So, it has been quite a while since I last wrote a blog. In fact, if I am honest, it has been a little while since I have done much related to my book and writing. Over the last month or so, I could say that I have suffered from a low scale of burn out. Those awaiting book two, fear not, I am not burned out from writing and that book has begun. So what am I a little burned out on? Promotion. Or, as it feels at times, throwing a pea into a ball pit of green balls and hoping someone will see it.
2017 was certainly a landmark year for me as a writer. I started it having just ended a rut, pushing through the part of a chapter I had been stuck on for a fair while. Between January and May I churned out thirteen chapters to go from being just over half way done, to being finished. All of a sudden there I was, years after starting, with a finished manuscript. Well, I say finished, I mean storyline wise. I then began to discover just what goes into releasing a book. While I can write a story, I had the blow of being told that when it comes to punctuation and such, I really have no clue! I often term it that I can write, but I can't actually write! So the copy editor comes into play. There were ISBN numbers to purchase, a cover to design, finer details to iron out and choices to make in regards to printers, sizes, styles. My aim had been to be published by August, however August became September and then reality saw September become October. However, in October I stood with a copy of my book in my hand and that was something I never thought possible. The problem is, when you are self published, it doesn't end there.
Unfortunately, you can't just hand it over to someone to fulfil the selling stage while you just crack on with the next book. The book won't get advertised unless you find a way to do it. Scratch that, not a way, many ways. Even then, just because you find possible methods, it doesn't mean that they are going to work. Many people find Twitter great for business, for me it has done absolutely nothing. Instagram has proven to be more efficient, yet even then it has heralded very little sales. Facebook has its uses for sure, but unless others share things on your behalf, you don't get very far. I managed to get in the local magazine, but what I thought was going to be a meet for a talk, ended up just being them taking info from my website. It has brought me a couple of sales. I approached my local library about doing a signing there, left a flier and was told it would be passed onto the manager. A month later, having not heard anything, I popped in just to see if there was any update and let them know about the local mag article. I spoke with the manager and felt I was seen as a nuisance for coming back in and asking. I was told how busy they are, which is fair enough, but so busy a one line e-mail couldn't have been sent saying they are busy and will contact me soon? I was told they do talks not signings and I was happy to do that. I said I work full time but as they were helping me out, I would work around their needs. They asked for a copy of the book so they could make sure it was suitable, so I left one. Have I heard anything since? No. I don't want to push it because I don't want to be a nuisance, but at the same time if I don't, how do I push my book? I signed up for a two month ad campaign on Amazon, a pay-per-click deal. In two months how many clicks have I had? None. Either it hasn't ever gone live, or people just aren't interested. I have spoken with other people about certain things, be it sales or other ideas only for nothing to ever happen. It is, I must admit, frustrating.
Don't get me wrong, my book has been out for three and a half months and I have already sold more than I ever expected. I am so thankful for all those who have purchased a copy and all those who have tried to help in any way they can. There are those who have been sharing my ads, who have done ads of their own. They have passed on word of mouth, they have given great feedback and they have made me realise the power of my story. The fact that people have become attached to my characters, that in many ways is all I can ask for.
But being self published is tough. I know how much it cost to get The Lost King published. I know that despite better sales than I imagined, I haven't made enough to completely cover book two yet. I know that if you take away the cost per book, and then the cost of postage, it leaves very little behind. If I make a sale via my website, Paypal take a percentage. If I make a sale via Amazon, they take a percentage. Amazon add on postage cost themselves, but the problem is the percentage they take is more than the postage they add on, so I actually don't gain from it. If you want to make a living from it, being self published, well it takes some doing because every gain comes at a cost. The frustration of it has probably knocked me more than I realise. It isn't me giving up, not by any means, but in a hectic year for writing alone, with family life and a constantly changing full time job on top, I think I did burn out a little.
The solution? Well, I don't have a concrete answer for that. I am aiming to enquire with agents, to explore the possibility of getting a publisher. Will I achieve it, or will it work? Who knows. But what I do know, is that I am a prologue and two chapters complete on book two, when this time last year book one was some way off being finished.