Come what? May …

Come what? May …

Well, it’s the month of May, and I’ve decided to try an experiment, as we indie authors are known to do on a regular basis. This particular indie author is always experimenting.

I’ve just returned with my wife from a week in the Netherlands. I would say Amsterdam, but we are in the habit of getting out and about, so although we spent a lot of time in the beautiful city in which we were based, as usual, we ventured further afield.

Delft - the Netherlands

Delft – the Netherlands

Anyway, I digress.

Whilst away, I spent at least an hour every day working on my latest novel. I wrote several new passages and reinvented one of my fictional abodes. I also introduced a new character for the team of bad guys, so I was pleased with my progress.

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What else came to mind?

What else indeed. There were four main things:

1. Like any indie author, constantly promoting their own brand, pushing their back-catalogue, their latest release, or keeping up with social networking – I lose a lot of actual writing time.

2. The result of the constant marketing activity may be tedious to the author concerned, but I believe that it is as we often refer to it – a necessary evil. I consider social networking to be a promotional activity, although to a lesser degree.

3. There are occasional comments on social networking sites that demonstrate quite clearly that there are some dissenters concerning the self-promotional posts. It may be one comment, or one comment that prompts others to voice an opinion, but they will always be there.

4. I wondered about ceasing my promotional activity for the remainder of this month. When I got home after my break, I checked social networking contacts and my Amazon sales activity for the most recent 30-day period.

There were some surprising results.

a) I had in excess of 90 Facebook notifications, (of which, at least 30 posts involved me). I’ll refrain from including Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, emails, etc.

b) In the week up to 9th May, I had a book on promotion; reduced to half-price – but it sold less than my other work.

c) In the month up to 9th May, I have only had two days where I have had no sales or lending.

d) My sales over the most recent two months are only marginally higher than my lending rate. Keep in mind, if books are borrowed there is still a royalty payment.

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My intention now is to concentrate on my writing for the remainder of May, which will mean 20 days without self-promotion. I am a member of the Independent Author Network so as part of their agreement with authors they will promote my brand occasionally on Twitter, but as I don’t believe Twitter is an effective platform for book promotion I’m not concerned about that area.

I will of course continue to pay one or two daily visits to social networking sites on the off-chance that there is a conversation in which I would benefit from taking part.

Instead of a regular update on the topic here on my blog, I’ll leave the next three weeks to run their course and then I’ll write a blog post to report on my findings.

Now at the risk of repeating the title of this article….
Come what? May….

As always, I appreciate any views and comments.

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13 comments on “Come what? May …

    • Hi Sharon. Thank you for the visit. Yes there are good and bad sides to the promo idea. If it works at all it feels great, but if it doesn’t perform for you it means taking a deep breath and getting back to work. Do give it a go, and I hope it works for you.

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  1. I understand your sentiments perfectly. I’m a very slow writer and spending time online kills me, because I know how badly I need that time to write. So I try to do it only a couple of hours in the evenings, and mostly blog-related stuff. Twitter and Facebook once a week. And it’s still too much. But it is necessary. However, I think you’re right – this has to be adjusted according to what goes on in your life. So, if you’re in the middle of a project, focus on that, I say. Then, before and after another release, switch and focus on marketing. I don’t know… It’s an awfully hard balancing act.

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    • Hello and thank you for the visit and comment Ramona. Today I stopped by FB a couple of times, but rationed myself to a few minutes and then got back to writing. I’m glad to say it was a productive day. I have a set routine I followed for a long time so I’ll have to regain my disciplined approach. It is hard to balance, just as you say.

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  2. Hey Tom.
    Hope you had a great trip. I agree that social networking takes up a lot of time. In general, I think we are better off writing, however, a little can go a long way. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months aligning my platforms so I can now maintain a presence without much input. I do enjoy the contacts I’ve made, yourself included, and consider it a bit of a break to mix with other authors. Now that I’m set up, I plan on cutting back…continue to enjoy the contacts I’ve made on Twitter and Facebook, write one blog post every week or two, and get back to writing. Good luck. Hope you get lots done. We’ll see you on FB. Oh, and one more thing. There will always be the occasional negative comment. Don’t let them stop you.
    Silas

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    • Hi Silas and thank you for stopping by with a supportive word mate. Yes, like you I’ve invested time in getting myself organised, but it feels so wrong watching those minutes tick by on social sites when I should be hammering out a new scene, or amending one already written.
      I had a great break thanks and as I said above I spent plenty of time thinking – especially about my latest work. Today saw a full chapter being written from start to finish. Okay, it’s a first draft, but it gave me such a buzz to know that I’d achieved my aim.
      I totally agree with you on enjoying the new contacts, and whatever else I’m up to I’ll be keeping an eye on our group. There is always a useful thread going on. I only let the negative comments bother me until I’ve finished reading them. Till later.

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  3. ‘Necessary evil’ is an appropriate description…I shy away from self-promotion, but know I have to get out there from time to time. My back catalogue isn’t as big as yours, so I’m watching and waiting, seeing how others do, will be good to see your results 🙂

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    • Hello and thanks for dropping by Lisa. I know I’ve said it before, but I really don’t like the self-promotion thing. It just makes it even worse when you accept that it has to be done.
      I may post about something else before the end of May, but whatever else, I hope I have good news to report at the end of the month.

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  4. Unfortunately self-promotion is a very necessary evil, and if the occasional reader objects to it then so be it. I do think it’s good to strike a balance though between self-promotion and spamming – if a writer joins hundreds of groups and schedules several promotional posts a day in each and every group (there are companies and sofware that can do this automatically for you) then yes, other members of those groups might well get fed up with them, but when such promotion is balanced with help, advice, and support of other writers then I think such self-promotion is more than warranted; I know from your posts in the Indie Author group that for every promotional post there’s likely to be several posts or comments offering help and advice to other writers, not to mention prolific reviews of other writer’s work. I also appreciate the blog posts to the group, as in order to cut down on the hundreds of blog post notifications I was previously getting I discontinued my email notifications in that respect. When time and circumstances (and a wider portfolio) allow I hope to do do more self-promotion too (come to think of it, doing any at all would be an improvement in my case…).

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    • Hello Paul and thanks for taking the time not only to visit, but to leave such a worthwhile comment. As you’ve pointed out, the email notifications can become overwhelming, and that is exactly the reason I switched them off. Some bloggers have a useful article to read each time you pay a visit, whilst others are merely looking for tit-for-tat alliances.
      I’ve already decided that whatever the result of my experiment, I’m probably going to drop to two promotional posts per week. As you know, it’s all trial and error.
      I’m looking forward to your next piece of work. By the way, your anthology is in our staff canteen and being enjoyed by four folk who don’t normally read!. See you in print mate.:)

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