The Travails of Book Marketing

It is nineteen days post-publication of Bored to Death in the Baltics and to say I’m completely fed up and disillusioned with trying to get sales would be an understatement.

There are, I have decided, several reasons for this.

Firstly, it is Book 2, not Book 1. Two years ago, I was so surprised and yes, even excited, that I was about to become a published author, published to boot by a “proper” publisher, albeit a publisher with even less money than me to spend on marketing, that I did what I could to publicise it as early as I could: went on the radio, did a couple of live interviews, got in all the local rags, trawled around all the local bookshops and so on. And the reason I did all that? Because I had the possibly insane hope that the book might “take off”, be discovered, sell in the tens of thousands etc etc. After all, worse authors than me have become millionaires through their books, mentioning no names, Dan Brown and Jeffrey Archer (other crap authors are available).

Now, two years on, I’m older (even older, I know) and wiser (although not in most respects) and no longer hold even the glimmer of hope that either A Very Important Teapot or Bored to Death in the Baltics (Amazon sales of the latter currently hovering menacingly around the 2 mark by my estimation) will sell in any numbers. I’m not going to get rich – hey, I’m probably ever going to break even. And whilst I’ve done a lot of what I did the first time, I left it later and attacked the grisly task with less oomph, and you reap what you sew.

And I certainly won’t break even or (haha) turn a profit, if I throw a few more hundred quid into the bottomless pit by attempting to scrape together a few extra reviews that most people admit don’t  result in extra actual book sales (blog tours anyone?). Or spend a grand on turning Teapot into an audiobook (how many would I need to sell to break even on that? A couple of hundred? Aint gonna happen).

No, I’ll just get myself settled (I’m currently moving nearer my roots after a quarter of a century in Oxfordshire) and go back to writing for me. I may or may not have any more books published, either by Claret or myself. If I can finish a Dawson & Lucy #3 which is as good as #s 1 and 2, then yes, why not, although with expectations hammered firmly into the ground.

Or I might try my hand at doing it myself. I have a well-hidden standalone book called Lazytown which, with a bit of (self) editing – I can’t afford a professional editing job which would (a) just annoy me and (b) uncover no more issues than I am confident I can now find myself – may well be funny enough to get out there.

But making money? Forget it. There are just too many existing guaranteed best-selling (proper) authors and “talented” so-called celebrity (not proper) authors out there taking up the shelf space. It was ever thus and will ever remain thus whilst I’m still living and breathing.