I’ve had a good day today, and now that terrible confession is out of the way I suppose I should reference my title. We are all unique. Don’t panic I’m not about to draw us into an existential discussion. But in being unique individuals, it then follows that every writer is unique.
I’m bringing this up because I’ve been talking about marketing today. As far as my novels go I’ve given up. Well not entirely, but I did start this blog with the declaration that I would discuss such matters.
Here are the conclusions that I have reached thus far. KDP Select comes down to a decision about exclusivity, if you don’t want to only provide your work to Amazon then don’t choose it – it’s as simple as that. Other avenues such as Smashwords will allow you to keep your work permanently free if that’s what you’re looking for. But, it’s not as well-known, or as easily marketed – for various reasons.
When using KDP Select promotions such as free days (and in my case without KDP Select keeping your work perma-free as in the case of Mistake Me Not) then it’s easier to market. Various sites will feature your novel when it is free, and lots of people will snap it up for that very reason. But then comes the problem of who will market your novel when it’s not free? Rather, who will market it without it costing you an arm and a leg?
The internet allows us all access to such a vast amount of information and choice that I suppose it becomes difficult to understand why anyone pays for anything. I’ve done it myself. How many times have you found something that you like and want to buy but put it off in the interests of trawling the web first? Even then if we find the item cheaper we can still spend time on discount voucher sites looking for (at the very least) free delivery codes.
So I begin to wonder, does it really matter if your work is better, more deserving, or so unique it could tempt kings? The sad truth is no, probably not. How many internet sensations have their been, viral videos, that have made stars of folk overnight? Quite a few. Not all of them have reeked of talent.
Standing out from the crown is increasingly difficult because that is effectively all the internet is – a large crowd. Anyone, and everyone, can get in here. This statement isn’t meant to dissuade, I’ve had a good day, and I’m feeling great. I’ll get to my reasoning in a minute.
I take pride in my work. I’ve been a writer since I was a child. It’s always been a part of me (as I may have mentioned once or twice, lol). I’ve thought books and writing were cool since the days that talking like that would get you beaten up in the school yard :p
I have my own set of ethics about my rules and motives for writing and those are what I’ve always worked by. The fact that there are novels being self-published that I think are a discredit to actual determined and lifelong writers is only my opinion. No doubt there are others who would say the same thing about my work.
The greatest writers of all time are still debated, it is not up to one person to make the rules for everyone else. In the same way that my opinion doesn’t have to be the same as yours or vice versa. I could be madly in love with a book that you wouldn’t use as toilet paper. It’s like movies, and music, and everything else on the planet. We have our own values. We have our own likes and dislikes – we are all unique.
Don’t see the internet, or self-publishing, or the marketing mountain, as a hurdle, don’t be discouraged as I was for so many years. If you put your work out there someone will find it eventually, someone will love it, and that will be your legacy. Don’t write to get famous or to make money, do it the best you can, and how you want to, with your own ideas and passions woven through it. Don’t mimic others, don’t get bogged down in technicality, let your creativity lead you.
When you log onto your computer, when you open your web browser, take a moment to be awed by what you have access to. The internet is a blessing. So what if it’s one big crowd? All that means is that you are part of a wider family. Humanity can now share with each other things which would have otherwise been lost. Your work on the web no matter how popular, and no matter how often accessed, is a piece of you out there in the world. A piece of you that will always be out there.
You can connect with readers who you may never meet, and who may never know your face, but you can make people smile, make people cry, reach out and touch people with your words, and that’s powerful. A piece of you has the chance to live forever if all it does is exist on a Kindle to be re-discovered by technology-archeologists in hundreds of years :p
Don’t be discouraged, embrace it, and realise that you are so very lucky to be doing something that you love whether it’s from the point of view of the reader or the writer. Be kind to each other and be grateful. A piece of that author is there in the words that are read, and that reader has chosen your work above all else, feel blessed, be positive, and don’t ever forget that books are cool.
Good luck on your adventures,