Hi! How long has it been? About sixteen years? Possibly. I run several blogs, and I haven’t updated any of them in quite a while. There’s probably a reason for it, so let’s just say I was writing a novel.
You see, many many years ago, saying that about yourself might have seemed awesome and special. And, if you weren’t just writing a novel, and you’d actually COMPLETED one, then you were in a whole different area of special. Because anyone can claim to be writing one. Slapping the entire thing on the table is a whole different kettle of metaphors. But not anymore. According to recent statistics, over 86% of people have written a novel and published it on the Kindle. It has overtaken ‘modelling’ as the thing unemployed people claim most to be doing with their lives, while they’ve actually just been masturbating, or picking lint from their bellybuttons. Literally anyone can write a novel. Even blind people who have no hands.
So, what makes me special? Nothing at all. I’d like to say ‘Ooh! But I can actually write!’ That’s just a matter of opinion though, isn’t it? I swear to God, I look around at my peers in the world of self-publishing and see the most atrocious crap that happens to be selling thousands, if not tens of thousands of copies. Being good at writing books means as little as being good at writing music. That’s not what makes you successful. You’ve got to write catchy songs to be successful, and it’s the same with books.
You’ve got to give a customer the fewest reasons to Not Buy The Book possible. That’s the trick. And I’m not sure I know that trick yet. You need to find a niche, if you’re going to write niche books, or make it broad, if you want to write broad books. You need to be able to sell the book with a nice blurb that hooks them in. You need to have a cover that catches their eye. And you need to whore yourself without any shame whatsoever. Of those things, the cover bit is probably the one I’m any good at. I designed both of mine from scratch, and I like them very much. The whoring is more difficult. You know those people who stop you in the street to ask you to support a charity, with their bright, cheery faces and never-ending optimism? I hate those people. And, like any hate, it’s down to jealousy. I just couldn’t do that; I am too self aware. I can’t ignore the fact that I am annoying people. This is also why I failed at telesales.
The blurb thing is also tricky. No matter how good the writing or story might be, your blurb has to be written in The Language of Cheese, to the point of mortification, in order to hook the most customer-shaped fish. It never looks clever. In fact, the only clever thing about it, is probably the bit where you successfully hide the parts of the book which would give the aforementioned customerfish some reasons To Not Buy The Book. Otherwise, you’re talking Michael Bay movie taglines.
So, if you don’t like whoring yourself on the internet, and you struggle to write blurbs (or indeed a synopsis for potential agents), the only real way of promoting your book is to write one that’s so good, people can’t help but tell their friends about it. And, even then, most people won’t be arsed. It’s like Amazon reviews. My first book has a whole bunch of reviews with are lovely and complimentary, but you’re still talking one review for every hundred or so books sold (if you’re lucky). If your book has amazing, wordy testaments, the less literary feel intimidated and don’t feel like contributing their own. Also, if your book has only got good reviews, the customer is going to think that something is up. How many piece of shit crap self-published novels have I seen with 100 five star reviews? A lot. I go straight to the one star ones on a book like that, because they are the ONLY ones that are going to be true. Most of the rest of them smell far too much like the author, the author’s author friends, and the author’s mother, Sylvia.
What am I actually saying? Probably that you should buy my book, because it’s a great read, it’s a page turner, it won’t tax your brain, and the ending will make you punch the air in triumph. That is about as far as I’m going to go with the shameless self-promotion, and I already feel dirty.
Go read the sample, and see if you don’t love it.