Prepping for Santa

As is apparently normal for me when I stop writing and start reading self-publishing blogs, I'm feeling deluged with marketing ideas. And of course they stress me out, and then I tell myself that the BEST way to market is to stop fiddling and reading blogs, and to write the next book! But then I feel like I would say that to myself whether it was true or not.

In any case, I do think it makes sense to prep for the post-holiday e-book shopping season (that we all hope will happen in 2012 like it did in year is a pattern, right?), so I've tweaked the descriptions for Trang some more. Back before I got freaked out, I told the proofreader to take his own sweet time with Trang, and now of course I'm wishing I hadn't done that (he says he'll have it done this week). I updated the e-book interiors with little corrections that I and my sister found, as well as changing the interior covers, so even if he turns out to be a major flake, at least they will be slightly more polished. I've joined Goodreads, as I mentioned, and I've also joined Shelfari and Library Thing--you can RSS your blog to Goodreads and Library Thing, plus you can do that to Amazon Author Central (Shelfari is part of Amazon), so that looks like more ways to "build brand" (gag) and take advantage of the Hawthorne Effect (yippee!) without expending a lot of time on it. (Because time spent marketing is time not spent writing. It's not because I'm lazy and don't want to do it--oh, no!)

(But honestly, some of the advice out there--comment on other blogs, not because you like them and want to say something, but because you can leave a link back to your Web site! Do tit-for-tat interviews, "follows," and even book purchases! Seriously, talk about sucking all the joy out formerly pleasant activities.... I mean, honestly, I enjoy Twitter so much more now that I stopped following the vast majority of the self-pub people, who constantly spam your feed to sell you services, and limited myself to following people I either know or find entertaining.)

One thing that has annoyed me is that non-Amazon sites that carry the paperback still feature the hideous cover I drew myself. I'm not sure why that is, but I've pulled the book off that distribution channel in the theory that if I put it back up with a different cover, it will show the proper cover. Obviously pulling a book off the market (or part of the market) is never going to help sales, but I think it hurts the book to have such an amateurish cover show up in searches.

Is any of this going to help sales? Eh, probably not...I do think the best thing to do is get Trust up, and I don't know when that's going to happen. I'll try to do it ASAP, but of course I told the beta readers to take their sweet time because I wanted a break from it, and after those changes are processed, it needs to go to the proofreader, and then get laid out. Production will presumably be more efficient this time around: I've got the front cover and the description already. Last year, I was able to get hard copies up by March 1, which is still in that window of excitement for self-pubbed books (because one year is a pattern, right?)--I guess we'll just have to see what the beta readers come back with, and of course how resistant I am to delving back into it.

I was pondering doing some kind of discount on Trang, but Kris Rusch (who I guess will be my guru on this one, since I didn't really want to futz around with changing prices all the time anyway) makes a good case that it's not worth even offering a title for free if you don't have a bunch of other, closely-related titles to promote.