Numbers, figures, sales, sub-totals, costs, profit margins – they’re all an essential part of business. As self-publishers it’s vital to keep an eye on these things. And as any indie author knows, those KDP graphs and publishing interfaces can be extremely alluring, especially when things are on the up. But what happens when there’s downwards movement or, worse, nothing appears at all?
I’m the first to admit that I’m horrible at marketing. I hate talking about my work. People are surprised to discover I’ve written books because I’ll rarely offer it up in conversation. I don’t have money to throw away on Facebook ads (trust me, I’ve lost enough already), my AMS movement has tanked, and I can’t get involved in reader groups because, you know, I’m busy writing and I can’t concentrate on fiction at all these days. So I’m not about to jump into places like Goodreads and pretend I’ve read stuff just to get a following.
Yes, I can Tweet a link now and then, send a newsletter and buy a few paid ads (though, honestly, the effectivness of these is declining at a dramatic rate). Also, I’m NOT in Kindle Unlimited as many of my readers are on other platforms such as GooglePlay, so without that Amazon exclusivity, there’s little in the way of pricd promotions available.
All sounds pretty bleak right?!
Yep…and for me, someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, each hit makes it harder to keep going.
So, the plan?
Concentrate on creativity.
You will hear over and over that the best way to market is to ‘write the next book’. Although I agree this definitely WAS true, and could still be effective, the indie world has evolved a lot and it’s now a very crowded place. Simply publishing book after book after book doesn’t cut it anymore if there’s no marketing at all. I’ve done this…talk about the not making a splash, i didn’t even get the ripple. That’s why newsletters, ads and promotion become so important.
BUT it’s easy to get bogged down in numbers. To get depressed with a lack of sales. To lose heart when reviews not only fail to flood in but don’t even cross the double digit line even after six months.
So what to do?
Don’t sweat it. Go back to basics and write. After all, if there’s no new content, there’s nothing actually to promote.
What does that mean for me? I’ll be taking the pressure off. Can I write 1500 words a day? Yes. Should I write 1500 words a day? Probably. Is forcing myself to write 1500 words every day a good idea? Not for my mental health it isn’t. The same goes for checking sales, worrying about making profit, trying to find, book and stack ads.
Of course, I WILL need to look at these things from time to time. But there’s so much stress in running a business it’s important (for me anyway) to remember that, ultimately, I do this because I want to create stories. And to do that I need to be able to sit down and let my characters into the driving seat without me, as a passenger, shouting ‘Hurry up. There’s words to write, there’s books to sell.’