Here is the last and final installment. Have you read Part I and Part II yet? I’m sure at this point, it might not have been what you thought it might be. I really had to think about which plateaus I thought would fit in my experience. Ultimately, it came down to the most scary for me. Over the past couple of years, I can’t say it’s gotten easier.
The Seventh Circle: Promotion
You’ve got that great cover, a release date, and now it’s time to put something together. Some companies give you your cover six months before release to pimp it like mad. I can say I’ve only had that experience once. It’s…odd. My ADD brain can’t wrap around the concept but it is something the industry does. So you can go the prerelease route, asking fellow authors for a little bit of space on their blogs. One thing you should try to avoid is oversaturation. It’s a fine line between diving off the deep end and losing yourself in the shuffle of a thousand Tweets. I try and limit it to about once a day, if that, on one book. I post on my Facebook page which gets transferred to my Twitter account. Seamless. The reason I say to watch yourself is I see many friends drop pages they’d liked and friends because of selfish promotional posts. Trust me when I say people don’t really want to hear about your latest novel a billion times in a week.
I usually give away a PDF copy of my book during promotion but the more I do that, the more I find that the reach isn’t there. Blog Hops are a great way to gain followers. However, make sure the prize at the end of the rainbow is worth it. I’ve recently started giving away Amazon giftcards. My hope is they use it to buy my book. Either way, I’m hoping they use it to buy books–any kind. Make it worth your reader’s wild and keep the receipts for tax time.
The Eighth Circle: Is it Good Enough?
This is always my worry. Sure, I love my story but what if I missed putting something in and it confuses the reader. What if they think it was too short or the characters aren’t likeable? It’s an endless cycle. Getting those one star drive by ratings on Goodreads also is a bummer but I figure if they don’t have the time to say why–and they’re certainly not obligated–it’s not worth my time to fret over. I am only as good as I force myself to be. I have to remember not to cheat and use the formula I’ve seen books that sky rocket to the bestsellers list and the latest fetish craze. That’s not me. I didn’t go in this for a big payoff. Yeah, I’d love to make a career of it but I’m a realist. If I crank out cookie cutter books, I’ve just become something I never wanted to be and my ‘is it good enough’ mantra is going to be a serenade from the butt trumpeter of every intelligent reader that picks up on my sloppy style.
Keep telling yourself that the publisher thought it was good enough to offer a contract. It’s the best thing to remember.
The Ninth Circle: Stalking Sites
Admit it now, writers. You do it. Your book’s released and you’re stalking Amazon to check how far up you are in the standings and if you’ve made a top 100 list. Or how about All Romance eBooks and that coveted silver star? I freely admit I do it and it makes me realize I’m wasting precious time that I could be using to write. All it does is bum me out and then I lose my mojo. I’ve given up looking for that big bang. It’s just not happening and I can’t fret about it. All I can do is go back to the beginning of the Nine Writing Circles of Hell and start anew.
I am a glutton for punishment.
So that’s the crux of how my endless Hell goes. Every writer might have a different stage for their trip into the insane. In the end, so long as the book is the best we can make it, there’s nothing more in our control we can do. It’s up to the masses out there and that’s not going to change.