Indie Visibility: a Small Voice in the Crowd
In Wales’s capital city, Cardiff, about twenty minutes up the road from where I live, sits the magnificent Millennium Stadium. It’s where Wales plays its home rugby internationals. For those who don’t know, rugby is our national sport and we can get a little, er, passionate when it comes to supporting our national team. The stadium has a capacity of 74,000 and a sliding roof that, when closed, creates a seething cauldron, a malestrom, of noise. I was last there in March to watch Wales drub England to win the Six Nations title. The roof was closed that evening and a capacity crowd shouted, cheered and sang its heart out. Even the most one-eyed English supporter would have to concede that the atmosphere was simply astounding.
Okay, but what has this to do with indie visibility? Well, a friend of mine, with no knowledge of indie publishing, has just finished reading my new release, The Cleansing. She sent me a private message on Facebook to say how much she had enjoyed the book and something to the effect that it must be doing really well. Like me, she is a rugby fan and I tried to explain why my book is not doing particularly well by using a metaphor (as we writers are want to do). I replied that trying to get The Cleansing noticed is like, “trying to be heard in a packed Millennium Stadium, roof closed, but you’re only allowed to whisper.”
And that’s what it feels like. I’ve posted about my novel most places I can without spamming; my publishers are doing the same; I have an ad running on Goodreads; I have accumulated some glowing reviews; bloggers have mentioned the book on their sites. Yet it hasn’t exactly set the book world alight.
Not that I have any right to expect it to do so. I’m just another unknown floundering in a vast sea of unknowns. And I accept that. In the absence of the backing of a Big Six marketing department (though they only give full support to certain A list authors) or a large advertising budget, I shall continue to plug away in the limited places where it’s allowed, and might even get that website up and running. I won’t expect The Cleansing to become popular overnight or at all, though of course I shall hope it does. If it happens, it will be a slow process, but I’m in this for the long haul. Anybody entering this business expecting instant success is in for a world of disappointment.
But how can I even hope that The Cleansing will be successful if I can’t make the great reading public aware of its existence? This is where readers come in.
Let me make clear that readers don’t owe authors a thing. If they choose not to buy our books, or finish them, or leave reviews, that is entirely their prerogative. But those readers who do buy our books and enjoy them can play a huge part in the books’ success or otherwise. They can tell their family and friends; they can leave reviews; they can mention the books in online discussions; they can tweet about them. In short, they can spread the word about our books far more effectively than we as authors can.
So if there are any readers looking in who have read and enjoyed The Cleansing, or any indie book, you have the ability to help make these books successful. You can add to indies’ voices so we’re not forced to whisper in a packed Millennium Stadium. I firmly believe that it is the readers – and only readers – who now truly wield such power.
The Cleansing, an apocalyptic science fiction novel, the first in the Earth Haven series, is now available as both a paperback and e-book at Amazon and many other online retailers.