One of the biggest challenges I face as an author is marketing myself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love talking about myself and my work. I love talking about things that I’m passionate about, whether that be my family, my dogs, horror and zombies, or writing. The problem comes in when I try to turn those passions into sales.
To be honest, having a book sale isn’t the be all end all. However, sales are a tangible number that shows exactly what kind of impact my PR campaign had. For some people, it’s the only number that actually counts. There are some who believe that you aren’t a real author unless you have a certain amount of sales. And maybe it’s true. Maybe that is the true benchmark of “making it,” but maybe it’s not. Personally, I believe that we have to set our own standards and measure against those. This is something that is taking me a long time to learn.
When I do my presentations, I don’t even take books to sell. That’s not the reason I’m there. I’m there to have fun and talk about topics I enjoy talking about and maybe teach my audience something they didn’t know.
In some cases, I definitely could have made sales. While at MAPACA, there were several attendees at my panel that wanted copies of my books. They asked if I had any extras, and I didn’t. I even told them flat out that wasn’t my goal. I told them that I was there to meet cool people and geek out. One of them responded with, “You’ve done that, and now I’m missing out on a book that I have to have.”
The sentiment was sweet, and I really appreciated it, but it didn’t change the fact that I hadn’t brought any books to sell. Did they get online later and order my books? Maybe. It’s hard to say. I hope so, but without asking directly, there’s no way I can know for sure.
While I’m not necessarily the best at marketing myself, that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try. In addition to my presentations and workshops, I also do blog tours and look for reviewers. I write guest blog posts and I’ve done radio shows. I’ve set up at holiday craft fairs to sell my paperbacks. I’m always trying to brainstorm ideas of how to get my work into the world.
Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not. And the unsuccessful times can be frustrating and disheartening.
I’m not an optimistic person. For those of you who know me personally, you know that I’m pretty cynical and pessimistic. More often than not, I’ll look at the negative side of things just so I’m not disappointed when things don’t work out well. It’s a way for me to protect myself.
When a marketing campaign doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to, I tell myself that it was to be expected. At times, I even ask myself what I did in a past life to have this kind of karma, then I say, “Past life? It was probably this one.” I let the irritation and disappointment settle into a bitter little ball in my chest, and then I attempt to let it go.
I allow myself to recognize that the situation didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and I allow myself to be upset, but then I try not to dwell on it. I try to look for the good things that happen. After all, the bad can’t happen without the good and vice versa. I live and learn and move on to the next endeavor.
I’m still looking for that magic bullet that is going to catapult me into superstardom and make me a famous author. I keep plugging away through the frustrations, disappointments, and small victories because I know that one day, I’ll be able to look back and laugh, saying, “Remember when this marketing campaign failed? Well, look at me now!”
Even if that never happens, that’s okay, because I’m not going to stop trying. Facing challenges only makes me stronger, and the way I’m going, I’m going to be an incredibly strong person. I hope you can say the same.