I must admit I got a little teary-eyed just now. My wonderful husband and I have been hitting it so hard, trying to get my stories out into the world. I also work full-time in addition to my other responsibilities. It can be very hard to find the time, energy, and finances to continue pursuing my dream.
To compound the difficulty, think about how hard it is to get noticed as an unknown author. Millions of books are competing for the same space, and it seems everything is stacked against us. Not only must an author find time to write – they also must promote their books in an attempt to rise above the crowd.
I am blessed with the ability to create my own graphics for my advertising efforts (I have a terrific graphic artist who does my book covers, so I have a great foundation to work with) and I am also able to make my own website. I save a tremendous amount of money by doing it all myself, but it takes more time – time away from writing.
Let’s take a quick look at advertising. Both Amazon and Facebook are platforms that facilitate advertising campaigns – but they are convoluted and are constantly changing. Worst of all, they both follow a model I find disheartening – “pay per click.” Authors are competing against one another for views and that drives the price of each click upward, and it is the platform that profits the most. Just because someone clicks on your “Shop Now” button, taking them to your Amazon page, is no guarantee they will purchase your book. People often click to find out more about a product, not necessarily with the intent to buy. This paradigm makes it difficult to just break even, when the profit margin for books is so small. And while I don’t believe AI will threaten well-crafted stories – it will add to the marketplace clutter – which will in turn most likely increase advertising costs.
So why did I get teary-eyed? Is it because of what I just shared with you? While that is a source of frustration that caused my stomach to clench last night as I was reflecting on my author journey and feeling very discouraged – that isn’t the reason behind my tears. I was on LinkedIn today (which is the least likely platform for advertising a book) and I noticed someone I had recently met at the International Space Development Conference who “liked” my post advertising my book – in other words – who was publicly showing their support.
That simple gesture reminded me of what a fantastic journey I have been on and who I have met, all because I am working hard at promoting my books. It reminded me of the encouragement I have received from so many people and the friends that I have made along the way. Just last night I had a Facebook conversation with someone on one of our city’s community pages. I have never met this person, yet they went out of their way to publicly praise my writing and encourage me in my efforts.
Looking at that “like” on LinkedIn today reminded me that my success as a writer is not about my sales or Amazon rank. Yes, I am working hard toward getting my stories out into the world, but the true measure of my success is wrapped up in the intangibles of having a positive impact on my readers through my stories, and the people I am blessed to meet along the way. I am very grateful for their support and friendship, and I’m much richer for it.