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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Too many forks in the road


There are so many ways in which we are encouraged, as writers, to engage with the public, the readers, and to chum up with other authors, that it seems impossible at times to know which is the best way to go. Most of my FB groups are fellow authors, and I don’t expect them to keep buying my books because, like me, they are only interested in selling their own. When I read of success stories, and not always by the top, top authors, it’s always about finding readers. So where are they? I have over 1200 subscribers on my email list. My last email resulted in 24 openings. That’s an open rate of 2%! Last week I held a giveaway with a company called ‘Voracious Readers’ and gave away 20 copies of my book, Where the Wicked Dwell. The upside to that is that I have now added their email addresses to my subscribers list. There can only be one answer: what I’m offering isn’t attractive enough. So now we come to the $64000 question (why is it 64K?): what is it that I’m doing wrong? I believe, firmly, that my stories live up to the claims I make, backed up by some solid reviews, but I know, hand on heart, that what’s in between the book covers generally comes last when it involves grabbing potential readers’ attention. So, it must be the blub, right? Or maybe not; maybe it’s the price. I dropped The Eagle’s Covenant and sold four books within 24 hours, but none since. I’ve sold two books on Amazon in the last two days, but not the book I’m advertising with AMS. So it must be the blurb. Oh, could be the cover! But we are told never to judge a book by the cover. And which famous book has been published with something like eighty different covers over the years? I know there is one; I recall reading about it somewhere. It has had more makeovers than the bible. So, it can’t be the cover. What is it then? Perhaps I have to stand on top of the Eiffel Tower, or Big Ben, or even Trump Towers and wave a banner. Probably get arrested though. Perhaps that’s the answer: grab a piece of notoriety; that should do it. But in a kind of perverse way, I’m enjoying myself. Masochist or what? I feel I’m on a promotion and marketing learning curve which will help to sort the wheat from the chaff and make some kind of success with my efforts. I just hope it doesn’t take forever.

I watched the SPF podcast yesterday. The interviews were with J.D.Barker (no, I haven’t either), Peter James and Karen Slaughter. There were some real gems of advice in those interviews, not so much about what to do, but how these writers see the future of publishing etc. J.D.Barker believed that audio books were going to make a bigger impact for several reasons. Peter James said that Character, Research and Plot is how he develops his stories; and plot is definitely the last. Karen Slaughter said that writers, including indie writers have to accept that writing has to be viewed as a business. The concept of someone sitting alone, writing a book and getting it published with nothing else to do after that is complete fallacy; you have to work at the promotion and marketing otherwise your book will fade without trace. Naturally the three of them were big on professional help: covers, proof reading, editing etc., etc., but that isn’t always affordable to, probably, the majority of self-published authors. All in all they all had something interesting to say.

I have started on a project which may not see the light of day for a few months. It has nothing to do with my WIP, but I can say that it is another book. That will be three that I’ve started this year. This one though is a special project, one I sincerely hope I’ll be able to finish before the year end. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

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