz’s blog”) and your sales rank or other results that day (“25 copies sold, 5 comments on post, 3 new blog follows”.) You might think you will remember. You might think the things you’ve done are unimportant or had no impact. Just write it all down, anyway. It will help with planning when you launch your next book, it will help you remember who was good to you (don’t forget to pay it back & pay it forward!), and it will help you avoid over-posting to the same places (keeping yourself visible is great, posting your book cover every day to the same facebook group is not cool.)
- Try again. Did your book “fail”? Or did you make the top 10 list in your genre? Either way, try again. Keep writing, keep publishing. There are no guarantees in this crazy business. One bestseller does not mean you’ll ever have another, and ten failures does not mean your next title won’t fly up the charts. Don’t believe the bad reviews, and don’t totally fall for the good ones, either. Keep your head and keep on truckin’. That’s the only way you’ll get anywhere.
Fare thee well, fellow insecure writers! Good luck and happy publishing 🙂