Being self-employed and doing what I love most (writing books) can be wonderful. I've made a living in the "real world" and know what it's like to exist in Cubeville. Not that I didn't enjoy what I did (for any of you in the Food Safety Branch in KY reading this post...I love you guys). But, it was restrictive and definitely didn't lend itself to being creative. So, I am very fortunate to finally get to live out my dream of being a full-time writer and I love every minute of it!
Of course, when I first had this dream (I believe I was 14, maybe even younger), I envisioned myself spending all my time writing. I never realized until I started living this dream that there's so much more to being an author than just writing the books and waiting for people to buy them. There's that little concept called 'Marketing' that I never envisioned having to do myself.
Now that I have two books published (yay!!) and am working on the third, I find myself coming face to face with what I consider one of my worst fears: self-promotion. Lately, I've been following other author's blogs and their Facebook pages and it keeps jumping out at me that these authors spend a lot of time promoting their own books. And it hits me that if I'm going to have any success in this business, then I really need to seriously consider doing the impossible: becoming my own marketer.
It's quite obvious that I can't sell books if nobody knows they exist. And while I have sent out promotional copies to people, it takes so much more than that to really make an impact. Now, my Muse and I are co-owners of Cressen Books LLC, the company that publishes my books. And we each have agreed that there are certain roles that we will play, since there are only two of us. He's been doing a fantastic job of handling finances and such. And he has already agreed to tackle the marketing once we feel that we are ready.
But I can't help feeling a little guilty when I realize that most authors are doing their own marketing instead of relying on someone else. Of course, most of these authors are published through big name publishers like Harlequin Teen and such and that's really awesome. The publishing companies actually do have a marketing team that helps to promote new books. But, the authors still spend a lot of time doing self-promotion because let's face it; big publishing companies have more than one author to promote, so only a fraction of their marketing budget goes towards promoting a single author.
With this realization, I have begun to explore all the different methods I could employ to promote my own books. Between Facebook, Twitter, my own blog, and probably a hundred other avenues I've yet to discover, the marketing field seems daunting and a little scary. I will admit right now that I'm an extremely shy person that has a hard time engaging in social networks. But, these social networks could very well be the key to making potential readers aware of my books.
So, I am struggling with the question of whether I'm truly ready to make that big leap and start self-promoting. I do have two published books now and three more are slated to be published within the next year or so. Not to mention that I am also co-authoring a new series with my Muse. So, it's not lack of ideas/products that keep me from marketing. It's my own insecurities and uncertainties about how to go about promoting my books.
I want people to know about them and read them, but I struggle with whether I'm forcing myself on the public or not by telling people about my books and wanting them to purchase and read them. I've never been one to want to force anyone to do anything they didn't want to. And I do recognize that if I don't say anything at all, then no one will know my books exist. I just don't want to end up in the pushy zone, I guess because I feel that will definitely turn potential readers off. I'm sure it's a fine balancing act and one that I will have to figure out for myself, just as so many other authors before me have had to do.
So, maybe within the next few weeks or months I will finally gather up the courage to plunge into the world of marketing and self-promotion. Until then, I will continue to write and research and work myself up towards that daunting task, knowing that once I do take the plunge, I will at least have a very understanding and encouraging Muse to hold my hand and help me get over the obstacles that may stand in my way. :)