E is for Exhaustion
I’d like to say this will be my last explicitly Kindle post for a while, but we all know that’s not true and it seems silly to lie about it. Hopefully though, you can all find something to enjoy, think about, or latch onto for vengeance, and I try to keep them from being nothing but snake oil sales pitches. Patti Abbott had a nice post today about whether ebooks are becoming overexposed and she mentioned that one of the things that bothers her about the explosion of ebooks is the explosion of irritating self-promotion that has come with it. It’s understandable that ebook authors are resorting to this because we’re all figuring out this new landscape and it’s hard. It’s exhausting. And it’s confusing. There’s no main point of contact to direct our sales pitches like booksellers or reviewers, so some people resort to pitching everyone. This is something I try to be very aware of as I hate people like that.
I still think the best way to promote ebooks is the best way to promote paper books. Make yourself known and available on blogs and webboards and conferences and other places in an interesting and interactive way. If you include a way for readers to get more information on you and your books (links to your website or Amazon links or whatever) they’ll followup if they find your comments interesting. This is an area I need to work on more. I think I’m pretty good about getting the initial post, comment, or review out there, but I suck at the follow-up. I have to try to remember to go back into the original post, comment, or review and follow-up and keep the conversation going. When I was at Do Some Damage this was one of my major weaknesses. Other bloggers were great about going into the comments and following up with the individual commenters. I want to be more like that here.
If the theme of my last post was Excitement, the theme of this one has to be Exhaustion. It’s not that online promotion is hard work, it’s just mentally draining and frustrating because you never know what the right thing to do is. With traditional publishing I know the best game plans. I’ve seen what’s worked for other writers similar to myself and can try to replicate that. Not so in ebooks. The other frustration that comes with all of this do it yourself stuff is what a time suck it is. I’ve spent almost a month now designing covers, tweaking descriptions, and formatting manuscripts for three books. During that time I haven’t written a single word on my novel in progress. I get cranky when I don’t write every day. I think it takes a very special person to make a successful go of it solely as a self-published e-book author and I’m not that kind of person. I want to link my resources with a publishing house and I’m willing to forego some of the royalties in exchange for that.
One thing that I don’t think gets says enough about traditional publishing is it’s strengths. When someone does mention traditional publishing’s strengths, it’s usually in reference to bestsellers. But do you what is almost as good as being a bestseller, and for certain things, even better than being a bestseller? Being a debut author. There’s excitement, and promise, and no baggage.
Right now at least, ebook only seems to be great for midlist writers who have been dropped or are making so much money on ebooks that any new traditional deal. But for debut authors, there’s still a lot to be offered by a traditional publishing house and that’s still where I have my eyes. I also know that if I sign a deal now, it may be a year or more before that book hits the shelf. That’s where ebooks can come into play. I can keep feeding the machine, getting my name out there, and getting people excited about the upcoming new book, much like radio play gets people excited about an upcoming album.