Can I go back in time?

One of the things about being thrown in the deep end: if you drown, then it probably wasn’t worth it.

So it’s been about a week since I dipped my toe into the blogosphere. Chilly. I’ve done what everyone said to do: get some posts up! And I even put the first chapter of the book I’m going to publish online (lowest stats on visits; no major surprise). I’ve even got a few followers, which is an honor. But what about my book?

Is this an issue for you fellow self-publishers out there? Are you getting subsumed by all your social media marketing? I haven’t even started to typeset yet. Plus, now I’m wondering just how a blog and Twitter and Facebook will fit into all of this. Do I reach out to people (read: harass people), or do I just set things up and allow people to contact me and build word-of-mouth through what I’ve built? Because I’d much rather have the book do all the work for me– and I can’t be alone, can I? Already, self-publishers have warned me that social media ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Okay, but then what the heck should I do? I’ve been advised that reviewers are the way to go, and I like the sound of that. If my book sucks, then I don’t want people to buy it, for god’s sake. Now the question is: how to be noticed by reviewers. Stay tuned to see if I manage to figure that out. I’ll be glad to share any tips…

So, back to drowning. I threw up (interesting choice of words) the first chapter of my first book on the day that I unexepctedly started this post. But now, I’m wondering if it was the right book to start with. Just because it was the first novel I’d written, it doesn’t mean that it should be the first published, does it? And this blog strains to be lightweight– which my first novel isn’t. My second novel it, though. Should I have started with that one?

And this brings me to another, more fundamental question: why am I starting with one? Traditional book marketing seems to be all about building a buzz months before the release of a title, so that when it hits the bookshelves, there’s a mad dash. But isn’t that a little 1994? Do I honestly think that people are going to read one of my novels and then vibrate in a state of perpetual anticipation until I finally release the next one in a cloud of fanfare? Or would today’s internet-savvy readers read one book and then decide to check out my other book– if they don’t forget who the hell I am before clicking the “other titles” button? Selling ebooks for 99 cents means that people will be buying more books, but doesn’t it also mean that the value of books in their eyes will decrease somehow? And if it’s that easy to buy books, won’t they have a virtual pile of novels to slog through before they even start thinking about purchasing my other work of genius?

Maybe you guys know more than I do. Any comments would be very much appreciated. I’m leaning toward publishing both at the same time and seeing what happens.

Is that what Harvard Business School would call a business plan? It is?! Oh, good. Maybe I don’t need a life-preserver after all.


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2 responses to “Can I go back in time?

  1. I’d definitely pub both at the same time if you have them ready. Use one as a loss-leader, and stick links to the other in the back (and vice versa). If people like one, chances are they’ll check out your other. Trying to promote one book is a waste of time, as all the hard work will amount to nothing if they have nothing else to move on to.

    Good luck.

    • Then it’s decided! I think that makes the most sense, too, but with everything changing so quickly with the whole industry, it’s tough to say if my gut feeling is lagging or not!

      Thanks so much for your input, Colin!

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