Dear Diary: The Desperate Dating Game of Self-Publishing
So its time to click publish on your Smashwords/Kindle/Nook account, officially flinging your book into the waiting hands of your soon-to-be-adoring fans. Youve planned your release with giveaways, guest appearances, and participation in upcoming author events. Youve done the hard work, and now its time to reap your reward with steadily climbing, if not skyrocketing, sales. Right??
Self-publishing is like rejoining the dating game. You may have indeed put in all the hard work spending months getting yourself into perfect shape, buying a new wardrobe, and seeing a therapist (a.k.a editor) to deal with any lingering issues. Now, you look amazing, you feel confident, and youre ready to get out there. You even have a few blind dates and mixers scheduled! Youre certain youll be the belle of the proverbial ball.
But in the real world, looking fabulous and even being amazing doesnt automatically translate into sealing the deal. As you keep (tastefully) flaunting yourself, people will flirt with you (visit your sales page), some might invite you for a drink (download a sample), and those who are impressed with what they see will even mention you to their friends. Still, only a small percentage will consider inviting you out to dinner even if, at $0.99 cents, youre quite the bargain!
Here, admittedly, my metaphor sort of falls apart, since we (thankfully) rarely receive reviews from our dates, and for many of us, we only want one person who thoroughly enjoys our nights out together. When it comes to a book, we thrive on reviews, and we are incredibly promiscuous the notches on the bedpost matter!
As Ive learned, however, even with outstanding reviews, from critics and friends alike, for your well-edited book with an effective cover, the sales from your first self-published book are likely to begin as lackluster at best. Even if youve done everything correctly, it will take time for people to meet you, trust you, and accept you, all before finally being willing to spend some time and money on you.
Nothing beats the exhilaration of the first few sales from strangers and unlike on first dates, theres no awkward back and forth with the check! Regardless, your work isnt over. It will take a continuing, consistent effort of putting yourself out there, reaching a growing number of people through promotional and social events, before those invitations to dinner (sales) grow from a rare dripping, to a steady trickle, and then hopefully into a flood.
Aria Glazkis writing story starts with one of those cliché beginnings when an English teacher encouraged her to submit a class assignment for publication. That piece was printed, and lets just say, she was hooked! Since then, Aria has run a literary magazine, completed her Creative Writing degree, been published a few more times, and of course spent countless hours writing. After a brief hiatus, Aria was a 2012 NaNoWriMo winner, which re-inspired her to pursue writing as a career.