The Week #Thursday 13th August

Back to the theme ‘Get that book out there.’ So there you are, you’re waiting for your viral moment to happen – you have got on with the Facebook angle, that’s the big one, and done a bit on twitter, another good angle to work if you know the game although, as I said, for the majority of us twitter won’t do much as it is for those that already have a big following – if you haven’t got an audience or you don’t know somebody who does have an audience then you are shouting out in an empty room to be honest but still, no harm in having a presence. You will be on Amazon and almost all the places where your book actually can be hosted – but you might not have thought about Lulu.com, who do seem to help out new writers more than the others and if any of you guys read my stuff last week you will know that I highly recommend Lulu.

The guy who set it up is an author himself and they do seem to care a little bit more, give you real human support (I emailed with a problem uploading and a real person replied to me and sorted it!!!) They are willing to advertise new and aspiring writers more so than the others and it still taps in the big distributors – but gives you a better deal – so I get more on Amazon kindle if it is placed there by lulu.com than if I put it through kindle direct.  Amazon and the other big boys are not really helping independent authors. Look at Gone Girl as a prime example. That book has been at the top of Amazon’s best selling list for over eight months and that’s purely because there’s a big publishing company, Crown Publishing, behind Gone Girl who are willing to put money in to keep it there. If Amazon did the same for me then my book would sell amazingly well – but they don’t work like that, I don’t have the huge budget they want – you have to have big money to make big money and, let’s face it, Amazon is a hard-nosed business machine and no supporter of the writing world – if you’re British you know how devious Amazon is at the moment (cough taxbreaks!)

So, lulu.com is definitely a friendlier set up for the indie author. But you still have to work your local scene. Perhaps you can get on local radio or at least a plug, maybe your local paper will run a story on ‘local author’, become the lighter news that papers or radio shows use. One of the realities here is that the younger you are the easier it will be, just because it is more unusual whereas if you are doing this in your mid 30s or 40s then you are not so rare and you do need to be careful it doesn’t look like you’re a hobby writer. I know this view is wrong, hell, 87% of good writers only started writing in the late 30-40’s, after they sorted their lives out. But the reality is that unless you sell a ton of books, the local media don’t care about you guys and you need to find some kind of usp to get them interested.  For example, if you’re 15/16 and let’s say you’re male then local news outlets will love you for the novelty factor. I’m fairly certain you’re guaranteed some sort of attention, at this point I’m going to say, just use whatever leverage you have – you will need something which makes you stand out. My example of this is that I’m highly dyslexic so I’m doing something which the majority of dyslexic would run a mile from.  You need to show you’re not a typical writer – typical being the type picked up by publishers and they are usually white, well educated female under-grads or graduates attending a Redbrick university and are reading or have read English Literature and got, or online for, a 1st.

If you don’t fall into that category then it is tougher to get noticed – hence the need for something unique. However, word of warning here, don’t fully embrace your label and run into the street screaming about it, because you just antagonise and polarise people’s opinions of you and that can back fire. I believe a writer you should be known for their work first and foremost, more so than their political leanings or sexual orientation. Although saying that, it can come back to the point that there will always be someone who reads your stuff or listen to you and there is the chance that if you do polarise people’s opinions then it might work well with what your writing, just something to mull over.   That’s it for tonight; tomorrow I am going to focus on the use of reviewers and tactics to get a big hitter to like/follow you and how that can help your campaign.

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