Today I received the wonderful news that I have been selected as one of the five nominees for the Farthest Reach Award 2012. I am very honored to be included in the very talented company of authors EdenBaylee, Jeremy C. Shipp, Kristen Lamb, and the Indie Book Collective.
The Farthest Reach Award 2012 recognizes excellence in book marketing. The award is presented to individuals, groups or teams who have made outstanding ‘on-the-ground’ contributions to the sector of book marketing and publishing, either through mass efforts that have benefited the entire segment or particular to their own writing and sales goals.
Look here and on Jason’s site for more news about the final award selection next year.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I was just relieved my book would finally see the light of day after 12 years of being afraid to show it to anyone. For those who don’t know the story, I launched the first six chapters of my novel on my blog starting in May 2010, and a few months later I was offered a book contract by Lazy Day Publishing, which was a new digital publisher launching its company in December 2010.
Despite my happiness at finally being published, I naturally expected the worst. And initially anyway, my worst fears were realized as my first two reviews were awful, hit piece attacks by those who completely misunderstood what I was trying to achieve with my novel — an honest and frank look at sex, monogamy and the swinging lifestyle from a an unflinching male point of view.
Even with supportive words from my publisher, telling not to worry about the reviews or to take them personally, I despaired and wondered about the future prospects for my book and my writing career as I had many books planned.
Yet I took my critical lumps, persevered and kept promoting my book on Twitter, Facebook and in the mainstream media. Slowly but surely, I began to find support among my fellow authors on Twitter and ultimately enthusiastic readers — even among women, which I did not expect.
My novel is doing phenomenally well on Amazon Kindle considering its controversial title, explicit erotic content, and its frank real life erotica approach. MONOGAMY SUCKS is consistently ranked around 50K out of 800K e-books on Kindle. So much for the notion of books have a short shelf life in this digital age.
I have learned some valuable lessons in this past year that I wanted to share.
AMAZON IS KING: I am convinced now that securing Amazon Kindle reviews is crucial to driving sales and building up an audience for your book. We all know word of mouth is everything in trying convince readers to take a chance on your writing. Amazon provides a very simple way for readers to leave reviews and for potential readers to check out what other people thought about your book. Once I built up my reviews for MONOGAMY SUCKS, I found it much easier to find new readers.
SUCCESS OF YOUR BOOK IS UP TO YOU: Book promotion is your most important job next to writing. How do you expect anyone to read your book if you don’t tell them about it? Learn all you can from those who know about book promotion and reach out to your fellow authors on Twitter and Facebook for advice. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. You wrote a book to have readers didn’t you?
TWITTER IS A WRITER’S BEST FRIEND: If you are an author or an aspiring writer, you must use Twitter to promote your book, and reach out of other writers. I found an incredibly supportive writing community on Twitter. In addition, creatively tweet about info and links about your book several times a day if you can. Also tweet out parts of your novel using the #novelines hashtag. It gives potential readers a taste of your novel before buying it. Also realize the importance of hashtags in reaching out to specific #writing #communities that appeal to #authors and #readers. I have found Twitter a lot more helpful that Facebook in finding new readers, but you must have a presence on both.
FREE IS NOT ALWAYS GOOD: My apologies to Wired Magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, but FREE is not always the best price for your book. I know all the arguments in favor of giving away your book for free, but frankly I just don’t buy it. An occasional book give away is fine, but distributing large quantities of your book for free is not an effective way to find new readers. I am exempting book bloggers and reviewers from this since they will in fact review your book at some point. Most of those I gave my book away to never even bothered to read it let alone review it.
I discovered the hard way that those who actually bought my book — particularly on Amazon — were more inclined to read it and post reviews. I believe they valued my book because they actually invested in it — both with time and money. I know again some may not agree, but that has been my experience.
BELIEVE IN YOUR BOOK AND WRITING OR NO ONE ELSE WILL: Don’t be your own worst enemy. Putting down your writing and not believing in your work is a real turn off for potential readers. If you don’t have confidence in your work why should anyone else?
And I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but be ready to stand up for your books and writing when you have been unfairly attacked. Sure, you shouldn’t take bad reviews personally, but you don’t have to stay silent while someone trashes your book. A reasoned, calm and intelligent response to your critics will only make you appear like a writer people should be reading and offers a thoughtful counterpoint to the bad review. But that being said — an angry and defensive response to criticism will hurt you and your book and will give a bad review more credence than it may deserve.
DON’T GET OBSESSED WITH BOOK SALES AND RANKINGS: This is easier said than done as an author’s success and value is judged to a large part by book sales. But reaching readers — any readers — with your book is a success in and of itself separate from monetary gain. It why we write in the first place, isn’t it? Building a readership takes time. Thousands of books are released every day so don’t get discouraged. The advent of e-books and the Internet gives authors more access to get their work out than ever before. Take advantage of it.
HAVE FUN: It may seem scary at times to have your innermost thoughts, creations and writing out there for all the world to see, but it is also very rewarding when readers understand your vision and embrace your book. Being an author doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. It can also be one highlighted by inspiration and joy in the knowledge that you are reaching others through your words.
This past year has inspired me in so many ways and has made me more determined than ever to get more of my work out there. What a wonderful, intriguing and educational ride it has been so far.
I am very thankful for every reader I have. Truly.
Monogamy sucks — at least it does for me — but being an author never does.
I can think of no other job I’d rather have.
- @jojojojude thx sweet friend for all of yr wonderful support...yr RTs and favs are so appreciated....hope ur doing well... 57 minutes ago
- RT @Poetic4Play: "@GPWriter: yr wetness...is the most delicious river...ocean....adventure....I ache to explore on this earth... #poems" 58 minutes ago
- soul..stripped...talent abused...empty, uninspiring ventures...passionless, spirit draining ppl... ahhh...just another work day #poems 1 hour ago
- The little voice in my head...says fuck...and fuck...and fuck some more...sigh...I should listen to that voice more often #life #poems 1 hour ago
- we all have to walk thru that heartbreaking fire sometime ....but u can get to the other side....and end up in a better place...#poems 1 hour ago
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