Tomorrow's my 39th birthday and I'm reflecting on all the hard work I've done on my self-publishing career. I've come long way, but I've still got a long, long way to go.
But it’s still not enough money to live off of.
In the face of that slow progress, I’ve, had several family members tell me that I need to do more to promote my books. Now I’d love to do more to reach a larger audience of readers, o nly I don’t know what to do next. Every other promotional approach that reaches larger audiences is going to cost money. Serious money. Like a couple of thousand dollars.
I’d love to do a campaign where I post my book covers on MetroCards here in New York, but it’s something I can’t afford to do right now. Shawn’s money is at its lowest point. Nearing my fourth year of unemployment I only have a couple of hundred dollars left in the bank. With me being long-term unemployed, I need to find a way to make more sales and to make my books into a stronger, steady stream of revenue.
Then there’s reaching out to create a larger audience of business contacts. Now I’ve been networking online with LinkedIN, Facebook, and Twitter and making connections with people.
Unfortunately here in the South Bronx I haven’t been able to reach many people face to-face. Trying to find people who are into books is like walking into a brick wall. Most people here speak Spanish and even more don’t know how to read. Worse, More people are into sneakers than literature around here. So selling books and building contacts here in the Bronx and in Harlem is next to impossible.
Because the South Bronx is so reader-unfriendly I’ve made more connections with readers on Facebook and Twitter than in my own neighborhood. It’s actually been easier to connect with readers in Australia, Grenada and Germany than here in New York. I really want to reach more African-American readers in the inner-city but I find myself running into so many obstacles and so much resistance. I'm still looking for a way to breakthrough and connect with my brothers and sisters It's sad that I can sell books all over the world but not to the people in my own community on a regular basis.
In spite of all of the challenges in front of me, I have to remind myself that publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a race that takes strategy, endurance, paitience and skill. The goal of a running marathon is to work to is usually to complete the race and arrive at the finish line, not to win.
And a writer can’t compare their success to other people’s success. Shawn James can’t be the superstar E.L. James is or the superstar Amanda Hocking is. My audiences is totally different from theirs.
The road to the next level is a long one. But I’m a little further than I was four years ago.
And much further than I was eight years ago when I was just living on $2 a day, hoping, wishing and praying for a way to get my remaining manuscripts published.
Will I get to that next level in the next couple of years? I’m taking it one day at a time. One step at a time. It can take years for readers to discover an author, and even more time for them to be found by large commercial audiences. I take steps every day towards that big break. It’s been one of the toughest fights of my life, but I’m not giving up. I know if I keep driving one day I’ll have that best-selling book.