Where the hell did my publication year go? I can hardly believe it’s a matter of days until it’s over. It’s been hard work. Super fun. Massive learning. I will admit, though, it’s all a bit weird now any semblance of excitement is gone. Back to square one, only not square one… Sometimes I wonder if it’s square two or square zero, it sorts of depends on the day and how positive I’m feeling about the whole experience. But the fact remains that I’m soon to be back on submission with a new manuscript, and I’m working on a third with the aim of finishing that by Christmas. Things are happening.
Plotting and writing and editing has taken a lot of time away from marketing Tinker, Tailor the past six months, but the truth is, while I feel bad about the lack of focus I’ve given to my book baby, I’ve had no choice but to scale back in order to get on with anything else at all. And anyway, am I a writer, or a marketeer? Probably a bit of both. But honestly, I’m not really very sure if all the hours of marketing I put in – especially on social media – made enough of a difference to book sales after the initial push to be worth it. I say especially social media, because I think it took up far too much time and my reach hasn’t increased anywhere near exponentially as I hoped it would. Your reach is your reach on social media, I now realise… and unless you’re very lucky and Dawn French retweets you and you go viral (she didn’t), you’re just another debut author.
But all is not lost, and I’ve got some great things coming up thanks to quite a bit of persistence, tenacity and maybe a bit of borderline stalking over the course of the past year. Networking, radio interviews, book signings, workshops – getting out there and talking to people who might just be able to help has proved to be fruitful and I’ve definitely had exposure as a result, ranging from my own table at Waterstones to a couple of book festival appearances, including Barkway Lit Fest in October and the Emirates lit fest in Dubai next February, which should definitely shift a few copies! Personal and in person stuff has definitely been more effective, in terms of self promotion and sales. Maybe that’s just me – better in person. Not sure that’s a great advert for a writer haha. But it’s helped me learn where my strengths are and how I can best sell books. I do remember someone saying once, that back of the room sales are the most effective way to sell books. Of course, getting a room to be at the back of is actually the challenging bit – the festivals are all about the big names and it’s hard getting a look in, especially as my publication year is now at a close and I’m not considered a ‘debut’ author anymore. (The irony being that last year, no one would consider me because my book wasn’t out yet… if you can figure out how that works, do let me know.) Going forward, I figure the best way to sell more books is to write more books and publish more books so that people invite me to a room I can be at the back of. So that is what I’m going to do. Stay tuned.