Last week my self-help book/memoir Become the Best You was on offer on the Kindle store for 99p. I was hoping the promotion would revive it a little, and I’m pleased to report that it did just that. I also learnt a thing or two along the way, which is always a bonus.
You can’t force or hurry success
I was thrilled at how well the book initially did when I first self-published at the end of 2014. I took annual leave from work, and approached the launch like it was my job (while all of my children were at school or nursery). It was impossible for me to keep that momentum going though, and pretty quickly I was in the territory of not having any time to promote the book at all. Without promoting the book, sales rapidly dropped.
I can imagine that every author, especially self-published ones, hope they’ll have a viral success on their hands, and that word of mouth will sell their book. Unfortunately having a great product that people rave about simply isn’t enough. Competition is fierce in the book business, and there’s a ton of hard work and truck load of luck that is needed along the way. A little help from our friends doesn’t go amiss either.
Special thanks to fellow bloggers Vicki and Tim for featuring me on their super successful blogs during the promotion. You can read my guest post on Honest Mum here, and interview on the Meet the Parents Podcast here.
You need a seriously thick skin to survive as an author
There’s only so much self-promotion I’m comfortable doing, yet I still feel like I’m in danger of boring everyone by banging on about my book. If you haven’t snagged a fabulous agent or huge publisher who will champion you and treat you like part of their family, then you’ll need a massive audience into the hundreds of thousands to guarantee sales.
Cards on the table, my book selling mission mostly feels like pushing jelly up a hill. The effort it takes to sell one book can be immense, because people don’t like parting with their cash unless they know they are going to like what they get. Even then it can still be tricky. The upside of being one of the little guys though, is that the lucky breaks are unbelievably awesome when they come, however small time they might be.
I’m proud of this book
Shortly after I published the book, one of the school mums asked if I felt that I was on display now, and whether I felt uncomfortable about people having access to all this knowledge about me. I honestly hadn’t even considered I would feel like that until she asked, but I suppose I do in some respects. I guess I’m giving anyone and everyone the opportunity to pick at my old wounds, and reopen them, if they wish to do so.
Mostly people have been supportive, but I have been trolled. I was told in no uncertain terms that walking away from family is the biggest sin you can possibly commit. That I should be ashamed of myself for taking drugs and sleeping around when I was younger, and that I deserved everything that came to me.
Do I wish I had never written the book? Absolutely not. Am I proud of this book? Hell yeah.
Small consistent progress is the best kind of progress
“You need to remember why you wrote the book in the first place.” My husband said recently, while I dried my tears of frustration. When I was writing the book, all I could think about was getting it finished. I thought that publishing it and holding it in my hands would be enough, but who honestly goes to all that trouble (and cost) of writing and publishing a book, to have no-one read it?
I’ve come to the conclusion that success for me is making a genuine difference in real people’s lives. On that note, I’d like to leave you with an email that I received from a reader.
“Reneé, I really enjoyed your book and getting to know you a little better by reading it.
Firstly, I thought that the beginning of the book was very easy to identify with. I would have liked to have found it when I was a lot younger, when I first started to analyse my life and patterns of behaviour. Great to introduce you into thinking in different ways and questioning the repeat offenders in your life, including yourself.
When I got to the middle of the book, I found it pricked my conscience on a number of issues I had brushed to the side conveniently and ‘not dealt with’. Once I stopped mentally squirming uncomfortably (thanks for that!) I decided to lay to rest a couple of issues which really needed to be confronted and I have to say, it wasn’t easy.
After a bit of further support from a very old friend, I kind of did though! I’m not sure I would have started the task of cutting a tie, let alone completed the task if i hadn’t read your book and spoken to my mate, but the combination worked well. It may take a repeat though as some ties are bloody stubborn but I know it can no longer be ignored.
Some relationship patterns are so ingrained in you it’s really, really hard to break it along with other associated enforcers. I’d like to know how to keep them at bay…………any tips? I seem to need to repeat them every few years or so with the same person.
The end of the book, is also very easy to follow. It gives you practical, black and white advice for many situations you can find yourself in and a perfect ending to a book that gives you a wake up call in the beginning.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t do the exercise because firstly I feel I’ve already been doing that for the last ten years at least. Your book was a really good reminder of how I used to be and pushed my refresh button.
Thanks for sharing it with us.”