And so the year ends, and what a year it has been for me in my writing career (I use that word very loosely). I have joined the e-book revolution, publishing my own books, and even buying a Kindle, and I have to say I've read more in the 4 weeks I've had my Kindle than I've done in a long time. I leave 2012 with a thousand or so people who know my name who did not know it this time last year, but alas that does not mean I can afford a mammoth turkey and all the trimmings because most of those downloads have been freebies. But I have learnt some valuable lessons which will be shaping how I do things in 2012, and these are;
1. Don't believe the hype about 'Kindle Millionaires'.
I think Santa Clause is more genuine than the likes of Amanda Hocking and her pals who 'without any effort' have sold millions of Kindle books. Think about it. How are you going to sell millions of books if no-one knows your name? Readers are unreliable, we all are. We download books, we start them, we discard them, promising ourselves we'll go back, then life gets in the way and you've forgotten about it. But miraculously, all the people who bought Ms Hocking's books, have faithfully finished them, shared them with friends who've also spread the word blah blah blah. I'm sorry to be cynical but I suspect Ms Hocking and her cohorts have agents guiding them in the right direction, thinking up clever marketing plans and making the world think they're more popular than they actually are and it starts a snowball effect. It's been going on in the music industry for years, 'indie' bands who rocket to the top of the chart, who at first seem cool and self-guided but in reality it turns out they are backed by a massive major label who have carefully orchestrated their image and they're actually about as indie as Take That. Without doubt, I have certainly sold more e-books that I ever had hard copies, but my only chance of ever becoming a millionaire is by finding an agent and publisher who will lavish thousands of pounds worth of marketing on me. Which brings me onto;
2. Just because an agent reads your whole manuscript, it doesn't mean they're going to like it.
I was so excited when an agent (I'm not naming names) twice requested my new novel 'Never Forget' (out April 2012 folks), firstly for one of her readers to puruse and secondly for the lady herself. I spent a couple of months boring my friends, without getting carried away with myself, secretly planning what I would do with an advance, should I get one. Only for her to send me an email saying she wouldn't be taking it on because apparently the dialogue wasn't authentic. It's gone to another agent who has kindly ignored me completely, so I've given up the ghost and I'm going to publish it myself. If you're wondering what it's about, it's about two women who meet on the Titanic as it's sinking, and one steals the other's baby and keeps him, bringing him up as her own, and the other woman sets about trying to get her son back.
3. Don't rely on Twitter
As an indie author you're told to use social networking to promote your work, and I say that that's a complete load of nonsense. Like in point 1, you need a band of loyal followers who will retweet your tweets and share your information with their followers and so on and so forth. This is no disrespect to any of my author friends on Twitter, but not one of them have ever retweeted anything about one of my books, except for the writer Mhairi Simpson (@AMhairiSimpson) who kindly retweeted a tweet I did about my UK book store. Other than that, nothing. As usual, the traditional pubbed authors all stick together, promoting each other and ignoring those of us who need a helping hand. My advice is use Twitter by all means, but don't expect it to make you famous, you still need to actually persuade people to read your books and I've yet to figure that one out (as a way of making money anyway).
So as you can see 2011 hasn't been entirely successful for me, there have been a lot of ups and downs and even now, I am toying with the idea of giving up writing. So much rejection does make you question your abilities, then again, I did do my birth chart the other day and it did say that because my house is in something or the other, I am likely to acheive success posthumously. So that's it, I'm going to become famous when I'm dead. Typical!!
Anyway, on that light note. I'd like to wish everyone a lovely Christmas and I hope for all my struggling author friends, 2012 brings them success. As soon as I discover the secret to being discovered, I will share it with you.