We’ve established what this is all about. I’m writing for no one (I’ll keep banging on at that one until I have evidence to the contrary) in order to build some sort of a base. Why do I need a base? Because I’m trying to sell books. Why am I trying to sell books? Uh, for fame, money and prestige, I guess. Stop asking me questions.
I wrote a book and now I need to cultivate an audience for it. The clever people offering guidance on this sort of thing say you have to have a social media presence and you have to blog. Build a base, throw them some crumbs now and then and they’ll be loyal followers and buy your book. Okay, sounds reasonable.
The thing is this: how do you get on that merry-go-round? No one has heard of my book, so why should they seek out this blog? And no one has heard of this blog, so why should they seek out the book? Well, before you get to thinking it’s like some wise Chinese proverb the plain dumb answer has to be you just jump on. Build it and they will come, as it were.
My book, Ephialtes – available for pre-order on Amazon and worth every last penny – has had some sort of a web presence since around 22 June this year. That’s when I put it on Amazon and made a Facebook page and Twitter account. Of course, that was starting from absolutely nowhere. No prior publicity, nothing to provoke interest. Just a book from another schmuck throwing his hat into the ring.
An I idea I had to drum up interest was to write a short story retelling one or two scenes from the novel from the perspective of a very minor character (think one of those guys in an orange jump-suit from an early eighties Bond movie). I did that, and used KDP Select to list the story as free for a few days. Thirty copies of it were ‘sold’ during the free promotion, which I was pleased with. Going from a standing start, it seemed like pretty good going.
Of course, I tweeted about the promotion and put in on the Facebook page (which has six likes. Six!). And I paid Amazon to run an ad campaign for it, which was stopped soon after due to ‘low relevance.’
Which, if any, of these things worked I don’t know. But on 14 July someone placed a pre-order for Ephialtes on Amazon.com. I’m English, based in the UK. I had two pre-orders already (a couple of blokes from work), but this third one was from America. I don’t know any Americans – not ones who are based in America, anyway. So this pre-order had to be from a total stranger. Someone who, for whatever reason, looked at the Amazon page for Ephialtes and thought, ‘I think I’ll get that.’ That seems almost incredible to me, and I feel a bit humbled by it.
So the merry-go-round may be starting to turn. So slow as you might not notice it yet, but it has turned just that little bit. And maybe someone might read these words and be intrigued, and that might turn it just that tiny bit more.
Could you describe someone as a fan, just because they bought one unknown book on the off-chance? Because it serves my purposes I’m going to say yes. And since I now have at least one fan (by my very slack definition, anyway) there’s something I need to say to them / her / him.
Thanks, fan(s). You’re what it’s all about.