OMG, What Will You Do?

In response to my last post Martin asked, “My God, I would have preferred to read something more cheerful. So what now? What will you do?”

I would have liked to have posted something more cheerful. Believe me I would like to say I already reached my goal of selling 100,000 books. Didn’t happen though. Not even close.

What will I do?  This is a good question. In any decision-making process one answer is always: Do nothing. One way I could ignore yesterday’s problem is to say, “So what if one indie bookstore in Washington can’t get my book? After all, it IS available on Amazon.com. And, I HAVE been PROMISED that Ingram WILL carry my book (Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories) in their catalog within the next 6-8 WEEKS.” Doing nothing might also demonstrate that I’m beat up, that I have no fight left in me. I have had a number of setbacks trying to make my book available to a larger audience than only those who buy books on Amazon.

What will I do? In response I ask, “What can I do?” When I decided to take the self-publishing route, I believed in the power of the Internet. We all hear about videos going viral on YouTube. Many of us have faith in Twitter, believe it is THE WAY to spread the word. Why else are so MANY people joining SM Webinars, purchasing programs to increase their Twitter followers, and using auto-messaging sites?

I spent several weeks in February concentrating on SM. I built a following on Twitter, on Facebook and on my blog. I joined a tribe. I also saw my sales on Amazon plummet. What I’ve taken away from this experience is that I have to balance my social media work with more traditional networking. I’m actively trying to arrange for book signings (the subject of my next eye-opening post), radio and newspaper interviews, and, whatever else I can think of that will make people familiar with my book and with me.

I never imagined how much work promoting my book was going to be. I thought that by using a BIG name (Amazon) on the Internet to sell my book, I’d only need to send out emails to friends and family, ask them to pass it on to their friends and their families, and twitter. Then voila I’d be a success. Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that easy.

I expect there are others who have had more success. I would be more upbeat if I hadn’t set my goals so high initially, and I didn’t feel such a deep responsibility to the women I wrote about to share their stories. The positive news is that since my book became available on January 11 on Amazon, I have made several good contacts via Twitter. I’ve found a SM coach who has given me good advice and emotional support. I joined a Tribe of great gals who provide much needed emotional and professional support. These are ALL pluses especially as writers are often isolated in their work. Agents and editors probably offer similar support but, I imagine, not as frequently or earnestly.

Martin asked: What will I do? I’m going to do what I’ve been doing. Rejoice in the good days. Those are the days when I receive positive comments. Whimper and SCREAM on the bad days like yesterday.  I need to find ways to breathe, so I can move forward. Letting others know about the pitfalls I’ve encountered allows me to put a positive spin on them. They become teachable moments.

Now I ask you: What can you do? If you believe in the power of SM, if you want to help prove that writers CAN succeed by self-publishing and self-promotion on the Internet, then you will help me. I’m going to continuing sharing my experience – the good and the bad. I’d really like to prove that my initial belief in the Internet was right. I’d like to believe that everyone who has counseled me to be patient, that it takes time, were also right.

So what can YOU do? Spread the word through twitter, FB, everywhere about my book and, of course, this blog. Tell your friends and family, contact your local newspaper, everywhere, anywhere. Let’s find out what works.

I’ll going to continue blogging and encourage others to leave comments. I want to collect information from others what has worked for them and what hasn’t. How long have they found it takes?

Help me make this blog a community where writers share. What I don’t want is my blog to become an advertiser. Also, I require that all criticism  be constructive not destructive.

I am earnest and passionate about writing, about my book, and about working with other writers to help each of us realize our dreams. So onwards.

Click here for subscription to blog on Kindle Out of the Box Publishing Blog on Kindle

Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book.

Read more at Amazon.com.

My other blog is Living in the Heartland.

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3 Comments

Filed under book, dreams, on demand publishing, on publishing, on writing, publishing, self-publishing, social media, success, writing, writing block

3 responses to “OMG, What Will You Do?

  1. Hi Pam,

    Patience, girl! You’re doing all the right stuff. If you have a good story and it’s well told, it will travel. You only had a few rejections when you traveled the conventional route, so I’m surprised you went to self-pub so quickly. And I’m surprised you’re so upset so soon, when your book has only been out a few months. I would imagine that it always takes a long time to build momentum with self-publication. Didn’t John Grisham take his book everywhere he went and sell it out of his trunk? Like at his kids’ soccer games and stuff? That’s how it is. It wasn’t just that people hear about it on social media and it sounds good… they have to hear about it, decide to buy it, *read* it, then love it enough to tell their friends. SM amplified word-of-mouth, but it still has to be good enough to be worth telling everyone about. I hardly ever feel that way about commercially published books, do you? Self-pubbed books have that much farther to go; it’s kind of like Am-way. You’re not going to take the risk of telling your friends about some potentially hokey thing unless it’s WAY BETTER than the branded thing.

    So, hang in there, keep doing your thing if it’s good, and trust that if you keep making it available by promoting it in the right places it will find its audience.

    • Pam

      I didn’t hear that Grisham began by selling his novels out of the trunk of his car. I appreciate knowing this, and I appreciate your encouragement. Yes, patience is an issue. I am VERY passionate about my book. It’s not because I put in a lot of work doing the research, the writing, and the refinement. These were an investment I happily undertook. Any impatience is because the women who shared their stories were so earnest and willingly to tell their stories as a way to help others. I’m SO PASSIONATE about my book because I believe in the message: contemporary women are heroines in the graceful way they rise to the challenges in their lives marriage, divorce, single parenting, illness, all the challenges we encounter in our daily lives. Many of us fail to see how much we accomplish. We are too busy coping with the day-to-day struggles. We underestimate our worth to others. I also BELIEVE that women no matter how different we appear because of race, culture, religion, size, etc. are fundamentally the same. I believe that if we recognize our similarity we can break the glass walls that separate us and build a better world for ourselves and our children. Passion brings urgency. Another urgency is more perceived than real. It comes from living in a world where so much appears to be immediate gratification: reality television, shows like American Idol, viral videos on You Tube, email. We’ve come to feel as if things WILL HAPPEN overnight and if not we want timetables. I appreciate your ‘hang in there’ message. I’m going to try to be more patient. Thanks for offering advice and support. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. And the next day…

  2. Pam

    My friend Leslie Moon took a poll to see how others felt about SM. Her unscientific poll has some upbeat findings. Check out her website (http://tinyurl.com/y9hy8vw) . I’ve put a synopsis below.

    Social Media Networking – Is it working?

    March 3, 2010 by moondustwriter

    Social Media Networking – Is it Working?

    I just spoke to a writer friend who is frustrated with the promises that the Social Media world makes.

    I remember when I first “dipped into” the Social Media world. I was told that it would further my cause; people all over the world would hear what I was doing. Sounded good – so I naively went in head first.

    So the question does this new form of networking actually work?

    I am as interested as you (maybe more) so I am casually polling people. Sorry folks no scientifically constructed survey.

    Here’s what I have found out so far:

    * People are happy with Social Networking because they are making connection; friendships are being formed out of those connections.

    * Many of my writer friends are finding that 1) more people are reading their stuff and commenting 2) they are connecting up with some fabulous writers 3) some have joined on-line writing “tribes” 4) over time book sales are up (not in huge numbers but they are creeping up).

    * Those with similar careers are connecting and sharing information- maybe getting advice pertaining to a situation confounding them at work

    * Mom’s groups are being established.

    * I am an advocate for special needs kids and just connected with a “site” for those involved with that community.

    So far it seems that Social Media Networking has a value in making CONNECTIONS

    Check back- I’m going to continue to dig around and see what this Social Media Animal is all about…

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