The frenzy of Christmas is upon us. The Black Friday, White Monday and sky-blue pink excuse to shove sale items at you in a desperate attempt to take your money from you instead of it going to another retailer made me thoroughly sick.
Surviving the frenzy of Christmas
I realised a few years ago that this is not the time for a self-pubbed author with a limited appeal in the commercial market to spend money promoting their books. There is no point in trying to compete with the millions spent on promoting all the latest blockbusters that have been released in the last few weeks. I also have issues with giving books as presents, unless they are already on people’s wish-lists, as you’ll find out in my guest post on the Story Reading Ape’s website this coming Sunday [I’ll add the link 10th Dec].
For the same reason, I decided against launching my books after October – The Traveler in Black and White was put out in November to coincide with Hugo’s birthday, but that was when I first realised it was a bad idea. This present-giving season impacts the launch of books in the new year, too. There is a slew scheduled to launch in the first couple of weeks of January. Doubtless they hope to cash in on the purchase or gifting of new iPads, Kindle Fires and readable watches, or whatever.
The trouble is, if you follow the advice to build up to the launch of your new book, you are bound to hit some time when you are advised not to do it – or else you find yourself publishing at the same time as all your buddies. If you do that, each of your is trying to support the other on their blogs and social media at the same time, too. I’m hoping The Princelings of the North should be on the tail of the rush in January. Maybe that will work.
If you’d like to help me promote the launch of the new book at the end of January, please check the details here.
Christmas gift events
The big opportunity for a self-pubbed author is to take your books along to Christmas gift events. To my mind, these are the best thing (short of book fairs, which don’t happen anywhere near me) to get yourself in front of potential readers. I missed our village craft fair this year. Despite doing some research on others, failed to find one that didn’t clash with other engagements.
The children were year 7s, so about 11 years old, very polite and mostly interested. That’s not bad in a group of 90 students! I need to find a better excerpt to read – maybe even from book 2, which features the pirate adventures. They asked questions ranging from ‘do I use any writing software, like Scrivener,’ to ‘what’s the next book about’. We also discussed writing about one’s pets: I sprinkled the slides with pictures of the guinea pigs who inspired my characters.
They bought a surprising (to me) number of books afterwards. To put this in context, I was one of four authors visiting the school that week. I suppose I was the only one this year group saw.
Several bought three books in my extremely generous 3 for 2 offer. They had at least had an introduction to them. I still worry about the reaction of one young lady at Christmas a couple of years ago. She received all six (then) of my Princelings series from her aunt, who bought them at the Christmas fair. Have I made a fan or an enemy for life?
Anyway, make the most of your frenzy of Christmas. Don’t go mad trying to keep up with the people next door. Remember that love and friendship is what it’s really about. Avoid the latest profit-making gadget made with resources mined from a precious rainforest.
Answer the question
The IWSG prompt this month was:
As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?
There’s only one thing I’d do differently. Put the team for the semi-final of the big knock-out golf competition out in a different order. (We lost). Everything else I’d do exactly the same. Okay, maybe I’d try to get to bed nearer bedtime, and edit my books more efficiently.
How about you?
Thank you IWSG
I’m really grateful to everyone who organises this wonderful monthly blog-hop and support group, and to all the other things you do to help us write more, better and more effectively, throughout the year. Thank you!