I didn’t get the timing right. I know that now, and I can appreciate it as a learning experience, use it, benefit from it, write it on a Post-It note and stick it on my desk to forever remind me. But that still doesn’t make it any less of an irreversible, frustrating mistake.
What am I talking about?
Pre-release promotion. Apparently essential. And just another missed opportunity to check off the big list of missed opportunities when your début novel is already on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc. and you come across the first of many helpful online articles about how essential it is to promote your book … before your book is actually released.
If you’re familiar with the film Pumping Iron, you will remember the scene just before the climactic Mr Olympia showdown involving Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, when Arnold is involved in a (probably scripted but you’re never sure with Arnold) conversation with Lou and Lou’s father; Arnold is sympathising with them, pointing out that Ferrigno didn’t get the timing right. “A month from now would have been perfect for you.”
Well, a month before my publication date would probably have been the perfect time for me to start promoting, but at least I don’t have Arnold around to smugly explain this to me. Although, if he wants to request a free copy of Kissing The Scorpion (purely for review purposes, of course), he’s more than welcome to ask.
In the general scheme of things, does it matter that I missed the pre-release sweet-spot for publicising my début novel? Maybe not. I suspect that pre-release promotional activities for a début novel from an unknown author would attract the same amount of attention that the book itself has had during its first couple of weeks on Amazon. If you’re wondering how much that is, it’s not a heck of a lot.
What I’m finding more interesting than pointlessly cataloguing and regretting everything I’m doing wrong with my release and promotion strategy is the honest feedback I’m starting to get from people who have read, or are currently reading, Kissing The Scorpion. I don’t believe, as an author, that you can be fully confident that what you have written works on any level, let alone all the levels you convinced yourself it would work on during the years you spent writing it, until your readers tell you, honestly, that they’re being entertained by it. For me, with this novel, so far, that is what is happening and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews or contact me directly.
In the spirit of providing honest feedback and possibly some useful information for other first-time authors, I’ll post future blog entries about the levels of success I achieve with different promotional methods. The first one I’m trying will be a New Release Promotion due to appear on December 17th on Indie Author News. This is a promotion for books that have been available for no more than 3 months; it includes a book description, author bio and profile image, and it is shared on social media (Twitter, Google+, Facebook) for a couple of weeks. The article itself permanently stays on the Indie Author News website. I’ve read a selection of the existing articles and they generally look pretty good. I’ll be interested to see how this influences the sample downloads and sales of Kissing The Scorpion, but it’s more of an experiment than some kind of last resort straw-clutching exercise. I’m not crossing my fingers and hoping for a huge response, or any kind of a response, I just want to see what happens. If it works at all, I’ll do more with that site and I’ll post reports on this blog.
If you would like to contact me to request a review copy of Kissing The Scorpion, or ask me to link to your own blog or website, or just start a conversation, please use one of the contact methods on the Contact page on this site.