Wednesday, 2 December 2015
IWSG: Promotional Burnout.
It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex.
As I just released my fifth book of the year, my eighth title on shelves, it'll probably come as no surprise that my main insecurity is about marketing/promotion.
Word of advice: if you want to feel really terrible about your attempts at promotion, use trackable links so you can tell how many people haven't clicked on them... Suffice to say, after almost three years flailing around in the promotional waters, I've decided to default to a bare-minimum effort to keep my brain from leaking out my ears. It's enough to balance writing, freelancing and emails (which are a whole extra job in themselves), without adding on costly and frustrating promotion that, well, doesn't work. I have eight books coming out next year, and if I want to get any writing done at all, I'll have to cut down on marketing. It's got to the point where I'm watching the same promotional method crash and burn for the fifth time in a row and I'm wondering... why.
There's this constant anxiety that you always need to be doing something to promote. I fell into that trap. Especially when people whose judgement I (unwisely) trusted started guilt-tripping me for not trying hard enough. After I'd invested thousands of hours and god-knows-how-much money into every promotional method under the sun, most of which actually worked for other authors. My publishing journey has been a long trail of bad and costly decisions, but it makes it hard to know when to stop. Maybe if I tried this, or this, or spent yet more money on that... but it's never enough. It's like the lottery -- which I'd probably have more luck with! At this point, I have to step away.
I can't really overstate how much of a factor luck is in getting noticed. It's just the way it is. But it does mean I'll be making a few drastic changes next year -- rebranding, rearranging my release schedule according to popularity, and shelving non-commercial ideas. I wish I didn't have to, but I'm already burned out on promotion. I don't want to burn out on writing, too. I'm happier when I'm writing and not thinking about the aftermath, but I'm too damn stubborn to stop hoping the next book might be a hit. Or the next. Or the next...