Back on the Ferris wheel

My novel has been released into the wild, and I should be celebrating, but I am back on the Ferris wheel. I finally understand why some writers don’t even try. The book promotion game is not necessarily about self-confidence, diligence, originality, or skill. What happened?

THE QUARTER PERCENT is on Amazon.
FREE downloads through Friday, August 7.
Click that link and find out what the fuss is all about.

Playing with stickers on paper. Cucumber.

Friday, July 31, 06:20. I am on an influencer’s website binge-reading suggested articles. In twelve hours, it will dawn on me that this is an elaborate scheme to drive up page views and create demand for her services.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Onion.

Only an hour after expressing my confusion with her process, I see two blog posts demonstrating the effectiveness of promoting free books for a limited time. They presented statistics, and graphs, as well as screen captures. My plan should work fine, but the influencer insists that people will never download a free copy of a book unless it has at least ONE five-star review on Amazon.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Pink.

Keep calm, I get it: readers want to know what to expect, and they want to hear it from another reader. I completely agree. This is why I’m doing the promotion in the first place.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Orange slice lip.

The influencer now advises me to get on social media and spend literally hundreds of hours tweeting and emailing strangers to ask them to read and review a free copy of my book. This contradicts her assertion that people won’t download my book unless it has reviews already.

Screen capture from my publisher’s desktop monitor. Click the image to grab a free copy from Amazon.

I go back to the first message I sent her. Sure enough, in my pitch, there is a longer description and a link to the trailer. There is also an invitation to download a free copy when the promotion starts. It takes me a full day to realise that “books with five-star reviews on Amazon” was code for “don’t wanna read it.”

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Cucumber eyes.

Her next suggestion is that I pay almost US$900 to an elite online book club in exchange for a single honest review by a team, on their website, a process that could take seven weeks.

I need to get off this Ferris wheel. I am told that I can’t promote my book without reviews, and that I won’t get reviews if I don’t promote my book. I stop reading, and in a panic, compose an email to my publisher.

🌺🧡💚❤️🌺

Paperback format available soon. Big ups to my publisher, StelaEVF, for making this possible. Thank you, everyone, for your support.

39 thoughts on “Back on the Ferris wheel

    1. It has been exhausting, Markus/Micah and I thank you for the support. I got to share the news with friends so I got about 10 minutes of enjoyment. But I am writing scenes for my next three projects. I enjoy creating, so my spirits are lifting somewhat.

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  1. Trust in your abilities as a writer. The word will get out. It just takes time. In my opinion, don’t take advice from someone who hasn’t successfully published and sold their own books. There are a lot of fake gurus out there. I wish you much success. It will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. People do tricky stuff to promote services or products but lies can cause untold harm. The “algorithm” or “SEO” is not a god so people should stop giving burnt offerings to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. The custom is to allow reviews to follow organically. So I wanted to promote my novel on social media to get downloads first. My publisher told me that people were downloading from on the first day, well before I’d told anyone it was published. I guess I had a meltdown because I realised that this woman was blatantly lying to me so I could visit her website and improve her site ranking.

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    1. Thank you so much. ❤️ I still weep a little bit over my shredded scenes, as I had to completely redraft the novel. I’ll raise a toast to them. 🥂🍻🍸🍹

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  3. Good luck with your publishing. Myself– I put a novel and some short stories for the Kindle and Nook– cheap price returns– with little effect. So I added them to my blog site– just to see the interest… or no interest. If I get some readers, that’s fine enough success for me at this time in my life. Otherwise, my poetry and artwork/photography is satisfying enough.
    Art

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Welcome to the catch-22. Paying someone for the honor of their deigning to review your work is borderline financial masochism. My early experiences (and of others I know) have made me decide not to publish, but I’m glad you’ve taken the plunge and are duking it out (yes, mixed metaphors). Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, H. Glad to have you over here. Went to the review website. They claim to be a group of astronauts and rocket scientists who read books but trash everything, so you’re correct that it’s a form of masochism. Their comments section is full of spam which is just desserts. I hope you’re having a great Thursday.

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  5. Just don’t do what I did…now I go through the same thing in the Visual art world….except it seems I pay $35 each time I attempt to get someone to take a look! I think you’re going in the right direction! Keep writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I most assuredly understand your frustration, with all these “professionals” not really having a clue but more than willing to take your money to prove how much of a clue they don’t have. (Bitterness detected? Yes.) The truth is, with SO many self-pub books out there, any measurable success is mostly a matter of happenstance, being in the right place at the right time. And since most of us have limited financial resources, we can’t afford to be in all places at all times.

    This is why I rarely promote my books, other than word-of-mouth on my blog, and I try not to do that very often as it can get annoying for the readers. Every once in a while I will try a new promotional vehicle I run across, but it’s usually done out of mere curiosity or boredom, as I don’t expect to make any real profits. I write my books for a record of my scribblings. If they should ever become anything more than that, it will just be a bonus.

    Sorry for the rambling, and please don’t let my words discourage you from doing what you feel is right. Best of luck with your next-step decisions and future success.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much Brian. You’re right, it’s all about timing. If I hadn’t spoken to that influencer, I would have been fine. I’m putting this out here so the next person knows not to get sucked in by the numerous identical clickbait listicles targeting inexperienced authors.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh that guy! I listened to most of his video, by mistake I have to add – I got distracted by something more interesting and he played I the background for a while! Good grief, some people have so much to say about nothing at all – is that where its at? So many people, so many lunatics!

    Good luck – the ball is rolling! Looking forward to a hard copy! 😀 😀

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you so much for your support. 🤓 I’m told it’s already got lots of downloads before the promotion started and with no reviews. So I guess people can read and think for themselves??? Whodathunkit.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations! I sympathize, I am self publishing a book myself in the next few weeks. I will be using a free sample, and posts on different sites I have been posting on for a number of years. Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

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