It’s been just over a month since my beloved baby book toddled out into the big bad world. How are things going so far?
In critical terms, pretty well. I’ve got a few reviews lined up, and since one of these will be on a site that only features books that the reviewers feel pretty positive about, I can be reasonably confident that it won’t be a bad appraisal at all. With this review in the bag, I’ll hopefully be able to list my book on Awesome Indies, which would be – well, awesome (or “simply splendid, old chap!” if you prefer British English).
Meanwhile, there are more good tidings on Amazon. Several people have been kind enough to “like” the book: I don’t know who you are, my friends, but I thank you. Another reader has given The Quickening a 5-star review on both Amazon and Goodreads (and lest any cynics out there are rolling their eyes, no, the reviewer is not my mother, sister, husband or best friend. I have expressly forbidden these people to type up ecstatic reviews.)
So, in terms of its critical reception, I’m really quite pleased.
In terms of actually selling the blasted thing? Ah, that’s another matter altogether.
Sales have been, er, modest. I’m not complaining; I expected this. Selling books is difficult in any case, or so I understand. Why should anyone out there take a gamble on a complete unknown?
On the plus side, I can at least give it away! I’ve had one free promotional weekend, and a very decent number of downloads were made. Hopefully at least a handful of the people who now have it on their Kindles will find time to read it. (Thanks, if any of you are reading this. A review would be much appreciated too, if you have the time. An honest review, naturally.)
Still, despite the very small price tag, not many people are actually willing to part with their cash.
In part, of course, this is a problem of visibility. The Amazon kindle store is like a virtual Polynesia. In addition to the most significant islands (Fifty Shades of Grey is Hawaii, perhaps, and The Hunger Games Tahiti) there are lots of little specks of land out there. How is anyone going to find my teeny-weeny little island, unless they stumble across it quite by accident?
I can almost hear you screaming back at me, and yeah, I know. I’ve got to get out there and market the thing. It’s not like it’s that difficult, either: anyone with an internet connection can do hundreds of things to increase their product’s visibility. According to some, perhaps inflated, estimates, I should be putting in anything from five to fourteen hours a day hawking my wares around cyberspace.
What’s that? Five to fourteen hours a day?
Er, no. Sorry, but no. No way.
I have a day job. When I’m not teaching Italian kids the present continuous tense, I’ve got lots of other little chores to do: cleaning, cooking, shopping, walking the dog. And when I’m not doing any of these things, or sleeping, I know what I really want to be doing: writing. You know, that thing that writers do – as opposed to flitting from website to website like virtual door-to-door salesmen.
It’s not even as if I enjoy the marketing thing. In fact, I find it embarrassing. I’m quite a shy person; even from behind the relative anonymity of a keyboard, attempting to hog the limelight is a painful experience. That’s probably why all my attempts to do so are half-hearted to say the least, and why they are almost certainly destined to failure.
But do I really care?
No, actually. Mr Biella and I are not wealthy by any means, but we’re not destitute. I’d like to sell a few copies of this book, but I don’t have to. Besides, I am lamentably lacking in ambition. On the best and most gung-ho day of my life I could never muster up anything like the impressive level of ambition possessed by, say, Madonna. In fact, if I were Madonna I’d probably have retired as soon as I had a nice round million in the bank, and spent the rest of my life pottering in the garden.
Don’t get me wrong: I want readers, and I want feedback. That’s why I like free days. If only a fraction of the people who download the book read it, I’m happy.
So, I’m going to take a step back from the marketing arena. I don’t really care if my sales rankings plummet as a result; they weren’t exactly stellar to begin with. I’m quite happy to leave my little island to its own devices. If people find it, they’re very welcome; if they don’t, at least life there will be nice and peaceful.
Here’s to long, lazy days in the sun!