Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Long Climb Uphill

One thing I struggle with as a writer is visibility. I'm well aware of the fact that up until this point, I have not written any guest blog posts (I've read elsewhere I should), have not had any interviews, and only have three books available. Sales are slow at best, although I have given away quite a few copies via Amazon giveaways and have sent out almost twenty paperbacks via Goodreads giveaways. The problem is, though, that free books don't necessarily translate into reviews, and many times readers will pick up free books without ever getting around to actually reading many of them.

I've read that one of the solutions to the visibility conundrum is to write more books. In contrast, however, I seen multiple situations where having only one book available is enough to garner dozens of glowing reviews on Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere. It's also been enough to help these writers gain access to various advertising outlets that have a certain threshold for sponsorships (such as Pixel of Ink and other venues). This threshold usually involves having a certain number of reviews, and typically the reviews as a whole have to average of 3.5 stars or better. In other cases writing more books doesn't help the visibility issue all that much.

I've read elsewhere numerous times that it's a "marathon not a sprint" and that "at the eight or nine month mark sales should improve". Hmmm. I can't say I've seen that type of improvement yet. The other huge factor here, though, is that the digital publishing industry is continually undergoing tremendous change. What may have worked for marketing six months ago may produce diminishing returns now and in fact may never work again at some point for many books. In other words, advice can age pretty quickly in this situation.

That said, I'll continue to do giveaways. In fact, there is one going on over at Goodreads right now until the end of the month. I'm also continuing to write more books. I'm currently editing a non-fiction book (Gathering the Wind), have written several stories for a short story collection (Corridors), and am in the planning stages of a suspense novel about stormchasing (Race the Sky). Hopefully I will complete all three this year, and Gathering the Wind should be ready to go in April. I will continue to run giveaways on the new books over at Goodreads and also likely start putting the first three books up onto B&N, the iTunes store, and elsewhere. If I have enough time, I may even put up an audio version of the first few chapters of Gathering the Wind.

Part of me wonders what I could have done differently up until this point. Many have suggested that it's fair to ask readers for reviews...which is not something I have done. So, in light of that, I will say this: if you have read one or some of my books and like them or get something out of them, please write a review if you can find the time. I really appreciate it. A few people have already written some nice things over at Goodreads which has been surprising to me...and I'm very thankful for those.

Visibility issues aside, I'll keep chugging along as best I can. From my vantage point, though, it's one long climb uphill right now.

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