In this article, I take the time to reflect on my own book marketing experience over the last six months. What a steep learning curve — one that has taken me on a journey to a completely different stratosphere! I comment on the "highs" and "lows" of this journey and provide a reflective commentary.
Out Of The Dark (Book 1 of The Revenge Trilogy)
My journey is also outlined in my series on Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 1, 2, 3 & 4). This includes my own social media strategy related to agents/publishers, Amazon/KDP Select, designing your own website, YouTube videos, social media strategy (Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter) as well as building a consistent brand identity/personality/image and setting up my own Facebook Group — WriteStuff.
If you have not already done so and want to read these articles, they are on my blog or connect to Marshall Hughes on Scriggler:
Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 1)
Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 2)
Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 3)
Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 4)
Where do I begin? At the start, I suppose. Out with the development of the book, context, characters, story line, creative writing techniques, structure and editing process, my own personal journey started with the launch on Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I started writing the book in my own format to publish on KDP. However, through my own learning curve, I discovered Amazon Create Space (Print On Demand). There was never any doubt in my mind that I also wanted to publish the book, not only as an Ebook but also the printed version. This is not as simple as it sounds. The Amazon process (Print On Demand) is extremely rigorous AND the layout needs to be a specific format. Much to my dismay and delight, I downloaded an Amazon template and had to reformat the entire book which gives it such a professional outlay.
If you plan to use Amazon, download the Print On Demand version BEFORE you start to write your book! I can now use this template for Book 2/Book 3 of The Revenge Trilogy, safe in the knowledge that there will be no issues with the formatting, at least. I also have a secret weapon to speed up the editing process — Grammarly! I (well not just me, anyone who was willing and able to proofread my book) actually spent over a year editing the first book! So, if you have not already downloaded Grammarly, then it should be a priority for every writer, especially if you have a zero marketing budget (like me) to pay for professional proof readers and copy editors. My biggest mind block is hyphenated or non-hyphenated words! Is proofreader one word, two words or hyphenated? It's one word!!
I launched the first book in March 2016. The excitement did not last long! There were problems with the KDP upload because I used the Create Space template. The Kindle version needs to be saved as an HTML file and cannot have any page breaks related to a specific chapter, unlike the printed version. I also found some spelling mistakes. PANIC! EMBARRASSMENT! However, it is easy to edit your digital/print on demand book and does not take long for the changes to appear — although it is very time-consuming (another hyphenated word which I thought was two separate words!).
I feel this is my biggest achievement (out with completing my book). I enjoyed the creative process of designing my own website. I use WIX who also provide excellent templates. I pay for my own domain name (www.marshallhughes.co.uk). However, this is only £7 ($8.7) a month and definitely worth the money. It is a place where I can focus on my books, introduce the characters, provide sample chapters and provide links to all of my social media. And, I am using my blog more. Exciting! However, it is best viewed on a PC/laptop rather than a mobile phone.
I have discussed my social media strategy before so will not bore you too much with this section. What I would like to reinforce is the different use of these social spaces. Personally, I like to connect with people at a deeper, more fundamental level, but I do appreciate this is time-consuming! Therefore, I prefer to use my "official" Marshall Hughes Facebook page to connect with readers. I use my Facebook group, WriteStuff, to connect to other creative souls (writing, art, and photography) and use Twitter, the way that everyone else does — what a barrage of Tweets! Here is my quote of the day from the new Trainspotting movie:
"Choose Life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares."
Now this is a HIGH in amongst the LOWS. Because I have focused so much on my book marketing strategy and decided not to "Choose Life" over social media, my timescale for my next book is under serious pressure. I now have five months to write, edit and produce ten chapters for Book 2 of The Revenge Trilogy — Into The Light — due out in March 2017. I have written three chapters! However, the last few years of book "highs" and "lows" as well as learning my craft has given me a lot more confidence in my creative writing. And now, I have Grammarly (although it is a bit temperamental and decided not to work at the moment!) to help with the editing process. I will eventually download Grammarly Premium when I am ready to edit the second book for the final time. I am sure you get a "free" trial month! I try and avoid paying for any service unless it is absolutely necessary.
Into The Light (Book 2 of The Revenge Trilogy)
Here is one of my favourite excerpts from my second book to keep you company in my absence (I am away to try and finish it on time!):
"Dismissing the thought, I roll over and spoon into her back, caressing her soft skin with my fingers. The sensation of extreme pleasure is instantaneous as my body responds. The euphoric but abnormal sexual desire for this woman is disturbing. She is like a highly addictive narcotic drug derived from the milky, sap-like substance hidden inside the seedpods of the enchanting yet addictive opium poppy — such intoxicating beauty. She stirs, responding to my touch. I lose myself in our lovemaking, high from my drug-infused fix. For a while, we enjoy the feeling, not saying a word. Kristina is the first to break the silence." (Chapter 1: Judgement Day).
I hope my reflection helps in some kind of way. I am also at the early stages of learning, so feel free to comment or give advice. Happy reading/writing fellow Scrigglers.
P.S. If you want to read my Scriggler Author Spotlight — here is the link.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!