Starting

(18 March 2016 – 10:53 PM)

“Why’d you feed off him? You said we only feed off the bad people.” “He wouldn’t hold the door for a lady. Now that is a bad man.” “But that other man roofied a woman.” “We don’t fuck with other predators, you never know what haunts the shadows, and there aren’t enough of us to win a war.” “So… we eat impolite people?” “That’s about the gist of it, yes.”

A writer is a person who has imaginary friends well into adulthood. Just do me a favour, and keep that in mind.

I’ve wanted to get into indie publishing for years. A friend of mine has been publishing for two years and hasn’t made a great deal of her books (by her own reckoning). Because we’ve been friends for years, she finally looked at me last week and said:

Just… shut the fuck up and do it already.”

But, where do I even begin?”

She doesn’t consider herself a success in any form, but she absolutely loves it. She’s also a great help. She’s done a ton of research and has followed… about ten percent of it.

She’s also a little pissed at me.

Let me just start off by saying that (because I want to protect their identities) no one will be referred to in my blog by their real name unless I’m linking to them. Best not to post something on the internet about someone without their explicit permission and I can’t hire the lawyers to make up those sorts of contracts. I also want to protect them because they have regular day jobs and being associated with someone who writes Romance/Erotica isn’t always the best idea. I love these people, I don’t want to put their jobs at risk.

Or possibly out their sexual lives to their mothers…

So, let’s call her… Beth. Beth has a pen name, which isn’t really a pen name so much as her actual name. But Beth publishes. Good for Beth!

She writes fantasy and science fiction, with some little bit of romance to it. Just a little bit. She doesn’t want to market as romance, but by God, she should.

Beth doesn’t believe she’s good enough for anything, basically. Years and years of abuse from family and then outside influences (and that’s something I’m going to get smacked for) have left her with a humble outlook, but also a determination to make something worth the effort doing.

I suppose for her—and me—the real point is that she’s trying and stumbling. Most people might not even notice the stumble, but she does. So she sits in the corner and tries to talk to people as they go by.

Myself, my approach is a little different. And when I say that, I literally mean only a little.

Beth told me how she’s doing things, then she explained to me what I’m supposed to do. Which is great of her, Beth is a fantastic teacher because she won’t just tell you her point of view.

The first thing Beth told me to do was set up my foundation. Near as Beth can tell, this involves Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and a website/blog.

Check, check, check, check.

So. You have your accounts, you have your pithy little saying (Once upon a time, there was a little world with a big story), maybe a starting image. Your really bad author picture (mine is pixellated to almost nothing).

Then what?

I returned to Beth before the blog was set up. We are good friends after all. She shrugged on most of it, then focused on Twitter. This is something she struggles on, but she had done the research on and understood the point of Twitter.

Go on Twitter, make an account, friend all the people. Of course… I… uh… I like pushing buttons.

I visited Beth, I sat beside her and was supposed to be watching as she marketed. Watching an indie author work is boring. When you’re in it, it’s exciting, but watching is a just yawn. So I was sitting beside Beth, and she turned to me and frowned.

Stop texting Dorian.”

Not, he broke up with me again.”

So… sex texts in three days?”

Probably, but at least I’m educating you as you’re teaching me.”

What are you doing, then?”

I’m on Twitter.”

That doesn’t work.”

I have forty-eight followers.”

It took me six fucking months to do that!”

Beth has been at it almost two years, she hasn’t broken two hundred followers yet. She’s not one to shout out from the rooftops and she doesn’t like pushing buttons. Beth is more a… her work will speak for itself, type of person. She likes organic likes.

I don’t blame her.

Those organic likes? Those are people who picked up her books because they wanted to, not because it was free for two days and someone had nothing else new in front of them.

My twitter is now nearly even with hers. I’m not bothered by the extra followers in the least, I’m not afraid of saying something stupid. Twitter moves so fast that no one probably noticed yesterday when I posted a link while Beth attempted to Google whether a link would appear as an image or just a link. I saved her a bit of research, considering she had been at it for twenty minutes and the search wasn’t helped by either of our terms.

Maybe we just aren’t familiar enough with the lingo.

Beth has sat beside me the whole time, trying to help me out. She found my flower header (if you’re reading this long after the fact, the flowers may be gone) on a wonderful site called Unsplash. She helped me struggle with a software to make my little author profile (this will change), which looked great on the Facebook page and even pulling up the image, but pixellated on Twitter.

After setting up my Facebook page, she shrugged, and said, “I only update important stuff. Who the hell wants clickbait and random stuff on Facebook all the time? More events you have, more you update.”

Her research has said to update Facebook at least once a day. She has sixty followers, most are family and friends, she doesn’t feel right constantly going on about how nothing has moved, so she doesn’t.

But that’s Beth.

On Twitter, Beth tries to update as often as possible, but I’ve seen her sit in front of the screen, struggling. I can practically see the debate going on inside her head. I’ve heard it so often before—though only after getting several drinks into her—about how no one wants to hear anything about her waste of a life.

Beth struggles with what was done with her, but she doesn’t give up. I know that underneath it all is a woman who can, and will, smack a stupid person. I’ve uh…. had a reddened cheek to prove it. I smacked her back.

Then it led to a pillow fight, in lingerie.

I’m kidding of course. Beth’s strong, but she still struggles a lot to overcome things from her past. Updating constantly is one of those things. So she sits before Twitter and stares at it and tries to say something but nothing comes out. Then the anxiety starts, because she knows it’s a simple matter, that very few others struggle with something to tell the world.

Yet, when I told her that I didn’t know what to post to Twitter she looked at me. Then she frowned slightly and shook her head.

Twitter everything you text me, except add hashtags and maybe a word that you can hashtag.”

She’s brilliant. It’s worked so well.

Beth does not appreciate the 6 A.M. text messages of, “hello, beautiful,” as I fully embrace it. She’s up early most days, but not that day. That day was a day off work and she had been hoping to sleep in before she had a lazy day of writing some.

Whoops.

 

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