If you have visited this blog for any length of time, you will have noticed the title – The Long Hard Road.
I had no idea where that road was taking me when I started out in September 2011. I had written a book and had sold most of the paperbacks I had had printed. I was advised to set up a website in order to sell the remainder and use the blog and Twitter to generate sales of the kindle version. This exercise cost me an initial layout of around £300 or perhaps a little less than $500, if you are from the other side of the pond.
Almost four years later, I am about to publish my sixth book.
“Gold, Silver and Bombs’ will be the second title in my ‘Phoenix’ trilogy.
“Nothing Is Ever Forever” the final book will be written in the autumn/fall and will appear over the holiday period, as we enter 2016.
What have I learned in almost four years? There are undoubtedly a lot of positives. In the first year I amassed a lot of Twitter followers. I learned that some of them were to become good friends, some were only looking to make money out of me, and some were a**holes.
Using that knowledge, I embarked on a new project. I wrote my first piece of fiction. The followers increased, I made more friends, a different breed of vulture arrived on my doorstep, but I didn’t let them stay long, and the percentage of a**holes decreased.
The writing has improved. That has been a positive. As the project has progressed, each successive book has been a better piece of work.
As I learned to spot the ‘good guys’ among the people who really wanted to help, rather than just screw me for as much as I was prepared to part with, I found that the ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of my followers improved.
One thing that never seemed to improve in those first three years though was the number of books I actually sold. Clearly I was doing something wrong.
This past year has been a year of constant change. I started working with BooksGoSocial last June and nearly everything I had been doing previously has either been thrown out, or amended to the point where it’s unrecognisable from my initial digital footprint four years ago.
New initiatives were installed. The blog was overhauled. Every element of my Author Page and Title Pages on Amazon was analysed and amended. I received hundreds of retweets every month, which increased my reach on Twitter from 100k to 500k. The way I tweeted, when I tweeted and how I targeted those tweets with hash tags; anything and everything that might stimulate interest in my books was given a fresh coat of paint.
This blog chapter HAS to be about the books, no homely fireside chats any longer. I was invited to join sites like Instagram, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and several more. All of them could be potential conduits to direct readers to my books. The only thing holding me back from pursuing these is TIME, but I will try at least a couple of them out.
One year into the association and an awful lot has changed. The blog gets five times the visitors it did. The followers are still over 100k and the proportion of writers/reviewers/readers is far healthier. My friends are still with me and their numbers are growing. The a**holes are in retreat.
The reviews of my own books are still not as numerous as I would wish, even if they’re still mostly very good, but my reviews of other people’s books are being well received and proving helpful. They are another element that gets my name out there and more visible. My Goodreads friend count is almost 500 compared to 65 a year ago.
This long hard road might not have a happy ending. Despite all my best efforts, and those of BooksGoSocial, those sales are still not improving.
I cannot and will not throw money at the problem. My plan for the next twelve months is to complete the trilogy, continue with the reviews, pursue as many of the initiatives that BooksGoSocial offer, that I can afford and let the fates decide.
As The Phoenix is the driving force behind everything I’m working on, then I have revised the cover for ‘The Olympus Project’. In time you will see the next 2 books appear and the covers will feature the same image, with only the title and the number in the series altered. It’s a bold move, but if it establishes The Phoenix in the reader’s mind, then it may pay off.
It’s a Leap of Faith.
I’ll be back in two weeks, with the latest news on ‘Gold, Silver and Bombs”
I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.
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