OK, so my first novel, The Darkness Beneath, has been on Amazon for the last week or so and I've gotten over the mild adrenalin rush that warmed my ego for a while: what now?

What now is, of course, the Great Marketing Push. Or rather The Rather Feeble Marketing Push. 

I know that as a self-publisher I have to get out there and smack the marketing baby all over the park and try reach as many potential readers as possible. And I've been doing that, but in reality it's a slow train to ride and it's one that you have to jump on every day without fail. I can live with the slow, slow build up to ever-lasting fame and fortune (who'd be a writer?), but the continuous effort to market my book is probably harder than writing actually is.

So, my fellow self-publishers, how do you deal with that? Do you have any methods or processes that you use to keep yourself on track? For example, do you set yourself targets or goals of any sort, and if so, how do you stick to them and do they work?

Friends and Spamily
I'm also very wary about hassling friends and family: I've told all my Facebook gang about it three times now: doing more makes me feel uncomfortable, and I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of the same thing, so I'm reluctant to keep banging on to them about it. And just because they're my Facebook friends, it doesn't mean more than a few are my natural audience, at least for this book. 

To the Twitter End
Twitter is a bit easier because it's slightly less personal, plus I know that anyone who's interested might RT me to their followers. This is a potential market of 100s of 1000s of people, something I can't ignore. But even so, I still feel that one tweet per week is enough, or is it? Some people never stop banging on about their books, like on a daily basis. I ignore all such tweets, but I don't mind that they do it, I just don't feel comfortable doing so myself.

Writing V Marketing
It's a double-edged sword: why do the first and not the second? If you are serious about the former, then you can't avoid the latter - it simply isn't professional is it? I am fortunate in that I have the Libboo team behind me. At least their subtle prodding and regular emails keep the marketing monster in my mind - my efforts would be nowhere without them.

Personally, I'd rather be away with the fairies, ghosts and lovers that live in my writing: and as all writers know, life isn't long enough to write all the stories we have typing away inside us already, so losing time to other activities is a difficult choice. 

Marketing is really a full time job (on top of my real full time job and other commitments), so even if you give it a maximum of 50% of your writing time, that's a huge chunk of writing time that's being devoured by the marketing monster. (BTW, I'm not against marketing or doing it - I'm just coming to terms with it.)

How does one find a balance between the time spent writing and the time spent marketing? Finding a balance is essential, because with that I'm just osscilating, prevaricating and going nowhere.

Ego O'Clock
Then there's the ego: a powerful and dangerous weapon that may well be the driving force behind why we write in the first place. Yes, I do think my work is good, but I could be delusional. I'd been writing fiction of various sorts for 20+ years before I felt confident enough to start trying to get it published. And I've been writing professionally for 20 of those years as a journalist and technical writer so I'm no wallflower when it comes to writing and being published. 

But still I wonder if I'm not kidding myself about my abilities. (And despite numerous compliments from my readers of the 'It's a real page turner' variety. See my reviews for evidence.) We have to question what we do as writers otherwise we run the risk of writing rubbish (and allow our skills and imaginiations to stagnate), but there comes a time where, if we want people to take us seriously, we have to take ourselves seriously too. We have to stand up naked in front of the world and demand it takes notice of this great work we've laid before its feet. And that is a bloody hard and confrontational thing to do.

Cheers.