Good for you! No, really. It’s bloody hard work!
Whenever anyone asks me how long it took me to write a book, I ask them to imagine how long it would take merely to type 80,000 random words – and that’s without even paining yourself over each one.
I started writing DeadStar back in autumn 2019 and finished the first draft on David Bowie’s birthday in 2020 (that’s January 8, for any heathens out there who don’t know). I wrote it fast! Admittedly the first draft came in at… so long ago now, I forget! Around 60,000 words, possibly a little less. Humour books, I told myself, are better off short. Get in, make ’em laugh, get out quick. Leave them with watered eyes.
It’s now February 2022 and DeadStar (now 78,000 words) launched on 25 January. So what happened in between?
That’s what this new blog is all about – and more!
I actually had no intention of writing a blog, when I built this website. It’s tough enough and tedious enough trying to find content for social media, in the lead-up to a launch, when you’re desperately trying to draw in strangers (book-buyers… no, that’s not right… people who want to read and buy your very specific book).
I’m not expert book marketer, and lord knows, there are already enough of them out there. But I realised, I’ve done all this myself – from writing the thing, to designing the cover, writing the blurb (oh, the fun that is!), setting up Amazon Ads… I even wrote and sang the bloody theme tune! Really. I literally did. I did it my way. And I made loads of mistakes, even following (and ignoring) expert advice. So I have experience. Author experience.
Ands that’s a valuable thing to impart.
So follow me on this journey as we work out – or rather fashion a haphazard route towards discovering – what to do and what not to do. In return for these pearls of wisdom, I ask, please, that you join my mailing list (right). I do have another book in the pipeline. It’s at the very start of the pipe, admittedly, but it’s there.
If you think you’ve got it all sussed, consider this:
Launching DeadStar, all by myself, no publisher doing everything this time, was incredibly exciting. I was in charge, I was in control. If I wanted it done, I could do it. I knew precisely what marketing activity was going on. I went out all guns blazing.
On launch day, I sold ten copies. Ten. That’s to friends, obviously, since no one else – or precious few – realise this book exists. (I know the numbers because it’s all there on Amazon, my only outlet as a self-published author.)
The next day? None.
The day after that? None.
And the day after that? None.
I was advertising on Amazon, bear in mind. I’d honestly foreseen a gradual but noticeable uptake. I knew it’d be tough. But I was selling: none.
A week later, I’m appearing as the #1 Hot New Releases in Punk Musician Biographies, #2 in Punk Musician Biographies Best Sellers and #1 in Hot New Releases in Pop Musician Biographies. So what changed? (Let’s not get carried away. While fab, in terms of copies sold it’s a wee in the ocean. But it’s that rare commodity in self-publishing: hope.)
I’m going to tell you. I’ll also share all my numbers with you, which is indiscreet but you can’t tell this story properly without grim honesty.
But I’m going to start at the beginning. Watch this Blog space…