A couple of months ago I made the decision not to plug my wares on Twitter and Facebook. The reasons were numerous. Firstly, I wanted to see if my books could stand on their own two feet and sell copies without me asking for sales all the time. Secondly, I wanted to concentrate on writing rather than self-promotion (my short collection was giving me some issues and I was also pressing ahead with work on a couple of Stanton Brothers stories). Thirdly, I always felt a bit shifty plugging my stuff all the time. Lastly, there’s still a part of me that wonders whether I’m actually any good at this writing malarkey – manifesting itself in horrible moments of self-doubt and self-reflection.
However, since I made this decision my sales have nosedived horribly. I went from having a handful of sales a month to bugger all, practically overnight. December should be a good sales month (it being Christmas and all that), but at the time of writing it has been my worst sales month of the year. Not one single sale.
Hopefully this unpleasant situation will change when I release The Greatest Show In Town, but it has also made me realise that I’m not in the situation where I can stop peddling my wares on social media. My books can’t stand on their own two feet as I have what can only be described as a very small reputation; I haven’t sold enough books to be able to rely on word of mouth; and I don’t have enough reviews from my peers to be able to rely on them to sell my book, either. My blog has gained more of a readership over the past year, but that alone isn’t enough to boost sales. So in this sense my decision has been a bit of a disaster.
In other respects my decision to concentrate on writing has gone well. I’ve completed a 26,000 word Stanton brothers novella, Bone Breakers, which is currently sitting in a virtual drawer awaiting a third draft; I’m making slow but constant progress on The Glasgow Grin, the sequel to The Hunters; and the problems I had with my short story collection have been ironed out through a combination of persistence and, I believe, some skill.
I now realise that I can’t completely abandon self-promotion of my work – I simply don’t have that kind of gravitas or reputation yet – but I don’t want to be obnoxious about it, either. Somewhere along the line I have to find a balance where I can sell my wares without alienating Twitter and Facebook followers.
So what that means is that a couple of days a week you’ll find me doing a few tweets and Facebook posts where I push my work for profit. I’ll try not to do it too much, but I’ve come to realise that if I want to sell anything at all I’m going to have to do it occasionally. I apologise in advance if this offends you, but I guess you can always unfollow me if you don’t like it.
But of course I hope it doesn’t come to that. Have a good rest of the weekend.