Self-publishing 101 is an intense push on the importance of marketing yourself and social media. I have a Youtube, this blog, my website, a Facebook Page, AND a Twitter. This time last year I was more concerned about how important growing my platforms was and growing my book sales than actually writing. I, like every other author on the planet (whether they admit it or not), want to be noticed. I want my books to be successful and I want everyone to read everything I’ve written. That was all fine and dandy until the progress on completing my second book ground to a screeching halt. It took me almost two years to complete Jeremy and I learned a lot about myself and my writing process during that time. I wanted to share with you a bit more insight into my hiatuses, my social presence, and why I’ve changed my point of view.
I like to think that I am telling an interesting story about vampires. That I’m telling a different type of story about vampires. I mean, how many stories are out there from a vampire’s perspective of their situation? Turns out there are quite a few. I figured that the only way to boost the sales of my one novel were to go social media crazy. I joined like-for-like groups and pages. I hosted an ungodly amount of freebie days. I promised that my second novel was on it’s way. Never mind that I was working a full time job and barely spending any time writing. If I just got people to notice me, I could build my audience and then work on my writing.
It turns out that people don’t want to start a series that only has one book out and then have to wait almost two years for the next one. All that time I spent perfecting and redesigning my website, all of the like-for-like, advertisements, and what not were not getting me any where. I mean, all of those like-for-like groups are authors liking other author’s pages. Other authors are concerned with getting their own books out there and typically don’t go out and buy every book the authors that they’ve liked have written. I thought that I just needed a schedule. If I built up my readership on my blog, and gave myself a schedule, then I could figure out a time to write and everything would be good. And there I was wrong again.
I know that I mentioned my move last year multiple times. There was a time there that I thought I would build my Youtube channel and get a viewership going and that was going to be the key to getting readers. I replicated my schedule to my Youtube and did most of my posts via video. I took the Youtube Partner Academy courses and bought a new camera. I really thought that that was going to be the key to my success.
Surprise! It didn’t happen.
I wondered and wondered what I was doing wrong. I was stressing myself about about building this blog and my channel. I finally realized that the one thing I wasn’t doing was writing. I wasn’t actually doing the thing that I wanted to be successful at. I was spending all of my time and energy on everything else that I seemed to be losing sight of my work. I felt like an idiot.
So I went on hiatus. I didn’t write here as much, my Facebook posts were limited without much information, my only Tweets pertained to things on television, I hardly vlogged at all, and I wrote. Mind you, writing short stories and a novel at the same time is not easy. It took me a long time to get to a point where I thought I would be comfortable doing it all again. Except when I went off of hiatus, things didn’t go according to plan. I still had work to do on the novel and responsibilities at home and at my full time job.
That’s when I made the decision to do away with the schedule. I still do participate with stuff on social media, and I clearly still blog, but I don’t stress myself out. Heck, I even organized a blog tour (and a second one is in the works). This time I am doing things on my own terms. Success is not measured in the number of Facebook followers you have, or the amount of people you can annoy with your over abundance of self-promotion. Success is being able to take your life and work into your own hands and creating something that you love. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier, I might have more books out.
I will say that your books are never going to sell if people don’t know that they exist, but I think that we should all spend more time on doing what we love. I have no idea how my books sales will look in the future. All I have is my characters and Microsoft Word… and I’m pretty happy.