Readers (and book bloggers) are just the best
So, Alice in No-Man’s-Land has been out for a week or two now. It hasn’t jumped to the top of the NYT Bestseller list of course, but it’s getting a very good response so far. More or less everything has gone about as I expected so far – the ‘having to coordinate everything yourself’ part, as well as the ‘launching without the platform of a major publisher’ part (more on that in a later post). One part was a little bit unexpected, though, and that’s what I wanted to post about today.
When I decided to self-publish Alice in No-Man’s-Land, I knew there would be both a kind of liberation (more freedom to do what I wanted, and less pressure to hit a certain invisible sales target before a certain invisible deadline) and also new hurdles (there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing and, as noted earlier, you have to coordinate finding an editor, cover-designer, etc. yourself…or in my case with help from a great agent). The unexpected bit was just how supportive the people I’ve dealt with over the years were when I approached them about this particular project.
When I first sent out feelers in an attempt to get more exposure for Alice I was very up front about the fact that, unlike my previous novels, this one was self-published. When I did that, I fully expected that most of the bloggers, reviewers, etc. I contacted would be either unable (some sites have strict policies against reviewing self-published novels, largely so that they don’t get buried in requests I think) or unwilling to spend time promoting a book that wasn’t traditionally published. In some cases that was true, but it truly warmed my heart at just how many people were willing to help me out regardless. I don’t want to name names, mostly because I don’t want to call attention either to those who weren’t able to help me out (again, in most cases it’s a policy thing and rules are rules so there really are no hard feelings), but quite a few people who I wasn’t even sure would remember who I was were more than happy to read the book, review it, and promote it on their sites. While I thanked them all individually, their willingness to help touched me more than they know.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am socially awkward, and this extends to social media as well a lot of the time. The back and forth of social interaction that many people crave often makes me extremely anxious – not because I hate it, but because I’m not good at it. When I first sent those feelers out, though, it kicked off a sequence of days where I found myself interacting with responders almost constantly. It felt so overwhelming at times that it did make me anxious, but anxious in a good way (if that’s a thing). Maybe I was more excited than anxious. People I did not expect to asked for copies of my novel to read, and offered me words of encouragement and support which were really important to me because I wasn’t sure how this whole thing would be received.
Thankfully, so far it’s been received quite well. Not on the NYT Bestseller list yet, no, but the response on Goodreads and Amazon has been extremely positive. It wouldn’t be doing even that without the help of all of the awesome readers/bloggers I’ve met over the years. It may sound corny or cliche, but at the end of the day readers are why I do this, and their enthusiasm for this project really lifts my heart.