February 25th. 2017

 I launched my latest book, Where the Wicked Dwell, during the week. I used Mailchimp and social media to promote it at a launch price of £0.99. I’ve no way of comparing results with other launches, and I do understand that I could have paid out a lot of money to advertise the launch and see my rankings rise. The highest I did get was 37 in the top 100 paid in the Private Investigators category. I can say I sat proudly above Stephen King and James Patterson who were occupying 38th and 39th place respectively. Do you think they are concerned about this upstart who displaced them from their position? I sincerely doubt it. But at least I was able to rub shoulders with exalted company. You can find the book on the home page of my website: http://www.michaelparkerbooks.com

In my efforts to promote my books, I have tried most things that have been suggested over the years. In the early days of Amazon self-publishing, you had to be on social media, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. and it was necessary to ensure your kindle book was formatted properly, which meant the steady growth of people willing to do the formatting for you (at a price). You were encouraged to understand what web crawlers were all about and to ensure that keywords associated with your book were always included in everything you wrote on line so that the search engines would find you. And as more and more indie authors jumped on the bandwagon, so did the ‘entrepreneurs’ who were willing to help you become the best seller that you “deserved to be”.

The explosion continues and shows no sign of wilting. Now it is cross promotions that are the buzz word, and we’re all piling in, keen to find a way of getting our books up there among the top rankers. I am no different to other indie authors; I want my books to succeed, so I will keep hanging on to whoever’s coat tails will get me up there. But I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that we are in an underclass of writers. That’s not to say we do not have the talent and the skill, but that we are being watched by the big guns in the game who see us thrashing about, trying desperately to find the answer, while they sell the books that are always sitting at the top of the pile. The pyramid is unshakeable and unbreakable, with the minority at the top and the bottom feeders swirling around at the bottom. But am I disheartened? Not really; I am pragmatic enough to know the name of the game. I know that I should spend hours at my keyboard promoting and marketing, and investing money with no guarantee of success; but I choose not to devote all those hours to what could be a dead-end, so the onus is on me when it comes to where my book sales and rankings are.

This week I have picked up the gauntlet and invited thriller writers in one of my groups to share in a cross promotion with me. I will be driving this one, and know that I can’t promise or guarantee any success. No doubt those who join with me will hope their sales will show a healthy increase. And all the while I’m concentrating my thoughts on pushing my books, I’m giving little or no time to my own writing. I have the bare bones of an idea for my next book, but precious little time (so it seems) to make any progress, and I know that I will have to devote a certain amount of time to ensuring that my cross promotion is built on solid ground. I’m sure that those writers joining with me will expect that. Sometimes we believe that those other writers are better than us at promoting because of how they present themselves and the statistics they publish, but they are searching in much the same way. So while the cross-promotion bonanza gathers pace, I’ll ride the tiger until I see something else that will almost certainly “guarantee” good results. Wish me luck! 

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