I have no idea. I can’t say. And that makes it very hard to promote my work. In fact, any type of self-promotion is really difficult. But as I keep getting told, it’s a vital part of being an author. To me, there is something inherently uncomfortable about promoting my own writing. Reading and writing are such subjective notions and there is as much diversity in the likes and dislikes of the reading consumer as there is in any other aspect of popular culture.
So how do you establish a baseline for the quality of your material? What do you use to tell people that they should read your work? Would the HDs or the Dean’s Excellence Award in my Master of Creative Writing be of any use? I’ve heard a lot of industry professionals dismiss Creative Writing courses as irrelevant to success in the publication industry. Does it then become dependent on what you write? Is it appropriate to talk about talent or technical ability in constructing narrative, or do you rely solely on the genre content?
Is it the sales you clock up on your eBooks? But these don’t mean much unless you hit the Top 100 on Amazon or iTunes. Can you use the ratings on eBook distributors such as Smashwords? How do you kick-start these numbers?
Putting your work out there for public scrutiny is a daunting task. And unless you are fortunate (or wealthy) enough to have a publicist for this purpose, it is the responsibility of the author to, at the very least, make people aware of your book. Now awareness is one thing, but how do you get them to actually read the work?
There are lots of ideas out there about promoting your work. I’ve read about ‘pushing’ your books using social media, on the bottom of every email you send, using business cards, mass text messages, and carrying promo material around with you so you never miss an opportunity to spruik. None of this really sits well with me. I don’t want to become a pain in the butt to my personal network. I’d love for friends to read and comment on my work if they felt comfortable enough to do so, but I don’t want to pressure people into feeling obliged. And then there’s the need to move beyond your personal network if you are to see any kind of increase in sales and/or profile.
I love the solitary nature of being a writer and I’m a bit of a social recluse by nature. I’m much more comfortable (and effective) when I’m communicating in writing than I am verbally ― unless it relates to singing my own accolades, then I’m left wanting on both counts. So how does an author get their work known? How do you draw attention to yourself when you ordinarily do what you can to avoid drawing attention to yourself? How do you do it?