Weekly Update – April 26, 2016

WRITING PROJECTS

 

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Draft one is done! I finished it up last Friday, took the rest of the day and Saturday to relax a little and let my brain clear itself so I could begin draft two work on Sunday — which I did.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: About a quarter of the way through the first draft.

Steampunk OtherWhereAPPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I was considering a whole separate post about this, but instead I’ll use this space to discuss an aspect of being an independent author that newbies often aren’t ready for, and that’s the chore of promoting themselves and their book.

What inspired this was an author brought to my attention by fellow indie author Pete Kahle (The Specimen), a writer who engaged in an absolutely staggering amount of deception and flam-flammery to generate hype for her debut (and so far only) novel. I won’t name names because I’m not out to shame anyone, and because it’s not necessary to make the points I’m going to make.

Some of the things this writer did are tactics I’ve seen a lot of other indie authors use to draw attention, like giving herself a bombastic title (“the queen of [genre]”) and boasting that her book was “an international best-seller,” but others were brazen lies, such as the completely fake New York City publishing firm backing her book (complete with website, Facebook page, and Twitter account); pull quotes from that were actually taken from the writer’s own press releases and passed off as excerpts from book reviews; pull quotes from completely fictional book reviews; a resume that claims ghostwriting credits for several unnamed major motion pictures; and the most outrageous of all, a fake top ten listicle naming her as the seventh greatest author in her genre, placing her not only in the company of some HUGE literary names, but above two well-established authors and one modern master who would need a pick-up truck to carry all the awards he’s amassed over the past quarter-century.

And remember: she has only put out one book.

I fully understand how frustrating it can be establishing yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of indie authors out there all jockeying for readers’ attention, and it can be a major challenge to get your work noticed, but there are what I’ll call, perhaps simplistically, right and wrong ways to promote yourself.

The wrongest of the wrong ways is lying outright to potential readers, whether that lie takes the form of fake reviews or false accolades or fraudulent credentials. These may get you some early attention, but the lies will come back to bite you. Remember, people talk, especially within the indie author community. People who play fair get talked up and supported by their peers, and con artists are quick to get called out and exposed. Readers will find out and they’ll avoid the book and the author, and tell their friends to do the same.

There are many right ways to go about it, and they’re so much easier than manufacturing a cult of personality around yourself. Options include paid advertising through BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, Author Shout, and more (but I’d advise against ever paying for a Facebook ad); conducting free giveaways; diligently cultivating an online presence through a website, blog, and/or social media; connecting with other indie authors to support and promote each other; seek out local events at which to sell books and meet people; writing new books so people know you’re not a one-title wonder; having faith in yourself as a writer and in the quality of your work; and simply being patient.

I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve a decent measure of success, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took a few months for people outside my circle of friends to find my first book, and months after that to realize a halfway decent royalty check from book sales, and while I consider writing my primary source of income, I’m not doing so well that I could make a comfortable living off of just my writing — but I remain hopeful that with more time, more books, and additional effort to promote myself (ethically), things will continue to improve.

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