The other day my second novel Seeking the Dark rose again in the Amazon charts after my husband and I returned from the Whitby Goth Festival in the North of England. While there I had been handing out my business cards, and chatting with other goths about my books and writing. The weather wasn’t great as we did have a lot of rain, but after two years of missing both Whitby and the festival it was lovely to meet up with our friends again.

On receiving my royalty statement, I was shock to find I had earn the grand total of 0.16p. Of course, I wasn’t expecting to have a bestseller overnight. My dear friend, Ivy Lord (AKA Maggie Ford) explained to me years ago, that she didn’t at first earn much money from her writing. It was a long uphill struggle, so I have always known it would be tough. I love writing, but I’m sad that it isn’t paying enough for me to be able to promote it more.

As the cost of living is on the rise, I have to think carefully about where, and how much I spend on promoting and what sort of return I will receive. Most of the time I just promote across the internet, (i.e. sharing posts like this one) in the hope that someone might select one of my novels to buy, but it’s all very much hit and miss. I’m on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook promoting my writing and books. The trouble is you can become to easily side-tracked and obsessive with promoting your published work you forget about focusing on writing your next book.

Paying to promote your work may save you time, so you can stay focused on writing your next novel, but it is just as much a gamble too. I’ve set myself a budget and try to stay with in that limit. Again, it is too easy to fall into the trap of blowing a large sum of money in hope of huge returns, but there’s no guarantee. Remember, promoting is all about reaching your novel’s target audience and, of course, writing the right book at the right time.

I can’t say for sure whether I’ve reached my target audience through just posting across the internet or paying for promotional sites to market for me. Have my sales been steady? Are my books selling well? I can’t answer these questions. I have no idea. Personally, I don’t feel I’m doing enough, but I’m always scared I will bore the pants off readers, if I’m too pushy.

Five months ago, one of my short stories appeared on Tony Walker’s Classic Ghost Stories podcasts. Tony did a wonderful job of reading the Chimes at Midnight and then interviewed me afterwards. I received some wonderful comments from his listeners. The other evening while I was feeling down, I went back to see if there had been any new comments left. What a wonderful surprise was waiting there for me.

To read that the listener had not only enjoyed my story but put my writing in the same category as Wilkie Collins blew my mind, lifted my confidence and made me smile. I was seriously thinking about going back to writing short stories rather than novels. A lot of work goes into writing a novel for so little return. Thank you so much, Kelli Ryan for such a positive review just when I needed it the most. I’m now busy working through the last edits of my next novel.


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