A Yelp for Help from a Debut Author

Following many hopeful moments of reading the headlines of articles proclaiming to be my salvation from this often hellish ordeal of marketing myself, I’ve inevitably been let down by one common factor – most of these helpful tips are aimed at established authors. With (gasp!) plenty of loyal fans and followers, these tips are great, but without said readers, these pointers only serve to remind me how far I’ve yet to go. The latest instalment of tips and tricks from BookBub, the site of great deals for readers and very successful (so I’ve been told), paid advertising for authors, is very useful, yes, for those who are already established in the business.

What about new authors, like me, who are struggling to get their work seen, and their name recognised? I challenged BookBub on Twitter for just such an article, but alas, they don’t seem to have taken me up on what I thought was a very helpful suggestion.

I released my debut novel, The War Between, in February of this year. I self published, without any knowledge of marketing or using social media as an advertising platform, and four months on, I can say I’ve learned more than I thought possible, mostly due to the writer and reader groups I’ve joined on Facebook. I even learned what an ARC copy is (Advanced Reader Copies), and yes, I freely admit I didn’t know this before, or that I could’ve gained some reviews for my novel, pre-release.

The greatest lesson for me during this process is persistence. I’ve approached many bloggers for reviews, and often have received no reply at all, or one stating that they are already drowning under their current load of requests, and can’t take on anymore. I feel like I’m trying to open doors that seem determined to stay shut, and prying them open with my fingernails only to have them slam closed again when I loosen my hold. I’ve done giveaways, official and not so much (picture me harassing my friends and family every time I see them, and finally giving into threats until they finally put up a review), with varying results. I’ve paid to have my book feature on emails sent to a fan base of thousands, only to have a dozen or so bites, sometimes none at all.

I know – this sounds like a self-indulgent whine-fest. But I swear it’s not. I intend to try to capture every detail of my writer’s life, in order to not only record what has worked (in case, by my second book, I’ve lost my mind a little and need a reminder), but also to ask others for their input, and to recognise, that as much as a writer works alone, the writing community is a vast, and, I’m happy to say, generous one. Not to mention the great readers of the world, who willingly and enthusiastically immerse themselves in our stories, and befriend our characters.

So, as a beginner writer, or as one who remembers what it was like starting out, please feel free to comment and wow me with your wisdom and knowledge. I’m drawing a big ole SOS sign in the virtual sands of the Web, and I’m hoping you’ll come to my rescue. In the meantime, I’ll be sniffing out new ways of putting my book into the hands of readers, and observing the masters in the hope of learning a new trick or two.

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