The struggle to stay positive.
I just published my seventh product, an erotic-comedy novella called sVck. It has dirty words and images and that makes it hard to promote because Amazon and Facebook have a policy against advertising “erotic” works. So getting the word out requires some grass-roots promotions and out-of-the-box thinking.
I found a few newsletters that promote “smut” to thirsty readers, so I’ll wait and see if the one I chose noticeably moves the needle. If so, I’ll reach out to other similar promotions. In the meantime, I tried to enlist friends and family to pre-order my new book with the intention of sparking Amazon’s algorithms into featuring my book on similar searches. Amazon is smart. First, it shows what other people have already bought. It’s their way of putting the most popular stuff by the front door. Sales begets sales.
Herein lies the bump in the road and the potential downer. Most of my Facebook friends don’t seem to care about my writing career. That said, there are any number of reasons why posting on one’s personal Facebook page might not reach every one (or even a significant percentage) of one’s social media friends. If you’re me, the endless cycle of pet pictures and political commentary have whittled your “followers” down to a devoted half-dozen. So, when I need to reach the masses, Facebook decides who is most likely to “like” what I am saying and doesn’t show it to anyone else. That’s what I hope has happened.
The alternative is that no one really cares that I’m a writer. I’m not one of those writers who knows his target audience and writes what they want to read. I write the things that will entertain me through the drafts, the re-writes, the edits, paying and supervising cover artists, and the eventual self-promotion, and I pray to god that someone wants to read what I’ve written.
It’s not the best business plan.
Maybe my friends and family don’t have the money to spend on my books. I get that. Times are tough and everything is more expensive, so shelling out 3 or 7 bucks for a book they aren’t going to read is a big ask.
“We didn’t know you had a book out.” As I said, I don’t have a lot of followers, so it’s very likely that they didn’t even see my post begging them to buy my book. I took to DMing a dozen close friends I thought might react to a personal invitation. Some of them responded with screenshots of their orders or declarations that they had placed an order (or two). But what about the ones who didn’t respond?
I know some people are jealous. Not jealous like they spend all day shaking their fists and vowing revenge like some overacting soap opera character. More likely, they don’t see my efforts to be a writer as worthwhile and that writing isn’t a “real job.” I have a friend who says she wants to be a writer and envies me for the time I have to put into writing. I know because that’s what she says every time I tell her that I have a new publication. Not, “congratulations” or “I can’t wait to read it.” Just, “Must be nice…” I’ll spend another post ranting about “finding the time” to write.
I can hear the band is playing me off, so I’ll wrap it up. I am lucky to do what I do and I know that writing isn’t a “real job.” Of course, it isn’t easy and requires no less devotion and expertise, but there is a sense of freedom being able to spend all day at home creating fantasy worlds. But it’s also scary as hell if you’re depending on those fantasy worlds to pay your mortgage.
In conclusion, appreciate the ones who support you, and cut some slack for those who haven’t yet; there are many reasons that your friends aren’t excited when you put out a new book (or record, or piece of art, or poem, or photograph, or have a baby) because maybe they’re jealous.
Or maybe they have other stuff on their mind.