I lost my job earlier this year and put all of my effort into my books. I looked to them to make up for the lost income so my kids would stop telling me, “I’m hungry, Dad!” I was steadfast in the idea that, with a full day devoted to marketing, I could make every title a huge success. So, that’s what I did. And, something happened. Things started slowing down.
I released my first book two and half years ago when the ebook “revolution” was just getting some steam—when everything was changing. And the changing hasn’t stopped. I’ve tried to keep up with the trends: free books, Bookbub, pricing, blog tours, interviews and such.
I’ve read blog post after blog post. I’ve delved into market research. I’ve tried to find the right time to Tweet, to blog, to offer a promotion. I’ve tried countless ways to rip people’s attention away from whatever they’re are doing to tell them I made jokes about the apocalypse, old pulp novels, action-adventure tropes and dumb white husbands.
I’ve pulled every lever. I’ve pushed every button. I’ve tried pushing and pulling in different sequences. I did less writing and more mulling over the next plan, the next promotion, the next stunt. It’s frustrating. What I loved has become the biggest source of frustration in my life. And it all had one big effect. It stopped being fun.
So, I’m done. I’m done with the levers and buttons. I’m done with worrying about sales numbers. I’m not going to worry that the big publishers are finally setting reasonable prices and how that will affect indies. I’m done with trend watching and, thank God, I’m done with market research.
It’s not fun.
I never wrote a book to win an award. I never wrote a book with the goal of making the NY Times list. I never wrote a book to fit a popular trend. I wrote books because it was fun. Having fun makes me happy. Somewhere along the line, I seem to have forgotten that.
So, after analyzing everything for two and a half years, after looking at what’s worked for others, after reading the latest assumptions of what may be happening here or there, after looking at projections, after reading countless books and blogs on book marketing here’s my new marketing plan—fun.
Fun with a capital F, U and a little n because it’s funnier that way to me.
That’s it. That’s my mission statement. That’s my brand platform. That’s my strategy. That’s my list of tactics. That’s my criteria for my next project. It’s my motto and my creed. Unless that’s not what a creed is. I never really understood creeds.
Even in this post I’ve spent too much time talking about all the boring stuff. So, I’ll end it here.
There’s fun to be had.
A-freaking-Men! Why do something that isn’t fun. That has been my motto my whole life. Your books are so good because you have fun with them. That’s what it should be and I am glad that you are giving a big F U to the boring stuff!!!
Hats off to you sir.
Thank you, Danielle.
I’d forgotten how powerful having fun can be.
Ben, you know I love every one of your creative efforts. I have done my best to support you at every turn, within my meager means. I will continue to do so. I don’t wait for sales… You write it, I read it. You “Indiegogo it, I buy in…You Tweet it, I favorite and Retweet it. I like just about every FB post, comment on many and recommend you to all my friends.
I hope this continues to be fun for you. My reasons are selfish. If you continue what you do, I get to continue to do what I do (be entertained).
I appreciate it, George. And, I thank you for all of your support. It has been tremendous.
My reasons are selfish as well. More than anything, I enjoy making things up. This should really free up time to do just that.
I’m right there with you on the FUN. And I appreciate the opportunities you’ve provided for us authors (yeah, yeah–and for yourself).
Here’s to having a writing blast in 2014!!!!
Thank you Anne. Playing with other authors is some of the fun I’ve missed most. So I’ll be doing a lot more of that.
I saw a poignant motivational quote the other day that totally relates to your situation. I can’t remember what it said, exactly, but I assure you it was good.
Anyway, good to hear you’re getting back to your punk rock roots. No go have some fun.
Ben, You introduced me to the world of Indie Authors and my life hasn’t been the same. Your stories reflect you, well, kind of…the fun part….yeah. Don’t change that, because then you change. I’ll continue to support you the best I can.
Awww… thank you, Stephanie. You’re an author’s best friend.
I really, truly, honest-to-goodness like your writing. I believe that your words will spread to a vast number of people, infecting them like zombies, until your horde of readers is marching on and scaring the shit out of the unconverted.
May you forge ahead until the Ben-ocalypse event is on the horizon.
Now this is how you leave a comment, people!
I’m gonna let you in on a big secret: you’ve inspired me. I started my own website up last September because I thought, “Man, if that misplaced canucklehead can salad out words and make a story, then what the hell is stopping me?” And this Christmas break I plan on hunkering down and typing out my very own book (hopefully the first of many.) I watched you these past few years writing with a fervor that brooks nothing short of pride in knowing you, and maybe a hint of jealousy that writing hundreds of pages comes rather easy for you. But I agree: leave the gruntwork to the grunts. All that extra market crap cannot be healthy for your imagination. Penniless and vivid sounds way better than rich and lackluster.
Keep it up!
Man, you had me feeling good about myself up until penniless.
What took you so long to figure that out?
I wasted a good year’s worth of writing time and momentum trying to play silly marketing games, candyass promotions, playing up to the “if you do this, then Amazon will do this and your sales will do this,” etc etc.
Finally said to hell with it. Ordered a hundred print copies of my book for nothing more than give-away opportunities. After all, if a writer is in solely for making money, then they need to go join Rapp-Collins or some other direct marketing agency that writes crap that wouldn’t even be read in the stalls of a New York subway restroom.
Those 100 giveaways sold me more books than anything else I ever did combined–and the heckuva it is, I only gave away about a third or so of them. Readers told friends who then contacted me asking to buy an autographed copy.
I use Book Baby because their distribution is absolutely second-to-none. My e-books are in every major and secondary online book retailer and e-tailer across the globe, and since I signed over translation rights, I’m getting a lot of sales in countries where English isn’t even the second or third language.
Like you, I’ve said to hell with all the marketing gimmicks of self-promotion. Nothing self-promotes better than good writing and having autographed copies to sell.
I’m going to take the time away from the “day job” (out for the rest of the year plus some) after I get home from the hospital (Friday) to finish FALSE GODS so that I can get your wife the back cover copy and a check and have this thing finished by the end of the year.
You are a helluva good writer, very agile and most importantly, FUN TO READ. Since you are fun to read, it only makes sense that you should go back to WRITING BECAUSE IT’S FUN.