Monday, 28 November 2011

You May Be Surprised by What You Find

David Robinson shares his thoughts on why we should look deep within to find possibilities.
I read this week that writer Talli Roland has hit 20,000 sales of her e-titles over the last year. Great going, Talli, more power to your elbow.
Then I look at my sales. Nowhere near. Not even a dot on the horizon in comparison to Talli’s and when compared to the likes of John Locke or Amanda Hocking, I’m not even a loose atom floating around the universe.
When I analyse why, it comes down to just one thing: visibility. There’s nothing wrong with my work (according to my readers) the plots are solid, I leave no gaps in them, my covers have improved, and even if I do write in three different genres, crime, sci-fi and paranormal horror, I’m not the only one. My price falls within the generally accepted guidelines, 99ȼ - $2.99 and I plug work in the right places. I guest on other blogs such as this one, I turn out adequate slideshow trailers, and I podcast readings from my work.
In other words, I follow all the rules. But I don’t enjoy the visibility Talli, John Locke, Amanda Hocking and the big hitters do.
How do you achieve that “front”? To coin an English-ism, I have more bottle than the co-op dairy, and I’ve never been shy about putting myself forward, so it’s not that I’m reluctant to do it. I simply don’t know what I’m doing… or where I should be doing it.
There’s a fine line between publicity and spam, and I refuse to stoop to the level of bombarding every forum I can find with my links. According to my reading, it’s not the most productive route anyway.
Twitter and Facebook have their limitations. There’s only so many time you can tweet “buy my book” before people start switching off. Goodreads could be promising, but I can’t even get my books listed on there because of some problem with my identity clashing with my author name.
I need to find other routes.
It’s a problem that’s bugged me for months now. Then on November 22nd I caught a programme on BBC TV, a documentary about hairdressing legend Vidal Sassoon. I’ve never needed his services. I haven’t had enough hair for our local barber to tackle since 1980. Towards the end of the program, Sassoon said something like this:
“Look deep inside yourself. You may be surprised by what you find there.”
It’s something I’ve known for years without actually being aware of knowing it.
Now I look, and what do I find? Not answers, but possibilities.
My tweets will be less “buy, buy, buy” centred. My characters will tweet for me. There will be interviews with Joe Murray, Sceptre Rand, Pete Brennan and so on. I’ve even lined up an interview with Fishwick, the ghostly butler of the Spookies series (how’s that for an exclusive?) and another with Bazill Beatel, who won’t be born until the year 3050.
I’ll put up more free reads, and a few crazy polls. There’s one on my site right now, under the heading What Would You Do. It’s still running if you want to cast your vote.
And there will be giveaways. I’m a Yorkshireman. We keep our wallets closer than we keep our wives, and we don’t part with money easily, but I’m forcing myself. You can read all about it on the prize draw page of my site, but basically all you have to do is review one of my titles and then send me an email with the url for the review.
Beyond all that, I will carry on turning out the titles, and I’m open to suggestions from anyone.
In the meantime, this is likely to be my last guest post on Lorraine’s blog for 2011 so I’d like to thank her for allowing me this space, and to Lorraine and all her readers, let me be the first to wish you every success for 2012.
The Writer’s ABC Checklist
Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition

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