Post Publication–One Month and Counting

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Disappearing in Plain Sight has been romping free in the world for a month. Taking in that bit of excitement is an ongoing process. My publishing agreement with Friesen Press means I access sales information through my author account with them. The reports for outside venues are slow to arrive – 2nd week of the month for sales in the previous month for most places and closer to the end of the month before I get any information on Amazon Kindle sales. It is a waiting game on that front.

I try to satisfy my curiosity by constantly checking my Amazon ranking, which is so silly I cannot even imagine why I’m broadcasting the news. The numbers are meaningless from a statistical point of view. No one seems to have any idea how Amazon calculates rankings. Ah well, I am as guilty as anyone of clinging to straws in the absence of actual data.

The month has not been totally taken up with nail-biting ranking checks. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time building my social media platform, researching and learning about the marketing /promotion options that will work for me, and writing. I’ve logged about 10,000 words on The Light Never Lies.

Promotion and Marketing Update

Three of the things I decided to pay for:

  • One advertisement – I chose BC Bookworld – this publication is distributed free of charge to multiple venues in the province and has a large circulation – if you have ever ridden a BC Ferry you may have picked up a copy from the ship’s gift shop.
  • Join one professional organization. I chose the Alliance of Independent Authors. The annual membership paid for itself in knowledge and contacts almost immediately. Access to discussions on the members’ only Facebook page is priceless.
  • Enter one contest. After quite a bit of internet research, I chose the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award. An expensive gamble after entry fee, providing them with a copy of a real book, and mailing it to the US – but it was something I wanted to do.

That dreaded word – budget

I’m working from a limited marketing/promotion budget. We spent a good deal of it on the above items and purchasing books for local sales,which, by the way, are going exceptionally well. Bruce has turned out to be an enthusiastic promoter and salesman. I’m planning to attend a few local events where book selling will be my goal. I’ve got a couple of launch events in the works. I’m also working to have the book made available on a consignment basis through two local book stores.

Making community work for me

Vancouver Island loves its local artists, and I want to tap into that love. I’m working on a couple of different press releases – one for local papers and one for venues where my name would not be familiar, always emphasizing that I am a long-time Vancouver Island resident. Every little bit helps. I’ve recently put up posters on community bulletin boards and hope to get a few into the staff rooms and lunch areas at various places.

Using my academic connections to my advantage

I believe Disappearing in Plain Sight will have an appeal to mental health care workers (counselling themes, counsellor as a main character, youth who struggle with real-life issues). I have provided some key people with a copy of the book. I am hoping this can create buzz in what is often a tight-knit community and perhaps lead to an endorsement of the book for this group.

Social media

I’ve been promoting my Facebook author page. Feel free to click and check it out. I’m taking the advice of many who say that the author page had better be about more than me promoting my book in update after update. I put up links to my blog posts, intriguing quotes and pictures.

Book reviews

I’ve been quite fortunate on this front. In the first month that Disappearing in Plain Sight has been out, it has garnered six 5-star reviews on Amazon. A few of these reviews also appear on Goodreads, which in turn allows its reviews to be picked up by the Kobo Store. Huge thanks go out to all of these people for taking the time to read and review!

Best Advice to Date

I asked a question on the Alliance of Independent Authors Facebook page about how one goes about getting early reviews. I had read that the first days out on Amazon were crucial. A few experienced self-published authors were kind enough to respond at length. One spoke of how self-publishing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Building a loyal fan base is the goal. Focus on writing and producing a good sequel novel and the rest will fall into place.

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The journey continues . . . .

If you are a newly self-published author – any tips you would like to share are more than welcome. If you are considering or working toward self-publishing, is any of this helpful? Please let me know what you think.

Disappearing in Plain Sight–Release Date for the novel is in Sight

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It won’t be long now Open-mouthed smile 

Disappearing in Plain Sight is due to come out near the beginning of March – I am waiting for Friesen Press to give me a definitive release date. Suffice to say, I am excited and nervous and wracked with various anxieties. The piece of art I created is about to leap into the world and I’m not sure how much dusting of souls it will do. It has certainly whisked over mine a few times.

With the actual release just around the corner – I’m finding it hard to believe I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You work and work for something and then you wait and wait for it to happen and all of a sudden it does. How will life after a book is out in the world differ from life before?

Here are a few things that I’m looking forward to. Being able to check sales stats (this could become a dread if there’s nothing to check – we’ll have to see how it goes), setting up all the Amazon author perks, getting out on Goodreads, giving copies of the book to friends and family who have been so supportive through this whole process. To say nothing of the joy I hope to feel, when I hold a hardcover copy of my novel in my hands, curl up in a big chair near the fire and read my book with absolutely no thought of changing anything.

Of course, more work hovers on the horizon. Having the book out means moving into the world of self-promotion – I did know that self-publishing would also entail self-promotion. I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles by authors who have published traditionally and they invariably write that they had to self-promote, too. We indie authors have lots of company.

I know balancing the work of promotion with the time needed to get the first draft of the next novel completed will be a challenge. Stephen King writes that the first draft should not take more than one season of dedicated effort to finish – drag it on past that one season and you risk losing momentum. This is a winter book (though not set in winter at all) so I have a bit of time left.

On the up side of balancing, a break can be as a good as a rest. It’s healthy and stimulating to switch gears sometimes.

Look for upcoming posts that will feature the book cover, exact news on the release date, as well as a series I am preparing on the finer details of book promo work.

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(Oh to be as self-confident and as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn)