English: Ancient Volpaia map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I took a webinar the other day about marketing new books and the one takeaway for me was the idea that the tablet will eventually be the most popular medium for reading ebooks. Not the e-reader. I thought that made perfect sense, since so much of what we do these days is on our smart phones/tablets. As much as I love my Kindle, I realized it was time to branch out. I took two of my works out of Kindle Select (after the three-month exclusion period was up) and published them on Smashwords. It’s another new learning experience for me, figuring out how to format for a different publishing platform, but this self-publishing business has definitely sharpened my ability to take the initiative. That is certainly a valuable gift. I hope I am always open to learning something new.
I’m not sure what the move to Smashwords will do for my sales; right now, it feels as if I’ve dropped my books like stones into a lake. However, another great piece of advice I got from a marketing expert was to try something new every day. Publishing on another platform is just another way of realizing my goal to reach more readers: today, I sent a stack of print books of A Deconstructed Heart to a book review party in Connecticut and I reached out to five literary review blogs in the hopes of spreading the word; one reviewer has already replied to say I’m in his queue.
I think in about three years I’ll be a whole lot smarter and have this process down. Stick around with me, and you’ll be able to say that you saw it happen.
For now, you can see The Well-Tended Garden and The Dust Beneath Her Feet at Smashwords:
… from the marketing furore. My short story, A Change in the Weather, ended at #3 for family relationships on Amazon’s top 100 free ebooks, and #8 for historical fiction, with over 1,100 downloads! All those lovely people, reading my fiction, it’s enough to warm the cockles of my heart, as they (used to) say in England. I was really touched by the essential niceness of writers (feel free to disagree), particularly the ones I interacted with as they showed solidarity with me and one another through the self-publishing process. Whether it was through the support of sites like the Author Marketing Club, which is like a one-stop-shop for everything you need to get your ebook launched, with their book marketing and selling tips for authors… or the fantastic folk on my tweet teams, over on World Literacy Cafe. Funny that an act as solitary and inward looking as writing can foster such a sense of community, but then again, every act of writing for publication (in any format) is ultimately an act of generosity, of sharing. (Lord knows, very few of us are in this for the money!) Everyone gets a chance to share their hard work. I certainly don’t subscribe to the opinion that self-publishing is the death of good literature; the way I see it, the more people who are motivated to develop their inner resources and at least try to create art, the better place this world is. I was also touched by those gentlefolk who were kind enough to offer to review my book/short story gratis, simply because they love to read and want to help out new authors. And finally, I can’t forget the kind lady from Belgium who tweeted me to say thank you for the chance to read my ebook. Timeless manners in the digital age.
Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.