New and seasoned writers alike read all the time about the importance of promotion and marketing. The necessity for discoverability. Of how to tap the readers’ shoulder and politely (hopefully) let them know of their presence.
Since I decided I wanted to publicise my work and earn money from my words, I’ve bookmarked and read tens of articles and advice on the process, what is needed, what should not be done, about the hurdles a writer has to overcome. And still, until recently, I couldn’t picture me actually doing it. I couldn’t put my mind around what it would be like. I expected it would happen at some point, regardless of the path I’d choose – self published or traditional. I wanted it to happen, to have people read my work, but when it came to picturing it, it eluded me.
Discoverability is directly related to readers. Vague concepts. Readers. Plural. Impossible to see their faces, impossible to reach them, yet, they’re there. I guess it’s one of those things that no matter how much you expose yourself to the theory behind it, you can never fully grasp it until you get your hands dirty with it.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I self-published my first short story on Amazon and let me be honest with you; since I did it, most of the time I feel like a Lilliputian creature, hopping up and down, waving my arms like a drowning man begging for help, squeaking in my barely audible tiny voice, for the readers’ attention. Tap on their shoulder? I can’t even reach their toes to get their attention. And you know what’s worse? The more I read and try to implement the theory to practice, the theory, the less sense it all
makes, and the less everything seems to work. For me, at least, since others are doing fine.
Then again, it could be the reason behind my seeming ineptitude in making marketing work for me, is because I expect things to happen instantly, even though I keep reminding myself that the publishing process is a marathon (if not a super marathon), not a sprint. I recently added myself to two author promotion communities; iAuthor and Allauthor. My flawed mindset told me I should witness results of some sort within the first couple of days. My rational side said, “nah. Not the way it’s going to happen.”
Guess which one won?
I’m not sure if it’s my educational background to blame. Hard sciences (Geology is part of them, or so I was told) deal with experiments, observations, and results (yes, even though geologists can’t exactly experiment – when was the last time you moved a continent to see how it collided with another? – we do come up with observable results). You do the math, you apply the theory, et voilà! You get the answer, the result, the number within the little square of an Excel sheet, or a blown up lab (hello, chemistry folks!). To a certain extent, even Management and Economics (my postgrad education) made it sound as though all I had to do was to apply the theory to practice, and the results would be measurable immediately. Especially in the case of Economics (cut down salaries and pensions, see how fast people starve – it made sense).
Perhaps part of the blame lies with how our demands are met nowadays; we sit behind our screens, click a button, clickety clack, and boom! We just bought a book, just downloaded a movie, just bridged the gap between
Europe and America and talked to our friends. Click, click, click. Results, results, results. All before our eyes before we blink them.
Somewhere at the back of my mind, the tiny squeaky voice, this small part of me that flails his arms to draw my attention, reminds me that it’s a marathon (a super, duper, freaking long marathon), not a sprint. But the voice is faint and the clicks happen one after the other. So fast.