Why We Do That Thing We Do

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
–Ray Bradbury

Ever since I released my time travel novelette Timecast into the eBook Ethersphere, I’ve been asking myself how I can get more eyeballs on it. I’ve read all about Amazon’s KDP Select program. I’ve read all about how other authors have made a huge splash on Twitter. I’ve even read some posts by an author who says that all this Internet marketing schtick is hogwash and authors should learn to rely on more traditional means of marketing to get their words out there.

The glut of information out there about how to successfully market an eBook is overwhelming, to say the least. It is also depressing because there does not truly seem to be a right answer. This author says you must build a following, a brand, on social media. That author says you must get yourself an agent. Another author says you should pursue KDP Select if all you want tons and tons of downloads.

Perhaps the right answer, then, depends on these questions: why do you write and what do you want to accomplish by writing?

For me, those questions are easy to answer. I am a technical writer because it is my day job and they pay me to do it. I also get a certain amount of personal pleasure from imparting knowledge to those who seek it. I write fiction, on the other hand, because I have stories in my head. I think they are good stories. Therefore, I want to tell them.

Now, there are some obvious follow-up questions I might receive from others based on the answers I put forth above:

1. By wanting to tell your stories, you mean that you want to be a famous author. Like Stephen King. Right? Well, no, that’s not what I mean at all. Fame kills, fosters addiction, and creates insanity. And those famous people who are not dead, addicts, or insane are probably just well adjusted to their extravert natures. I am a notorious introvert. I like quiet and solitude.

2. Ok, so you don’t want to be famous. You’re already paid for writing, though. I’m sure you want to be rich. Ok, well who doesn’t want to be wealthy? However, I’m not seeking to make my fortune off published fiction. If getting rich were my ultimate goal, I would no doubt seek a psychologically healthier and more proven method, like winning the lottery or robbing a bank. That said, I don’t mind making a little side money on sales of my work. That’s one of the reasons Timecast has a price tag. The other reason is that I want to demonstrate that I believe my work has value.

3. So let me get this straight: you don’t want to be famous and you don’t want to get rich quick, but you do want tons of eyeballs in front of your stories? That’s it exactly.

4. But isn’t wanting tons of eyeballs in front of your stories exactly the same as wanting to be rich and famous? Why no, it isn’t. Not at all. I love to read. I want tons of eyeballs in front of my stories because I want others to love to read the same things I love to read. If I make a little money, that’s great, but I’ll never expect to be rich from it, unless you count the simple enrichment of sharing my tales.

5. My head hurts. Ugh, mine too. I think it’s all the social media noise. I would turn the volume down for you, but I’m not sure that I should. You see, I’ve answered my own questions to my own satisfaction, but I still have no real answers as to how to successfully implement a marketing strategy to achieve the goal those answers revealed.

So, what does the future hold for for this author? I’m going to keep writing and putting my eBooks (and eventually print books) out there. Beyond that, you’ll probably see me tweet about them from time to time. I’ll also update other related social networks, such as Goodreads, as I go. 

Of course, I’m open to other ideas.