Unread Books (and a taste of legitimacy)

Beneath the Floor - October 2021
Wallpaper forest

As the clock marches ever closer to the release date for my first book - 31st October 2021, if you want to put it in your diary - I’ve been forced to pop on my marketing hat. Now, us writers are a curious bunch, and I would say we almost unanimously see marketing for what it truly is. The devil’s work! Trickery! Poppycock!

“If my stories are any good,” the writer muses, “then the gods shall decree that they be read!”

The writer nods to themself, adjusting their glasses. “Yes. The audience shall come to me.”

But alas, it is not true. There are vast, teeming oceans of books out there; wonderous stories, with fantastic characters and grand ideas. It is entirely within the realms of possibility that one among them could be the finest words ever put to paper. It doesn’t matter. Their pages go unread. Zero sales. Zero reviews. Lost, amongst the abundance. A perfect snowball that never got the chance to roll downhill. Instead, it simply sits there. Cold, forever.

That is the fate of an outrageous quantity of books. It’s nobody’s fault, of course. There are, quite simply, too many books to read! Not to mention, as a reader, you have to actually find the bleedin’ thing! If I think back to the books I’ve read over my lifetime, there are a limited number of reasons why I read it.

- I was recommended it, by someone whose opinion I trusted.

- I stumbled upon it, through accident, or because I enjoyed a similar book.

- I was forced to read it for - *shudder* - educational purposes.

So essentially, all the books I’ve read, I’ve relied on somebody else to read it first. I’ve simply been a middle link within a reading chain. Now, you may well be one of those wonderful first adopters. In fact, if you’re reading this, you are! But the tricky part is - how do you find new books? By accident? Do you hunt them out? Have you sold your soul to the Barnes and Noble gods?

And when you actually find a book, do you instantly read it, regardless of the cover, or blurb, or preview, or reviews? They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but everyone does. As much as some people might want to, you can’t read ALL the books you stumble across. People’s time is incredibly precious, and with so much choice, why take a gamble?

And so, I find myself trying to avoid this fate. Placing the marketing hat upon my head. Pretending it fits. It turns out I haven’t had to sell my soul. Just make a plan, research ‘keywords’, approach a few people, create a few pictures - even a ‘book trailer’, which I have to say isn’t too shabby at all. And although it’s too early to tell… it does appear to be bearing the first blossoms of fruit.

I’ve been invited to write a guest article for a horror website. I have a book blogger asking permission to review my book. One of my stories is due to be read out on a podcast and American radio station.

It appears that for my own snowball, there might just be a gentle slope to gather speed.

Imposter syndrome is very real, especially for a brand new author. Hopefully some of these extra-curricular activities will bolster my confidence, spur me on. So far, I’ve only been on one podcast - the Writer’s, Artist’s and Reader’s Guild - something I never actually got a chance to share with most of you, as it was before the Newsletter was fully established. But as much as I was nervous doing it, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Of course, it always helps having a good host, and Chris was about the nicest guy I could have asked for to ease me into unfamiliar waters. Who knows, I might even see if I can pop on again, if he’ll have me. *Adjusts marketing hat*

What excites me at the moment is very soon I’m going to have an actual book. Something complete, that I can point to - or raise to the sky - and say “I made this!”. Perhaps it is doomed to stay a frozen block of ice, like so many others, but maybe - just maybe - with the right push… it could be the start of something truly special.

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