Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Alive! Now What?

This little guy knows fashion!
On Friday, June 17, 2011, at exactly 6:43 PM, "Creatura"was born into the world of literature. 

My "baby" is alive and kicking at the publisher's website and will soon be released into the online bookstore retail and ebook markets.  

I'm both thrilled and terrified of the thought of having my book criticized by people I don't know. Thrilled, because constructive criticism is how I learn best; Terrified, because of the negative criticism  that comes with self-publishing. Nevertheless, it's still a dream come true.

So, are you wondering if I've sold thousands of copies upon release? The answer is, "Heck No!" 

The publishing process was a tedious one, but trying to get someone to actually purchase one book takes a lot of hard work, time and effort. Through research, I found that even when a novel is traditionally published, the author has to have a marketing strategy in place. Agents do a lot of the promotional essentials for about the first six months of a book's life. Then, the author is on her own. Many signed and self-published authors hire publicists to do their campaigning. That's a luxury this starving artist can't afford.

I started off by announcing the availability of the novel through my social media networks as soon as I knew I was publishing my novel. After many congratulatory comments, I had to settle down and put my writing skills to work. 

My brother's Creatura t-shirt design
I got help from a friend in submitting press releases in order to gain some publicity through the Internet, even before I knew the book's release date. Thank goodness for sites that provide free press release distribution -  I'd be penniless, otherwise. I'm in the process of putting together an online contest - or contests - for free signed hardcover copies of the book, along with "Creatura" marketing products (ex: totes, shirts, pens, notebooks). Local book signings are a must, but, unfortunately, there are very few bookstores in the area where I live. But these are only baby steps in the promotional aspect. Free publicity is the Cat's Meow, but it won't get the job done.

I need to draw people to my website in order to endorse the product. This is where that rectangular piece of plastic in my pocket comes into play.

Online advertising is a crucial element in directing traffic to the product, but can get expensive at "pay per click" rates. I started campaigning through Google and Facebook and did get results; however, I'm pretty sure that out of the 550 people that have visited the site, only a handful actually took the time to navigate through it. Those people are probably the ones (practically, all from Facebook) that left the nice comments on the guestbook page. I love those guys!

  • Thanks to you too, if you visited, or are planning to visit my website

So, what are the probabilities that they'll return? Pretty low, unless they see the product and/or link popping up continuously and everywhere. There's no question that we are byproducts of marketing. 

What I have to do now is gain exposure with my target audiences. Somehow, I have to cross into the world of teenagers and adult (YA fantasy romance) readers via their optical fibers, without taking up a second mortgage on my house or going streaking across the country. 

I know I might not be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer (snaps and kudos to them), but I have confidence that readers will enjoy the story. And, as scared as I may be of the harsh words I may, or may not receive, I want to sell my book, because bad reviews are better than no reviews. 

On a final note, my coccyx is killing me from having been glued to my laptop for the past month and a half trying to make the world aware of the existence of "Creatura". I better cut the rambling, peel my butt off this chair, and start planning the launch party.  Toodles!