Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.
I am on the cusp of change. Not yet sure in which direction but I thought I would capture the essence before I lapse again into plodding without looking where I’m going.
‘If you want to be successful, you have to pretend you already are’
Ever been told to put on your dancing shoes and caper towards the camera? Metaphorically speaking?
I have been made brave by Viv’s blog (Zen and the art of tightrope walking) in which she questions the virtues of stoicism (the full-English in approved ‘attitude’) to venture onto my own high-wire, and examine the world that has another set of unspoken virtues- the approved conduct of the ‘indie author’.
All Indie Authors should consider the stoicism implied by a dreaded word ‘Authorpreneur.’
Before I get onto its entrenched edicts I shall have to define why, right now, I feel defeated and why this post sets out to invite contributions, commiserations and perhaps even solutions? (Hint I intend new coherent, focussed, valuable… something.)
So: Many things have contributed to my small crisis: (See, there is stoicism showing its petticoat- it feels pretty big actually)
Putting it Behind Me
After two years of close attention to the world of marketing, web design, IT mastery (well, moderate self sufficiency) blogging, guest posting, commenting, reading, reviewing… I have recently been told I have left no tracks in the web sand- in short I do not exist.
(The kind SEO searcher who discovered this offered a consolation. ‘At least you have not spoilt your first impression. You have not made one!) He disabused me of believing anything Google said, (because Google is a big stroker and would have me believe I have made veritable waves for fully three pages) and suggested I asked duckduckgo instead. Sure enough, his point was proved, I do not exist.
Like a wayward young steer I need ‘Branding’, or I will never be welcomed in the herd. It is not the books that matter but the branding of the author. ‘Think of things others would say if asked to describe you?’ Well aside from the obvious (and why should I offer insults gratis? Mine could be auctioned to Save the Children )
All suggestions here, or here, or here…
(Look ma, no genre?-The art of the unpopular?- Believing five impossible things before breakfast? Delusions of Hercules?)
Problem is, my daughters aside, how would they know without reading what I write? Or being able to find me when I don’t exist? Or even digging out (up?) the recluse who lives in darkest Somerset and could not embark upon a series if it bit her on the bum and chased her to the gate.
(Aside:I do have an idea for a fabulous TV series and I have cast Bill Nighy in the lead-he’d relish the role and yes do feel free to contact him.)
Wrestling with this for months I decided to turn aside and join NaNoWriMo for some creative distraction. Yes I finished the outline of a novella, (did not even limp to 50K, stopped and laid down its plot at 48K) and it offers a skeletal outline but one so world weary that it needs to live on spinach for a year. WHY? Because it now joins the list of the next books that will be unfound and unread.
Going Round in Circles
So no escape. Circumnavigation of the central problem. How to wave without seeming to, the mastery of the sleight of hand. Finding they who are already searching?
Caution: They would not imagine such a book so would not be searching. If they fell over it they would say …………………………(Feel free to improvise in the comments)
Hence back to the first subject-Stoicism.
It seems to me we Indie Authors are signed up to these ten commandments (plus one) Nobody showed me before I signed up. Bastards.
- Thou shalt anticipate author hood by building a solid platform (before you have any hooks to climb it, spiked shoes, or a windcheater for the long winter’s blast. Intentions are two a penny, solidity speaks.)
- Thou shalt acquire a tribe of ten thousand followers on Twitter and Facebook ( But without a book available? Stick to cakes and recipes-you can crib those.)
- Thou shalt exceed the traditionally published authors by being better written, better dressed, more adventurous.(Safe here, nobody will find out one way or the other)
- Thou shalt write works with a keen eye to the market you have already seduced. (Do cakes and recipes foster an interest in evolution? Baking is a busy business.)
- Thou shalt master the Amazon category minefield.(It may not anticipate the category you have been adventurous with. Write nicely to Amazon with suggestions.)
- Thou shalt produce at least a book a year, and preferably in series.(Latest sure fire-winner- of- 1000 signatories- a- month advice: ‘To accumulate an email list give away your first, follow with a gift of the second a day later, in order to hook a readership for the many to follow. Sorry forgot to mention you must start in your twenties, or write three at a time. (‘Note to Self: Remember to bar anyone over 65.)
- Thou shalt find the money for editing, and cover design and they shall be exemplary examples of what is already in abundance and look good in a thumbnail. It’s all anyone will be likely to skim past.
- Thou will understand the sprinkling of keywords and have an ear to the ground of SEO so that though wilt play harmoniously without banging anything- strictly strings.( How about scored for base trombone, viola and a snare…)
- Thou shalt persist in offering something of value to acquire a mailing list that will be susceptible to thy next offer and thou may post many portraits of yourself behaving as though chased by papparazzi lest we forget your name. Tip: Be photogenic or at least ‘interesting’ Drag? Indecent? Rear view?
- Thou shalt not deviate by questioning these precepts, nor challenge them but thou canst always give up and drop out.
- (Thou wilt not be missed.)