Well it’s been nearly a week since Laikanist Times hit the electronic book shelves. And inbetween sending out more promotional messages than an anti-social bastard like myself would ever want to, I’ve had a little time to kick back and reflect on the ordeal.
This was always an experiment, being the first time I’ve released anything other than short stories to the general public as well as my first tentative experience with Indie publishing. As with all good experimentation I threw myself into it with reckless abandon, dabbling with dangerous chemicals and high explosives on the assumption that nothing at all could possibly go wrong. And as can probably be expected, a few things did, which I’ll share here both as a reminder to myself and as a semi-cautionary tale to those in similar positions.
Before I do though I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who’s downloaded, shared and been generally positive about Laikanist Times which despite my slightly inept campaign to push it has, seemingly, done quite well so far. Running the free promo to get things started I’ve obsessively been checking the download numbers and even though I lack any frame of reference for what actual success might look like they seem to be quite good. The relief of knowing that hundreds of people out there now have my work on their phones, tablets, PCs and minds is massive. It’s a very daunting thing to reveal your work and actually look for people to read it, especially compared to my usual method of just sticking it out there in some dark corner and pretending not to care. But the first victory for any aspirant writer is just knowing there’s some sort of audience out there seeing what you do and it feels good to have that one under my belt.
Anyway, back to the bad. Firstly clicking on Amazon’s exclusivity button was a mistake, presumably there are some benefits to be had from doing so (I certainly thought so when I did it) but for all the talk of the Kindle revolution it’s a big, bad world of electronic mediums out there. And whilst the Kindle app may be available on most people are easily put off by not having the immediate freedom to grab something which will work for them by default. Which is the joy of hard copies really, despite the cost involved in releasing them books remain the most universal medium and while I made a conscious choice not to bring one out for the novella I can’t help but lament the limiting effect not doing so has on any potential audience. Even without a physical book though having made myself available on platforms like the Nook and through my own site would have been a smart move and one I recommend to others rather than putting all your faith in Amazon, no matter how much of a megalith it may seem to be to Indie writers.
My next minor cock up was in fixating on the project, rather than myself. It’s no easy thing to fixate on yourself and your name, unless you’re the sort of person who likes that sort of thing and therefore not the sort of person anyone should want to be, but in promoting Laikanist Times as an almost separate entity I know I made a rookie mistake. It wouldn’t have taken much to negate, a few more links to this site, or my new Goodreads profile, a bit more digging for names on the mailing list – anything which could have anchored me with those who (hopefully) will be my future readers. But the gleeful release of having an actual thing to share kind of got the better of me and whilst I’m certainly glad it worked as it did I’m unhappily aware that I’ll have to find those same people all over again when I release my next thing.
And as for that next thing, it’ll be Crashed America, the long awaited novel which I’ve threatened to release half a dozen times without ever taking that final step. Currently it’s been edited to completion, the cover art has been designed and all that’s really lacking is my final decision to go ahead with it. I won’t set a firm date just yet but allowing for a couple of months to play through the Laikanist Times experiment I’d say a summer release is looking likely.
For now though I’ve got to get back to telling everyone and their dog about Laikanist Times…
P.S. On a final note I’ll say another thing that I should have mentioned more often during the initial bout of promotion – if you like Laikanist Times share it and review it! Amazon reviews are, from what I’m told, a pretty major factor in keeping a book visible and successful and that’s what I really need to do. Plus blog mentions, Twitter mentions, graffiti on toilet walls, tattoos, firework displays, articles, mumbled conversations to strangers on street corners and any other form of spreading the good word are massively appreciated. Indie writers rely pretty much solely on the good will of their readers because we sure as hell don’t have any money to get things done.