The last few months have been interesting. Since the publication and launch of Dear Tosh on the 20th May 2021 there have been great surges of interest and then troughs of nothing. Social media is a fickle friend and I get the distinct feeling that followers on Instagram and Facebook get fed up with too many posts on one particular subject and that Twitter is a complete waste of time. Even though I now have nearly a thousand followers on Twitter — only a small faithful percentage of them fluff up their feathers, open their beaks and speak up about, or for me. A tweet flies in and out in seconds. It’s very difficult to be noticed however much seed you scatter and I take my hat off to those independent authors who succeed.
I am not famous, I don’t have an agent or a book deal with a traditional publisher and the stigma of self-publishing is still very much in evidence in the literary world. I am at a loss as to see why every other industry encourages ‘independence’ as a brave and wonderful thing to do, but when it comes to publishing a book, one is generally passed over or ignored. As it happens, I’m not that concerned about selling loads of copies of Dear Tosh , I wrote it as a tribute to my lovely son and sent it out into the world, so I have achieved my goal. The reviews have been amazing and the sales —whilst not reaching the Sunday Times Best Seller list — have been slow and steady. I just wish I could garner more interest with say the BBC or even local newspapers. Even those who have promised they will give me a corner in a magazine or a spot on a podcast, have yet to seal the deal. Nobody wants to give you a big window display in their bookshop even though you are prepared to lob several free copies their way.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. BBC Radio Devon gave me an interview with Pippa Quelch and the feedback from those who listened was wonderful. The Compassionate Friends printed and article in their magazine Compassion (page 10)and my local magazine The Marshwood (page 56) also gave me a page in their July issue and I am very grateful for that exposure.
I’m going to try and go the traditional route next time, I am sure more doors would open for me and more opportunities arise, simply because — if I succeed in getting a deal— I will no longer be painted with the ‘self-published’ brush. But, on the other hand, being in control of everything from the type setting, the cover, the price etc., is very satisfying. Also, do I want to have a ‘two-book-deal’ which would mean having to finish another book by a given deadline? Perhaps the traditional route is not for me — we’ll see.
Conclusion: it’s bloody hard to keep going with promotion and keep up the enthusiasm. But, I’m a pretty stalwart person, so giving up is not an option. Maybe one day, I’ll get that elusive interview on a breakfast TV show or lunchtime gig — at least I won’t stop trying. Perhaps I have to think of a really outrageous publicity stunt. . . any ideas?
2 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Self-Publishing (or as I prefer to say Independent Author)”
Thinking about your need for wider recognition. It is probably all about promotion that I would suggest what is needed to build wider interest in your writings. The interest you have achieved to date is more or less a direct connection to your existing network. This is of course and excellent base from where to start.
As a suggestion your next book could have maybe some controversy or intrigue in the subject matter. This might be the catalyst to gaining wider interest.
What about going back to the short stories and test the market with varying themes and build readership volumes though interest in content and by default enhancing your reputation. As a suggestion a collection of travel stories about people and places?
Above all, don’t give up!!!
Hello Peter, Thanks for your advice. Don’t worry, I won’t give up. It’ just hard to stay motivated with the promotion side of things. But, I am back at my computer writing now. Looking forward to creating new and wonderful things. Yesterday I sent off a poem and a flash fiction story and i’m forging ahead with the Italian memoir. Pitching to an agent at the end of the month. It will be an interesting experience for me and perhaps give me some idea as to whether or not I really want representation. My novel certainly has some intrigue and controversy in it…but I’m finding it a tad difficult to write in two genres at the same time! 😊😂