writing life

Brain Blinders

I had a weird case of overwhelmed paralysis yesterday, where there were about three things of equal importance vying for attention in my brain, which meant I had a hard time making any progress on any of them. It was like the work equivalent of when you start to head to one room to get or do something, but then you think of something else you need to do in another room and you find yourself standing still as you try to go both places at once, putting your weight on one foot to head one direction, then shifting your weight to the other foot to head the other direction. Eventually, you have to pick a direction and go. But when that’s happening when you’re writing, even when you pick one, the other ones pop up in your head to distract you while you’re working on that thing.

Yesterday, I had three books shouting for attention, plus there’s that vacation planning thing that got complicated by figuring out how to actually redeem that voucher. Meanwhile, I started thinking about what I need to do about marketing because my book sales are down a bit.

There’s a marketing workshop on Sunday that I was pondering, but I suspect I know what they’d tell me to do, and the problem is that I won’t want to do any of it, and I’m not entirely convinced that it would work. They’re going to tell us to have a mailing list and do social media, maybe get a “street team” and possibly Facebook ads.

I’m not sure that addresses my particular issue, which is that the people who know about me love my books and buy them, but I’m almost entirely unknown outside that small group. Almost any bit of marketing I can do is preaching to the choir, reaching people who’ve already bought everything. A mailing list might be nice for reminding people when I have something new out, but it’s not going to bring in new readers. I’m not even sure how effective it would be when everyone and their dog has a mailing list. You can’t visit a web site these days without getting one of those “sign up for my mailing list” pop-ups. I suspect most people run screaming at the thought of another mailing list.

I haven’t managed to get 600 Twitter followers in three years. Facebook doesn’t even spread your posts to the people who’ve actively asked to see them. And, again, preaching to the choir.

I need to figure out some ways to get beyond my loyal fans and make new loyal fans, or at least get new people to give my books a shot. That’s tricky when everything right now qualifies as backlist, with nothing new in a while. Yeah, that shouldn’t matter for new people, but it’s hard to get any kind of attention for a 13-year-old book. I guess I need to come up with a brilliantly viral tweet, or something.

For once, I have a Saturday and Sunday without plans (unless I do that workshop), so I may devote some time to thinking about this and coming up with a specific plan. Until then, it may keep begging for attention, along with all the other things. I need brain blinders.

4 Responses to “Brain Blinders”

  1. BookWorm604

    I am getting a lot of Amazon “commercials” for books on my FaceBook feed. Yes, I look at some once in a while and most of them are related to my favorite categories that I buy. SF, fantasy, cozy mystery. Since your books are at Amazon, maybe contact them to see how to get them to do this for you.. BookWorm604 (id from Twitter)

    • Shanna Swendson

      I think that mostly comes from what you’ve looked at on Amazon. I don’t think you can request that, other than possibly buying advertising, and I can’t buy ads for the first books in most of my series, since they’re published by someone else. But I am exploring some possible advertising things.

  2. Renske

    After mentioning your books a few times in an online reader’s group/book suggestion thread, I have noticed that several people respond that your books sound interesting and they add it to their (long) to-read list, but actually reading the book doesn’t seem to happen. It seems it doesn’t sound interesting enough compared those big, spectacular stories of a lot of current YA-books that gets a lot of attention.
    If one of them reads and likes it, it could easily leading to 5 or more people also reading the book, so I’m still hoping one time one of them starts reading. But my try to promote the book doesn’t get better than ‘it is amazing, I care a lot about the characters and it is written funny’ which is not very useful if other people are promoting their favourite books with much longer explanations.

    • Shanna Swendson

      Hmm, I wonder if it would help if I made some fun graphics or quotes that people could use to share info about my books. I totally get the long to-read list. Mine is out of control! So many books, so little time.

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