Friday, 1 July 2011

Standing to Run Still

or, why I still haven't published my book, and why I'm not on Facebook. And a bunch of other stuff.

There are two main reasons I haven't published 'Heaven Can Wait' yet; I'm still waiting for responses from a few beta readers (if I get them all back in, I'll have had 10 lots of feedback, but I'm only going to wait a couple more weeks at most), and I'm still waiting for a cover image.

But there are things I could be doing that I'm not. I'm not on Goodreads, for example, and I'm not on Facebook (yes, I know it's hard to believe there are still people my age not on Facebook. I'll get back to that in a moment). The reason for this is simple: at the moment, I have nothing to sell, and thus nothing to promote. I don't believe the conversion rate from people seeing me on Goodreads now to sales is going to be worth time I could be spending actually getting the book ready.

At the moment, for a promotional activity to be worth the time, I've got to be able to make such an impression that people remember me for what might be an entire month until the book's available. I'm on Twitter in part because it allows me to do that, by means of a constant stream of - hopefully - memorable tweets. Twitter also has other benefits, in terms of meeting authors and discovering resources, which I don't think many other places I could be active offer (that said, if anyone has any Google+ invites...?)

What I'm actually spending my time doing (when I'm not laid low by hayfever or distracted by videogames) is working on the book. I'm not doing a lot of editing right now, but I've still got to prepare a preview of book 2 (which is involving a huge amount of work outlining and preparing book 2, work that needs doing but is taking a while) and make a map of the city - which is an insanely finicky job. I hope to have the result to show sometime next week.

As for why I'm not on Facebook... well, to a certain extent, this. But there's more to it than that. You may have heard the quip 'Twitter makes you love people you don't know, Facebook makes you hate people you do know'. I feel there's something in that. Not only does going on Facebook open me up to the risk of being 'friended' by people who picked on me in high school (of whom there are many, though I brought it on myself), but it's also a much more backward-looking system.

Let me put it this way: on Twitter, you're actively encouraged to seek out new people - Twitter's own website constantly throws up suggestions for people you might find interesting, and everything is geared towards meeting new people. On Facebook, the new people you meet are friends of friends, and the main focus seems to be on keeping in touch with people you know or used to know.

Well, I know the people I know. And if I used to know someone and fell out of touch with them, it's usually - not always, but usually - because I decided I wanted to. I'd much rather my real-life friends (he said, as if he had any friends in real life - or indeed as if he had any life outside the internet) keep in touch with me more privately, by phone and email and - best of all - face-to-face. I'm prepared to accept that Facebook is a useful tool for managing event invites, but I don't want to actually socialise on Facebook.

Maybe I'm being irrational. But I'll leave launching myself into the Facebook ocean as late as possible.

Wow, this was a really rambly post... I thought I had a lot more to say than this. I've got blog posts planned on outlining, blurb writing, and the map for (hopefully) the coming week, so check back then for actual content! ;)

1 comment:

  1. I don't promote, because like you, nothing of mine is yet published. But I do have a presence on Facebook (with 25 fans, not all of whom are my real-life friends) and I do have 30 odd friends on Goodreads, and I believe I have collected some of the most important YA reviewers on the site. I'm making contacts for the future, I'm not trying to sell to anyone yet.
    On my Facebook public page, people seem to enjoy when I just give little random updates into what's going on in my writer's world. On Goodreads I was asked to be someone's beta reader.
    Once you get to know Facebook as a private citizen, you can change all your privacy settings so people you hate won't be able to spy on you. You don't have to add someone just because they request you (what is this, kindergarten?).
    But in comparison to both, I have the most followers on Twitter.