Digitally disheartened

What’s the toughest thing a self published author needs to do…? i.e. what’s the toughest part of self-publishing?

I am definitely not an authority on this matter, I’ve only published one book so far. So of course I couldn’t tell you for sure, but what I do know is that it’s not one of the following obvious options

  • coming up with an idea
  • the actual writing process

In my opinion, a writer is a storyteller -or should be- & wants to get his/her story out in the world. Often a writer is also creative with words, though grammar may not be their strongest asset.

Editing then maybe?
For editing it is advisable, no it’s a must to ask beta-readers and a separate editor to go through the manuscript. This can be a paid service or done by a fellow writer; both options are fine. So no, writing & editing, are not the toughest parts of being an author.

Then, what is?
It’s something I hadn’t given a single thought before publishing my debut novel Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. If you are a self-published author, or an indie author….or as a matter of fact just any author; then it’s the marketing of your book which is going to be the biggest challenge. It soaks up lots of your time; it probably drains you or drives you to despair. As I have come to understand, over the course of two years, even authors contracted by a publishing houses have to do quite a bit of ‘self promoting’.

On the verge of publishing my debut, I joined twitter and became a member of the writing community. That’s when I realised there are loads and loads and loads of people out there who love writing and want to publish their books. That’s when my naïve thoughts -of publishing a book that would be easily accessible to all who might be interested- were immediately crushed.

I realised that I wasn’t one of the few people who want to self-publish…..No, I was one of thousands!

So, upon joining twitter I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who shared my passion for writing and who’d published their book. I had found my community. By reading their tweets I saw others struggling with getting sales and strategies being shared of the best way to reach target audiences etc etc,

In a woodland of books, how can any reader find the book that resonates best with them?
How can a writer stand out in this crowd?
How do I reach my potential readers….
& all of this without being pushy….without being the door-to-door salesperson?

a puzzled self-published author

I started writing this blog almost a year ago, as can be seen from the dashboard graph below. I published Colours of a Cultural Chameleon on 28th November 2020. By September 2021 I was disheartened. My sales had plummeted and I didn’t know how to revive them. I wasn’t able to figure out how best to ‘market’ my book. I am a pantser not a plotter… and I figured this made me a miserable ‘online salesperson’. I still haven’t found the right keys nor the route that’s gonna help me target the right audience….make sure readers -who would be interested in reading this coming of age travel book- actually find the book. For them to know of its existence.

Then in Jan of this year I saw a spike in online page reads and I got exited. Readers had found my book! I was thrilled when I even received responses from people who’d read it, some even left reviews. Each review I read makes me happy.
The reviews are 4 and 5 stars (one 3 star; who thought the MC very likeable, but she just wanted more book…….am working on it….Work In Progress).

Digitally I was (and am still) disheartened. I still need to find the right way of reaching my target audience – readers of Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. I’m in it for the long run….it’s a marathon, not a quick win.

When readers get back to me and tell me what they enjoyed about the book, I know why I want to write my stories. I know they’re appreciated, they resonate, they transport people to different places across the globe. That’s what it’s about: the ones who’ve read it, enjoyed it. One of the things about the book that most of the reviews touch upon is this

….Kamala’s accounts and descriptions of the places she visits are vivid and wonderful I almost feel like I’ve been to those places myself….

Catherine Morrison,
author of ‘The Hook’ & “waiting for Saturday’

In my next blog more on how I plan to reach out to my target audience …

Published by shakti

Author of Colours of a Cultural Chameleon. Kindle & paperback available on Amazon

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