Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Let’s talk about something besides the coronavirus. Let’s talk about books.
A couple of things are bugging me about books lately. Particularly the marketing of books. During the lockdown, I’ve noticed that my Twitter feed is like a slide show of book ads. As usual, a lot of naked male torsos but also plenty of ladies in dark velvet gowns with pouting lips and ample cleavage, with lightning in the background. It’s getting hard to weed through it all to find news content or funny stuff, like talking dogs and the like.
I’ve had to mute some of the worst offenders, who run ten or twelve ads all at once, hoping to stun me into buying their books.
I’ll confess that I run a promo on Twitter every so often, just to keep my oeuvre out there. You can see how well that’s been working out lately.
So I’m going to try something now, for a few months at least, I hope—I’m not going to run any promos of any of my books. Not because I imagine they’ll miraculously sell themselves but because I’d like to get out of the mindset of tracking them. Especially in the context of quarantine and an uncertain future, it’s not healthy to wonder every few hours if anyone responded to that Fascination ad on Twitter. On top of that, my paid promotions this year weren’t at all successful.
Now I’m leaning philosophically toward this approach to self-publishing: Do it for yourself. (Hence the name.) If I can’t get an agent for some of the books I’m shopping around these days, I’ll make nice paperbacks of them for my wife and me and some friends. If people wind up buying a copy every now and then, great. If not, it won’t be such a big deal anymore. Mental health is important.
Bottom line is, the indie market’s glutted. My Twitter feed tells the tale. Like almost everything involving the internet, something with great creative potential has been overwhelmed and morphed into lowest-common-denominator entertainment.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t use the tools that have evolved for writers over the last ten years to make something I can be proud of.