I’ve contracted it. And no, I don’t mean Covid-19. I’ve come down with that debilitating malaise known as Marketplace Anxiety. It usually comes in waves and without warning. One day I’m happily writing and publishing, full of faith that readers are finding my published babies… and then one morning I wake up and I’m worried that the titles are going unnoticed. Suddenly, panic sets in and I’m doubting every choice I’ve made. I can’t write and all editing comes to a screeching halt. And before I know it, I’m contemplating a massive giveaway. Maybe, if I stand in front of Walmart and just hand out my books, or toss a tweet into the Twittersphere announcing everything I’ve ever written is free things might be okay again.
Does this sound familiar? If not, then perhaps you’re a more stable-minded author than me. I go through bouts of this kind of anxiety. It doesn’t help that I’m seeing traditionally published authors struggle during this pandemic. And though it might not be good business for me to admit it, part of the reason I have a blog is to share these kinds of behind the scene human moments.
Writing is hard. If you’ve ever read my posts, you’ve heard me say this. Let me add to it by saying that the publishing process is brutal. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but you have to maintain a certain level of unwavering optimism about your work and marketing strategies to survive. Not to mention a degree of deafness when faced with naysayers and trolls.
Even armed with these qualities, I oftentimes worry that I’m just yelling into a void, my voice lost among so many.
So what do I do?
Well, firstly I pull out my Feel Better Notebook. I suggest every author keep one. In this notebook, I have a copy of all my awards and a smattering of book reviews where a reader praised not just the book but me as a writer. After reading them, I can say, “Self, you have talent. The books are good, just as good as any bestseller. These readers found them. Others will too.“
Once my confidence is boosted, I climb into the design chair to spruce up my promotional materials – but I give myself a limit. Ultimately, I know I have to get back to producing books. A new book hitting the market is the best way to engage previous readers and gain new ones.
So in my limited design time (one week), I’ve made new ads. Some of which I am running as campaigns on Facebook. I’m probably over posting across my list of Facebook groups but posting helps me feel better. I’m posting more on my author’s website and I have made changes/updates to several pages. I’m also tweeting more, taking advantage of the hashtag #indieApril. Is there anything else I can do? Sure.
Will I do a massive giveaway? Probably not. Although I see other authors doing this, as well as, deeply discounting their books for what seems like an indefinite period. I believe engaging in this strategy too often hurts authors across the board. We get paid little enough for our creative efforts. $3.99 for an ebook is not asking too much for a year’s worth of work. That’s still one hell of a bargain no matter how you look at it.
My design week is now up. Do I feel better? Yes…kinda. I’ve done all I can do. I’ve shared what I’ve learned through my blog and on my resource page. I’m getting back the final edits on Dreams of Demons from my editor, which means I need to let go of my marketplace anxiety and begin the final stages of getting book 3 market-ready for release in June.
Eventually, you have to trust the process. And hope.