Sunday, December 22, 2013

Delusional: The Indie Path to Success

Now more than ever I think it's a good idea to "get right with God."

I'm not talking about God here.

I'm talking about...well...I'm not sure if I can point to any one thing, and yet it is very specific. I guess I'm talking about clarifying my professional focus in order to achieve success.

This is a process I've slowly been edging towards, and I feel like I'm coming to an "aha" moment about the whole thing.  I'm listening to/reading motivational speakers as well as thought leaders in my interest areas (writing, religion, parenting, etc). I've been reading marketing and social media gurus. Once again I'm thinking about revising my whole approach to writing (and potentially public speaking).

I feel schizo about it all. I keep having this same moment over and over again - this same quandry - and I wonder if I'm not avoiding the inevitable. I wonder if I'm not avoiding doing the things I should be doing.

In my head I have this ideal: I write. I get asked to speak about my writing. I write some more. I speak about writing more. People love me (and my writing). The end.

I've read from many authors all kinds of different thoughts on this. Some say just write. Just keep writing. Some say push social media. Some say have your own site. Some say do this, or that. Say this three times, spin around, while holding your tongue during a full moon.

Sometimes I think it's all bullshit - another person trying to sell their "magic bullet snake oil" for $385 an ounce. And I'm not having any of it.

But other times...

Today I have to question my previous conclusion. Maybe it's not all snake oil. Maybe I could be doing things better. Maybe I could research better, listen better, interact better. Maybe I could do more with technobabble and use all these crazy apps and sites to my advantage.

I could.

Ben Sweetland (my guru du jour) would say my Creative Mind will lead me to the right people, places, and actions to connect with my readers and grow my audience. Maybe coming across these things like is happening because I should in fact follow their advice. I do need to implement something because in the past I was doing things haphazardly at best.

Let's face it...what I have been doing hasn't been systematic up to this point. In fact, much of it has been trial and error and a whole lot of stumbling (and I don't mean StumbleUpon).

I'll give you a run down of my marketing/publicity history:
- I started my blog.
- I started writing novels.
- I published my novels.
- I promoted them through Twitter (in a scattershot approach).
- I put links to them in my email signature.
- I started a second blog (Raising An Alien).
- I tried to set up a blogtour and wasn't able to get a hold of any bloggers from fantasy sites except one who only takes paper copies of books.
- I started my author FaceBook page.
- I tried some giveaways.
- I registered on GoodReads.
- I registered on blogger networks.
- I uploaded chapters free on Wattpad.
- I sent query letters to agents (over 30) and got one tiny nibble.
- I submitted short stories to over 10 literary magazines which were all rejected.
- I even offered to do Indie author book swaps to trade reviews.

Most of these things have resulted in little to no increase in sales. Frankly, most of them resulted in next to no responses. When I read through this list, it's a wonder I'm still at this at all.

To be fair, I have sold some books. I've more than paid for the monetary costs of the books. But I'm not yet anywhere close to where I want to be as a writer.

When I read articles by different people saying how much they didn't do, or how much they did, I have to wonder what the hell is going on!  It appears to be a total and utter crapshoot who finds success and who doesn't in the indie author world (in fact many authors say just that - just check out the ALLI site! I'm on my phone and don't have the link so humor me and Google it!).

My next attempt in this game, probably should have been my first. I'm going to listen to my audience and try to meet them where they are. I'm going to try to get my books in a few influential hands. I have a feeling this will be more successful than my previous plays. But if it isn't, I'll just go back to the drawing board because I've come too far to fail. That's just not happening. After all this, I deserve to be successful. I will win.

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