Marketing is not my forte. That's an understatement.
Like every author, I want my books to sell. Every single one of us dreams of hitting bestseller lists. Repeatedly. The reality is that most won't and I certainly haven't.
The reality of indie publishing is that an author uploads his or her book along to compete with thousands of other books uploaded that same day, more than a million uploaded in the previous 12 months, and tens of millions available earlier than that. The ocean gets wider and deeper, so the indie author's one book is but an insignificant drop.
That's where marketing comes in. It makes a book and/or author stand out from the overwhelming competition. Marketing strategy analyzes the audience and the market and finds them, then employs tactics to get their attention and build demand for that product--the book. Demand then converts, one hopes, to sales.
My basic understanding of marketing doesn't translate into skill or inclination. I salute those who find the challenge exciting and who excel at it. Me? I'd rather muck stalls than devote my time and energy to marketing.
Because I know my limits and understand the hard necessity of earning a living, I hired a social media marketing consultant in 2016. I have no complaints about the service I received. She did everything--and more--that she promised. Unfortunately, book sales did not increase. They plummeted. My goal of generating sufficient book sales to pay for her service was never realized. When business took a steep downturn in 2020 (thanks, Covid-19), I could no longer afford that service.
Since then, I have maintained some of the marketing effort, such as blogging. I generally post a blog once a week here on this website and on LinkedIn. I also post every weekday on LinkedIn. I've used virtual book tour services, blog swaps, Facebook advertising, Amazon sales promotions, Amazon advertising, and other venues to build awareness and, I hoped, demand for my books.
Nothing seems to work.
Is it the sub-genre? Perhaps my writing stinks. Or maybe we've not done a good enough job at targeting the right audience and engaging in the right marketing tactics.
I truly believe that my work is good. After all, I've built a freelance career on it. People hire me to write (and edit) for them. The few reviews that my books have acquired are generally positive. To add insult to injury, I've read bestselling books by bestselling authors that were rife with copy editing errors and poorly written. These books have dozens, if not hundreds, of reviews, most of the glowing.
What am I doing wrong?
I need a marketing guru to take me on, to handle the marketing for me. I not only want to be a published author, I want to be a bestselling author. I want to actually make money from book sales. Yes, when it comes to authorial dreams, I want it all.
Who's game for that challenge?
Every so often I expound upon the expectations, reasonable and unreasonable, the clients impose upon the writers and editors they hire. So, here we go again.
Clients with unreasonable expectations will always be disappointed in the writers and editors they hire. For best results and a continued good working relationship, respect is necessary.
Anyone who has followed me on Facebook or has been reading this blog knows that my family experienced an unanticipated tragedy in January: my older son died. It's been difficult. We're still reeling, still shocked. And odd things are happening.
My workload thus far this year, omitting the two weeks I focused on nothing but funeral arrangements and grief, has been heavy. Work serves as a good distraction from grief. Unlike previous lulls during which I spent much of my time gig hunting, I've not done much of that this year. Perhaps this is God's way of helping? I don't know. I do know that I appreciate not having to send out dozens of proposals every week.
If you're a regular reader of my rambling thoughts and posts, then you'll also know of my equestrian adventures. Yeah, let's call them adventures. You might remember my thrill in 2018 when I brought Diva home, quickly followed by disappointment in both her and myself and then in a succession of trainers until I found one young woman in Defiance, Ohio who was just what Diva needed. Diva came home last autumn and has been very lightly ridden afterward. Then the weather turned cold and I huddled indoors.
I don't do cold.
My friend, Cindra, has been gracious with her support and help with Diva and then with Teddy, the little gelding I bought off a kill pen dealer in April last year. Teddy went to that wonderful trainer, too, for a few months. She worked well with him.
Anyway, my struggles with Diva continued. She intimidates me and she knows it. Since Matthew's death, though, I've pretty much lost my interest in horses. Grief takes a front seat in my brain. I don't anticipate riding Diva this spring with excitement, but with dread. I don't wanna. My feelings toward Teddy are lukewarm.
That said, I received a call last week from a woman in southeast Pennsylvania who saw the sales ad on Dreamhorse.com that I'd forgotten about. She inquired as to whether Diva was still available. We talked. She called again and we talked. On Monday this week (yesterday), she called again to tell me that she'd found a shipper to transport Diva to her farm. For all intents and purposes, Diva is sold. I can't deny I feel some relief.
The above crumbs of good fortune feel like consolation prizes, tokens to ease the pain of great loss. Perhaps that's ungrateful and ungracious of me. I am thankful, though, to be relieved of those stressors.
What about Teddy? I don't know. I'll work with him as I'm emotionally able and see if we can get along. If not, he'll go, too.
Painting sessions are picking up with another on Sunday. This is something that I do anticipate with something less than dread, perhaps even with pleasure and interest. It's hard to feel much beyond grief right now, but I'll take what I can get because it feels therapeutic, as though I might be healing just a little bit.
Still, I'm working. I'm not ready to resume writing my own stories, but at least I'm working. I recognize that life must go on, not just for others, but for my husband, younger son, and me, too. Our lives are irrevocably altered and we will emerge from the grieving process altered, too.