Expect nothing or reach for the stars?

The euphoria generated by the wonderful launch of The Piano Player’s Son has long been tidied away. The book is written, rewritten, published, launched – now what? Sales!

I write because – for some perverse reason, I hate it when I’m not writing – but also because I want my books to be read. I love it when people say how much they’ve enjoyed a book, how they couldn’t put it down. I even like it when people say they hated one of the characters, or they couldn’t understand how a particular character could behave in a certain way because it means the reader has engaged with the book. It’s made them feel something, and that’s what it’s all about.

What I don’t like is promoting my books, trying to encourage people to buy them or borrow them from the library. And yet, the market is so crowded, how will anybody, other than the people I know well, find out about my books?

So, I try to promote them in the hope that they will sell. And here’s my current predicament: my sales on the dreaded Amazon are not doing as well as I’d hoped. In so many ways, I hate the tyranny of Amazon, and love bookshops, especially independent ones and even Waterstones at a push. But it’s difficult for writers to ignore Amazon. It holds a lot of power when it comes to a book’s success or otherwise. Hence my disappointment with my sales so far.

I tell myself to expect nothing (as in the title of the post) and then I can’t be disappointed. I don’t even know how well Unravelling was doing at a similar stage (I was deep into a temporary house move, accompanied by the stress of building work), so I hardly remember checking Amazon. But whoever achieved anything by expecting nothing? Would Mo Farah have stood a chance of winning two Olympic golds if he’d prepared himself for failure?

So, I will reach for the stars, and if any of you guys can give me a leg-up by spreading the word, that would be great! And if you haven’t got a copy yet, there’s always the dreaded Amazon! I know direct marketing is social media death, but think I’m allowed to get away with it on my own blog!

I’m doing a book giveaway on Goodreads if any of you are members of that site, even though I struggle to understand how Goodreads works, and lovely Caroline Davies is helping me!

I’m doing a book signing at Courtyard Books, Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham this Saturday, and a potentially exciting event at Hillers Farm and Gift shop next week.

I’m disappointed at the moment, but I refuse to expect nothing.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?

Robert Browning

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  1. Debbie Young says:

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde

    Keep gazing at those stars, Lindsay, some of them have your name on them!

    Brave to share what just about all writers will feel at some point. And looking forward to reading and reviewing “The PPS” soon – rising to the top of my reviewing pile, hurrah!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Debbie. You’re always so lovely and encouraging. I wasn’t sure whether to share it or not, but a writer’s lot is not all glitter and roses, is it? (Whatever that means!) And when PP’s Son gets to the top of the pile, I really hope you enjoy it.

  3. Polly says:

    Good luck with all your marketing ventures, Lindsay. Not easy, but they say it needs to be done – perhaps sales will improve over Christmas – I’m hoping to read my copy of PPS over the hols 🙂

  4. Christine Steenfeldt says:

    It sounds as though you’re being pretty proactive- 2 book signings and a giveaway on Goodreads. But I can imagine it’s hard to keep the momentum going when you want to concentrate on writing!

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Polly. Yes, got to be done, and it’s the long haul in the end, not the spurt of a firework. Have I mixed my metaphors there?!

  6. Lindsay says:

    That’s the trouble, Christine. I’m back in writing mode now, but focusing on that would be like neglecting your toddler because a new baby has arrived – something like that anyway!

  7. Selling isn’t pleasant but has to be done, unless you win the Booker, I imagine … Every book having to be hand-sold. But Amazon ratings isn’t a true reflection, I don’t think and yet it is also addictive to keep having a peek! Will be reading PPS soon … But am editing Horses at the mo and am not able to read anything else. Keep your pecker up!

  8. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Becky. Selling isn’t pleasant, although some people thrive on selling. Unfortunately, they’re not usually also writers! Good luck with your editing.

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