This time last year I was celebrating seeing my first book in print. It was an amazing and scary moment. A time for realising a dream but scared that it will fall in a mass of disappointment.
It’s fair to say that being an independent author is not going to make you rich. But we know that already, but it is worth exploring what I did get out of it.
Well definitely a sense of pride that you have something of value and record out in the market place. That a stranger picks up your piece of art and takes a gamble on it.
That’s the exciting part on a simple one to one relationship with the reader.
The more disappointing angle is that for 99% of the book buying people either will never see your work or will trundle on by on the basis that you’re unproven and untried. Attracting attention is costly and time consuming and often with minimal reward. Certainly easy to be disheartened and to think it’s not worth the hassle. No matter how much faith you have in your work it’s impossible to convey that sometimes even with a bubbling enthusiasm and a ferocious sales patter.
I find it particularly uncomfortable attempting to force people to buy especially as you know if you were on the opposite side of the table, you would be pulling a face as well. People are curious about new authors, want to believe they are the next undiscovered treasure but loath to risk a purchase for fear of mediocrity. But then your creeping cynicism is undermined when someone listens, likes and buys. It doesn’t happen every day but it does happen if you keep at it.
There is little point denying it is tough so may as well just get one with accepting it. Selling books is hard work and especially paper copies when the e-book market is flooded with giveaways. At £1 a go risk is minimal at £8.99 it’s something akin to cutting off an arm.
Once you accept your position in the pecking order, it’s easier then to get on with enjoying the process rather than pressuring yourself into being a super sales man. So talk to people, talk to fellow authors. Other authors are not the enemy as they are struggling just as much as you. Share ideas, copy success and think radically. One thing I found was bigging up a fellow author results in them feeling obliged to big you up. Like a you scratch my back sort of arrangement.
A year on, I get to start the process with second book now in edit. I feel so much wiser now, confident but realistic, knowledgeable and most of all with a ready-made audience to exploit.
It’s exciting to get your first book out and I have to say realising you have done the second is even more astonishing. I feel at the next level. The pressure though still lives like a devil in the head. You have to do better than the first time. And if you are serious about the process then you are probably right. You have to do better otherwise you will fast see your career as going the way of an x-factor winner, here today, gone tomorrow.
Details of the new book to follow in the coming weeks.