It’s been a year and change since I started my self-publishing career. In the course of getting my two books (so far–another is planned for November) into print, I’ve learned a few things. Strangely enough, they all have something to do with giving.
You must give in order to receive.
Reviews, that is. Trying to get book bloggers to review your work feels uncomfortably like sending query after fruitless query to literary agents. No small part of my motivation in self-publishing was to see such things only in the rear view mirror (like Lubbock, Texas) and thus find happiness. But it’s true that otherwise, nobody gives you a review unless you invest some time and write one first.
Well, not completely true–I have gotten exactly one unsolicited review between my two books. It was only 3 stars, but hey–that means there is at least one casual reader out there who thinks my work is not completely worthless, and what’s more, is willing to say so.
Also, on the plus side, reviewing has introduced me to some great authors whose works I intend to keep following.
Sometimes you can give it away, but should you?
I’m seriously considering not doing any more Goodreads giveaways–the one I did this year attracted quite a few entries, but garnered zero reviews and even zero ratings from the readers who wound up with copies. It did result in a couple of copies showing up for sale used, which makes me feel like I’ve arrived, in a sense. But the real payoff is that, without a giveaway, I don’t even need to put the time into preparing a print edition. 95% of my sales have been e-books, anyway.
Don’t give up.
In accordance with the soon-to-be-infamous Rule #4 in my upcoming book, Father Winter, there are no guarantees. So, chances are that fame and fortune will take their own sweet time to materialize. After all, they have eternity. And there will inevitably be a lot more of those times when discouragement sets in, and I feel like taking my marbles and going home.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve already lost all my marbles. And this is home.