Well, it has been about three weeks since Weed and Shorts appeared in the online shops as ebooks to no fanfare at all apart from a bit of parping by me getting over the celebratory hangover.
I have been grinding out the press releases and sprucing up the site in the hope of raising a shadow of interest while fending off this mounting sensation of futility with a bottle. More than one bottle.
It’s gratifying to have Weed out there after so many years of muddle and inactivity but promoting it presents a challenge I had not thought through very well. How to connect with the people who might like it? And who are the people I want to connect with anyway? I mean, who are the Weed readers? Who are they really?
I read up on how to promote your publication online and in short it went:
- have a blog (done that; tick)
- use Facebook (tick)
- use Twitter (tick)
- optimise your web site (yawn tick)
- wave a digital magic wand and watch the punters roll in (waft waft tick)
All this promote-yourself stuff is written by glib nonentities, and the efficacy of their advice is measured by the fact that they are nonentities.
For example, the how-to on marketing yourself on Facebook goes:
- get a Facebook account
- friend all your friends who also have Facebook accounts
- say how much you like your friend’s profiles, individually — it gets you noticed!
- make friends with total strangers if you feel up to it
A lot of the advice is full of typos and grammatical errors and is sometimes so cursory that I think it is hacked out by freelancers in the Philippines or India at one dollar per essay (I know this happens because I am a member of a freelancer site through which such writers are recruited at exactly those rates).
On Facebook, I can potentially reach perhaps 200 people through my friends, most of whom I would rather gift the book than see them pay. While I cannot speak for the tastes of my friends, even cyber friends, I suspect that Weed would not appeal to most of these people. Twitter reaches about 30 people, some of whom are not actually real.
If any reader (hi!) has any real advice about using Facebook, please let me know. I am a complete Facebook novice and am open to any suggestions.
I notice that unpublished British writer Rebecca Woodhead has thousands of followers on Twitter and is the subject of regular warm and cuddly comments from Steven Fry. How does she do that when she hasn’t published an actual book yet? She is held up to be a model of how online self-promotion for writers can work, but I honestly cannot see what she is doing that I’m not (except in being more prolific in her blogging and Tweeting). Well, she is charming and endearing, doesn’t swear, doesn’t rant about destroying capitalism in general and the publishing industry in particular, and is considerably better looking than me, so perhaps I should find clues there.
Having moaned so emphatically, there are many more things I can be getting on with to push the writing, and more importantly, there are many more stories I am itching to get on with.
If any reader out there has a site and would be prepared to link to http://www.psipook.com in exchange for a reciprocal link, please let me know and we can mutually raise our profiles in search rankings. If you know of any online communities or e-zines whose readers might like to hear about Weed, please let me know.
And in the meantime, pity me for the style sheet for Trouserpress has gone missing rendering it a visual mess (another contrast to Ms. Woodhead) and fixing it is just one more of a million tasks I need to attend to. (Cue visit to bottle).
And for the sake of search engine visibility, I must add the following sentence: the fab ebooks I am referring to here are of course Weed and Shorts by Chris Page
Music: Drone Zone from SomaFM
Reading: Cocaine Nights, JG Ballard