The one thing I didn’t think about when I set off on my writing journey was how much time, energy and money I would need to throw at marketing my writing to make a living. We all have romantic dreams of what being a published writer means, but the reality of it all is far different.
All published writers have a different journey as they stride towards their goal. For me, I was lucky enough to have an experienced author as my guide to the publishing world. Maggie Ford (aka Ivy Lord) took me under her wing and introduced me to every aspect of what a published writer must expect.
Before I met Maggie I recalled hearing her talking on the local radio about her writing journey. It was while listening to her I made the decision to follow in her footsteps. Of course, things have changed since Maggie began her journey in the late 1970’s and in fact, I would say it is much easier to become published these days with all the small publishing companies available, plus self-publishing.
Over the last year and half since I became a published author my focus has shifted. Now I want to work towards a much higher standard of publication. My dear friend, Maggie Ford started her journey with a small publishing company and worked her way up to become published by Random House. This gave her the opportunity to increase her royalties. The one thing that hasn’t change for us published authors is the lack of financial reward for all our hard work.
This is where marketing comes in to play as we all battle for readers’ attention. You only have to look on Amazon to know there are millions of other authors all fighting for a slice of the pie too. Our problem is how do we make our work stand out from the crowd, without breaking the bank. It is too easy to spend money in the hope it will bring you great sales. I have spent a moderate amount on marketing because of limited funds. I know other who have spend larger sums for less returns. It must be remembered your book might not be to everyone taste. Maybe the readers have read something similar already etc. This means no matter how much money you throw at it, it might not sell.
Look at the film industry. Remember the big blockbusters that were flops even after they had huge named actors, marketing and big budgets spend on them. Yet small film companies with tiny budgets and unknown actors can and do have bestselling films. Why? The answer is so simple. The storyline caught the imagination of the general public.
Yesterday, I played around with BookBrush.com to create some new marketing ads for some of my books. The site is easy to use. You’re allowed fifteen images for free before you have to start paying. For book trailers, I’ve used Microsoft Video Editor and Pixabay to find the images I need to create storyboards for my novels. Video Editor allows you to add stills and video clips together plus special effects and music too. Once you have created your book trailer you can post it on your Amazon Author’s page, as well as across the net and for free.
What I think is important is getting the balance right between marketing your work to potential readers without becoming annoying. Knowing your market helps. Remember not all readers are looking for your book so don’t try to shoehorn it into a romance because the two main characters steal a kiss just before the mad axeman splatters their brains across the ceiling. Yes, there is a lots of sub-categories on offer these days and I could easily market my books as Gothic Crime (which I do) because at theirs heart is a mystery to be solved.
I do promote my books as horror. Though I’m sure a die-hard Horror Fan wouldn’t class it as such. Nor would a purist crime fan see Seeking The Dark as a crime novel either. This makes me nervous, but I’ve been surprised and of course delighted to find some of my readers have stepped out of their comfort zone, read my novels and reviewed them.
Without Ivy’s invaluable advice and guidance my dreams would’ve lay shattered, and maybe I would have given up. The rewards for long hours and years spend at the keyboard are far less than the cost of a pint of milk and a loaf of bread bought at the corner shop. The terms struggling artist comes to mind often.
It is said one should only take up writing for the joy of it, and not for financial gain, but when you have to pay out to market your work, you want it to pay for itself in the end. I remember clearly Maggie’s excitement when she showed me her one of her last royalties statements. “This is what I dreamt of when I first started writing,” she said, “And it has taken me until now to start earning it.” ( Maggie passed away in 2020)
This is why I know that my journey is far from over, in reality I’ve only just begun, financially anyway. There’s no short cut to success. You’ve just got to keep on writing and hoping that at some point you write the right book at the right time and get it the right person.
First, let me introduce you to Granny Wenlock. Who knows Granny Wenlock could be my key to success 🙂