The Ugly Truth

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t sell enough Jazzi and Ansel mysteries, so Kensington let me go, haven’t I? Yes, I have. But I already had the next Jazzi and Ansel written before they told me, so I decided to publish it myself. And I wanted to give it a big push, but how? I looked at BookBub and it was REALLY expensive, (at least, for us), and the truth is, I decided I wanted a neat vacation for HH and my fiftieth anniversary in late August more than I wanted to pay that much to advertise my book, IF BookBub accepted it. Maybe a mistake. So I ran the idea past our kids and grandkids, and we all decided to rent a house on Tybee Island in August and have a big family vacation together instead. We all pitched in, and we need airplane tickets and fun money, and we’re looking forward to a great time.

I want to stress that my editor, John Scognamiglio, at Kensington would have kept working with me. He’s a wonderful human being who loves writers. Everyone I worked with loves writers, but publishing is a business. It all comes down to money, and I just wasn’t making enough money for Kensington to keep investing in me. Okay, that hurts, because Kensington tried, but it is what it is. So now, I’m on my own. And I had a Jazzi and Ansel written and polished before I got the news, so what was I going to do with it? I put it on Amazon myself.

Now comes the not so wonderful part of being a writer without a big name. No one knows who you are. If you don’t promote your book, it doesn’t sell. I’d sold enough books (I thought) that I could surely pay for a New Book Deal on Written Word Media ($399), but the day after I submitted my book for the ad, they turned me down. And at first, I was REALLY frustrated. But after I thought about it, I realized they were trying to be totally honest with me. They didn’t think I’d earn out the money I put into the ad. I’m guessing they don’t have a lot of cozy mystery readers signed up on their site. Every site seems to have one following that’s stronger than the others. I don’t know. But they could have taken my money and left me watch dismal sales. Instead, they turned down my money. And I give them credit for that.

I considered going to the Fussy Librarian. I’m fond of that site, but finally decided to take my chances with an Amazon ad because I thought I’d reach more people. I have to admit, I don’t understand any of the ads an author has to bid on, not on BookBub, Amazon, or Facebook. I’ve tried them a couple of times before, and it was a sad failure, but at that time, I thought I was bidding too low to ever win a spot for readers to see my work. This time, I thought I’d go bigger, but I obviously don’t know what “big” is. I signed up to spend $300 at $3.00 a bid. And I’ve hardly won any spots. My bid goes to September 1st, and if I spend $50, it’s going to be a miracle. So, again, I haven’t conquered this type of marketing.

My next book, A CUT ABOVE, comes out May 3rd, and I’m going to try a couple other things to get readers to find it. But I’m feeling pretty unsure of myself. HOW do you find readers without spending a lot of money? Maybe it’s impossible. That’s what publishers do. They INVEST in you. They KNOW how to market. I’m, obviously, not as good at it. But I want to give self-publishing a try.

This blog will probably appeal more to writers than readers, but even readers might be interested in how hard it is to promote a new book. If I fail yet again, I have other options to consider. But until then, I’m crossing my fingers and wishing for the best for A CUT ABOVE. Wish me luck!