This weekend, I am feeling quite proud of myself. Why? Because this week, I put out four “new” print books on my Lulu storefront. Four. And I didn’t just drop a Word file into the uploader. I did a great layout on each book with InDesign. If I’m able to keep up this kind of pace, I’ll have all my archived stories out in ebook and print by early August. Taking a suggestion from hubby, my coverless releases from the web-serial archives will be gathered under the label the White-Faced Collection. This is a term for coverless books in Italy, though it’s usually applied to classic titles in the public domain. I was iffy on the name, but it grew on me after a week or so, and now I really like it and think it’s kinda cool.
I also decided to add Sandy Morrison & the Pack of Pussies to the list of early conversions for the White-Faced Collection because for new readers, my Mystical World Wars books are daunting. The number of volumes out intimidates folks no matter how many times I try to explain that they’re individual episodes that don’t require reading the whole series. So I need something short, fast, and fun. Well, that’s Sandy. It also describes her book too! Ba-da-pish! Thanks, I’m here all week. Please, buy a book on your way out, and tip your waitress. She takes PayPal.
So…yeah, Peter, the Wolf is definitely going to be released soon, and then I’ll drop NINJAWORLD next for the same reason. People want short stuff to get to know me without committing to a 20 book series. Totally understandable. Peter’s book is a short novel, and NINJAWORLD is a novella so short, I’ll either have to add B&W artwork to the layout or include a bonus story to pad the page count to an acceptable minimum count for Lulu. I detest sending any more than three blank pages in any book, and I long to fill up empty space to give people their money’s worth. So one way or the other, those pages WILL get some ink sprayed on them…like printer shop bukkake. (Now go grab a book and sniff it while thinking, “printer sperm.” Oh, page turns are going to be so much fun for you when you think, Every page is sticky with printer love juice. You’re welcome.)
The thing is, I need you people to help me out with upcoming releases, and this includes my release for the fine folks at Belfire Press, who will any day now be shipping copies of The Life and Death of a Sex Doll. Now if you buy a copy, print or ebook, or you already made a pre-order, I bestow many blessing upon you. Long may the happiness fairies dance over you, or something.
BUT, that’s really not going to help me move the other print copies still left in stock. And I won’t kid myself, so I know there WILL be a lot of copies left over. The only way that I can move those other units will be if my readers talk about the books. And maybe not just a review, but even to make little announcements when you’re reading the book. If a joke makes you laugh, feel free to quote it on your favorite social network. This kind of status update is not for me, although it would be nice to know that folks were getting a kick out of my story. But the main idea is, you’re helping me out with some free advertising by telling the friends in your social network about my book.
Some of you are probably clutching your heads now. So unfair, me asking my readers to actually speak up over and over! Uffa! It’s not like I’m totally dependent upon your reactions for my success, or anything like that.
Except, I am. All writers are dependent upon their readers for support, and not just financial support. Building a fan base requires vocal fans, and finding a vocal book fan these days is like finding a vestal virgin in a college fraternity house party after midnight. Sure, it sounds nice in theory, but it’s highly unlikely.
And, I joke, but seriously, most of the vocal people who support me are actually writers or artists at many levels of financial success. They know what it’s like to create in a vacuum, and they try to lend support with a few words here and there. (And a few sales here and there.) But I also think that’s why I’m not breaking out yet, because the only people talking about me are all part of the same closed loop networks. I need readers to talk about me in places where I haven’t had any exposure before, or I will always remain obscure.
With Twitter, there are online tools to measure the reach of a tweet, and over the last year, I’ve seen my tweets show a declining influence. The same people retweet my stuff, but nobody new picks up the messages and sends them on after the initial RT. This means my social reach is exceedingly limited.
The same is even more true on Facebook, but then it was always true on Facebook. I can share links from other people all I want. But no one I share for will share my links when I post them. While I can get “likes” on most status updates, replies on book links and purchases are both blue moon events. Compared to Twitter, Facebook is often silent as a tombstone during release days. If they’re the most trafficked site in the world, that’s great, but as a so-called social network, they suck. The biggest reason they suck for me is, all they ever do is hook me up with other authors. On my friends list, the only other people on my list who aren’t authors are actual friends and family.
In fact, that’s why I won’t give up Facebook even if I hate the site. Because that’s how I keep in touch with Ken and Tina, my old best friends from my days of stomping around San Antonio. It’s how I keep in touch with one of my aunts, and one of my cousins.
I don’t like sounding like a broken record, but my continuing results show that I still have the same number of buyers now as I did post-blow-up. I didn’t lose anything by getting rid of my moochers, but I didn’t gain anything from the exposure either. So I have to assume that all the other traffic coming to the blogs is either morbid onlookers or pissed off readers from the web site lurking on the blog in search of the post where I admit defeat and go back to posting free shit. (Here’s a hint: Never happening.)
So…somehow, some way, I have to convince readers to make reviews. If not, I guess I can just be a broken record and stay on the same topic on my blog. At least then, I’ll be really, really consistent: “I released another book this month, please review it. In other news, I’m still playing guitar, gardening, and writing. By the way, did you see that I have 23 books without reviews now? Yeah. So, how about a review?”
And I swear to God, if I die in obscurity because you people were too busy to speak up and offer a little support, I will make a list and haunt every single one of your asses…with ghost clones, or something. (¬_¬)
Just…if you buy a book and read it, review it. Even if you think it sucks. But especially if you didn’t think it sucked. Please. You’re truly killing me with your silence.
Okay, I’m off to enjoy my weekend. See you Monday, when I beg once again for orders of The Life and Death of a Sex Doll, and for reviews.
And in conclusion, did you see on Smashwords that 11 of my 20 ebook releases don’t have reviews yet? So, how about a review?