Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire

I’m back from spending a week in the woods with a bunch of teenagers. I tweeted a bit about the experience and did my best to keep in touch between fading cell tower signals and an overloaded wi-fi signal near the not-so-aptly-named “dining” hall:

Due to the connectivity issues, my brief post last week celebrating another wonderful review for Crimson Son took roughly three hours to edit, upload and share. So now I’m enjoying the comforts of a wired life.

Mostly.

Despite the fact that it was nearly a hundred degrees under a cloudless sky everyday, and despite the dust, sunscreen, bug spray (a natural alternative that doubled as a marinade), bizarre camp food, and lying in a pool of sweat well after the late summer sun had set, I enjoyed the time away. Enjoyed it only to come back to lagging book sales and an overflowing inbox. So it was back into the marketing fires. The forges where bestselling books are made.

Like most writers, I’m a bit of an introvert. I don’t have any social hang ups or anxieties when it comes to dealing with people, but I find talking about myself difficult. Yet here I am, selling “me” to the world. An author, a platform. Constantly in a search of the right angle. At this point, it is all about trial and error.

Sure, the old “just be yourself” maxim is supposed to hold true here. But also like most writers (or people), I’m a messy, complicated person. This does not typically make for good marketing. I’m also a bit cantankerous (Approaching 40 and living in Texas, I can freely use the word ‘cantankerous’). The things that first come to my mind aren’t necessarily the things I need to be Tweeting and Facebooking and Blogging.

I would prefer my work to speak for me, but in order for that to happen, people need to read it. For that to happen, they have to be able to find it. Thus all my shouting.

And people are slowly finding out about Crimson Son. I’ve gotten several great reviews and thoughtful comments on Crimson Son and I’m always bothering people for more, glowing or not. So far, Goodreads is my leader on reader ratings and I’m grateful for every single one.

Speaking of Goodreads and trial / error, I have a sidebar ad running there. The click-thru rates were horrible, but after experimenting with the text, I managed to make a dramatic reversal. From less than one per day, I went to seven simply by removing the “review” quotes and replacing it with one of the tightest blurbs I’ve made for the book yet. Words are important. I should know this but copywriting is a far cry from writing a novel.

On the error front, Goodreads had to stop me from recommending Crimson Son to someone – I realize when an artificial intelligence is having to police your posts, you may have pushed things a bit far. Too be fair, I’d never tried to do this before. I only attempted it after reading the person’s profile and being struck with the idea she would probably enjoy my book.

I also shamelessly added myself to the Goodreads Superhero Fiction List which I then enlisted my Facebook followers to vote for. (I then made it part of a blog post with links…nudge…nudge.) No idea where that will take me but that page comes up pretty high on Google Search for superhero novels. Anything is worth a try.

What I’m getting at is I’m stumbling my way through this selling myself stuff the best I can. If I could hole up in a wilderness cabin and once a week drive down to the local Starbucks and upload my writing, I’d be good with that. The reality is, for this writing life to work, you have to light a fire or two every single day. Luckily, I know quite a few ways to do just that. I mean, I did just get back from a Boy Scout camp…

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