My aim is to make a full-time living from my writing. I know this is going to be incredibly difficult, especially as I intend to keep on writing as an indie author. I know that it’s not impossible. I also know that the vast majority of writers are doing it wrong.
I’m writing my fourth release. The Swarm will be completed by this summer. Once I’ve done so I’ll look for a small press, hopefully one specialising in horror. The reason? The exposure my book will get with both myself and a publisher working to promote it.
This year I am also going to concentrate on attending as many conventions as I can, in order to meet as many readers as I can. Meeting people, building relationships, creating fans. I believe that is the way to get people interested in your writing.
Like everybody else I have a Facebook page and a website. I’m on Twitter. I have an Instagram account and a Wattpad account. I’ve read a lot of what there is to read on SEO, on interacting through social media, on building your email list… all good stuff. But does it achieve the end goal? Does it lead to sales?
Think about the last book you bought. Where did you hear about it? Did you buy it because the author DM’d you moments after you followed him on Twitter? Did you buy it because of the Facebook ad? Or was it the excited pictures of the author opening their latest shipment on Instagram?
The point I’m making is this: so many authors believe that being active across as many forms of social media as they can will automatically generate sales. Why? How many of your likers and followers are fellow authors trying to achieve sales, rather than readers who follow you and your work? I’ve spent plenty of time working under the same fallacy to no real gain. Sure, I’ve sold a few copies through Facebook and Twitter. But, as a reader, how many books have I bought through social media? As opposed, say, to books and authors recommended by friends or browsing the shelves at a fair or bookstore?
How about you?
There seems to be a gulf between how we act as book sellers and book buyers. We act in one manner when trying to sell our work, and in a completely different manner when buying. Why do we think others’ behaviour will be different when buying our books? We should think more like consumers when acting like sellers. What works for us as readers should work for others. The majority of selling is not based on the product, but around the relationship you build with the other person. Get out there. Find the book fairs, find the genre conventions. Meet other readers and other fans. Build a conversation about your genre, about your favourite authors. If the other person is interested in your book they’ll let you know.