I think there are two reasons that a writer publishes a fiction book. The first is to communicate with readers and the second is to make some money.
On the first count I’ve succeeded. The novel is a featured story on wattpad .com and has had over 400,000 downloads. And I’ve had loads of feedback from readers – most of it very positive. I’ve also got over 13,000 followers on wattpad – a group of loyal people who I can communicate with, talk to about new novels, even ask their advice about plots etc. I think wattpad is great for new writers. It provides a very broad cross section of readers, both young and old from countries across the globe. It’s great to get feedback from someone in Singapore or Moscow telling me that they love the characters I created and they miss them now they’ve finished the story.
People often ask me if the story is based on my own experience. The answer is ‘no’ but it is based on people I knew. They are all dead now but the basic plot is real.
So what about making some money! A big no. This is where Amazon, Smashwords and the others come in – platforms for advertising and selling books. Having placed my book on these platforms, I sat back and waited for the money to begin rolling in. And of course it didn’t. I’ve sold to friends, neighbours, relatives, even a few unknown people I got talking to - but I haven’t broken into that elusive ‘global’ market place.
So can it be done? I’ve spent the last few months devouring e books by those people who claim to have made a great success of e book publishing. They broadly fall into two categories – the social media entrepreneurs and the search engine boffins. The first group spend their time communicating in any conceivable way across different social media to build a following . The technical term is an 'author platform’. The second group claim that the key to success is optimising the impact of search engines by choosing winning key words and phrases and choosing strategically good categories in which to place your novel.
I tend to think that what suits one author doesn’t necessarily suit another. I think it’s a lot easier to optimise search engines with a non-fiction book. If you’ve written about breeding long haired guinea pigs – it’s clear what you’re key words will be. If like me, your novel focuses on passion, deceit and ambition – the key phrases alone are not sufficient to drive people to my pages.
So my solution is to try a bit of both approaches. Hence the re inauguration of my blog (yes I know I said the same thing a few months ago but this time I mean it). I will keep you regularly posted as my quest to unlock the secrets of self- publishing begins in earnest. I would be really grateful for any feedback from other self-published authors or any of my amazing wattpad followers. I’ll be honest and open with you. I’d be grateful if you’d do the same for me.
Call by in a couple of days and I’ll have an update.
Very best wishes