I’m not directly marketing my books anymore. Sure, I sell some, and I’d love to sell more, but I no longer try. In my opinion, the Great Internet experiment is over. Twitter marketing does nothing but fill up other authors’ streams with retweeted book notices that no one reads. Facebook is pretty much as useless. In fact, the single way I’ve reached people in order to convince them to try my books, is via interacting with them. Which is ironic, because I’m never trying to get them to read my books when I interact; I’m mainly just killing boredom.
I suppose the old ways would still work — book signings, book clubs, interviews, and the like — but I don’t do any of those things. With a full-time career, it isn’t likely I ever will. Instead, I just focus on writing for myself and occasional photography. Either they will eventually sell, or they won’t. Whatever God brings is what will be.
In the meanwhile, I’ve gotten unsolicited feedback on my next book idea. (In my experience, 90% of unsolicited feedback is negative.) It didn’t bother me; naysaying never does, in truth. Still, I haven’t started writing it, mainly because I don’t see people buying and reading books. That’s because, like me, no one I’ve met seems to have a clue how to market. The old ways don’t work because the old distribution channels no longer exist.
My sci-fi novel, Hard as Roxx, is in limbo. I have someone “editing” it, but I’ve gotten 11 chapters since November. My impression is it’s a book the editor thinks is well-written, but he doesn’t like it. I’ve done editing for years. It doesn’t take long to edit something you enjoy reading. So, I have the edited chapters, along with notes from my beta reader. Maybe I’ll eventually start working on it. Or not.
After all, not everyone can deal with a science fiction book starring two women – a single mom with a lesbian best friend with a serious crush. I have no intention of changing out the characters to make the love interest a guy. It was originally going to be a guy, but Trint (the best friend) had better chemistry.
I think what I’ve learned is not to care that what I write isn’t “commercial.” Frankly, most of the books critics have raved over have bored the crap out of me. For instance, I’m reading Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk now, after reading rave reviews. It’s well-written. I’ve liked two or three chapters. Still, I spend every other chapter aware that I’m reading a book someone decided should be the Iraq War’s Catch 22. Maybe this is the book he wrote in his office on his laptop, but I just don’t know. It feels … polished. Polished books try too damn hard, and this does too. (Except for my favorite line in the book: “Oh for the fuck of shit.” That was perfect, in its context.”) The story takes place during the Iraq war and yet I’ve read the word “honky” at least twice. The last time I heard that word, George Jefferson was yelling at that guy from Sesame Street who lived next door.
Me? I would have just written the story and let it be what it be. But I’m not marketable. Every week, I rise, and I remind myself that Van Gogh used to be not very good and not at all marketable. If I have to improve in one area, it sure as fuck won’t be in marketing.