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  • Alyse Gray

Plague Month 4, The Emotional Toll of Marketing a Book

I recent got on Bookstagram, the so-called corner of Instagram for readers. At first it was really exciting looking at all the beautiful, dreamy photos of books next to lattes and flowers, and fantasizing about my book being in those pictures. I got super excited and messaged all of the pretty book people to see if they would do this for me if I sent them a free copy.


Apparently it doesn't work that way. As I scrolled longingly through their neatly organized bookshelves and coffee shop filled lives, they either ignored me or sent the curt, cold, "I'm not interested" line. Nothing would move their hearts of stone, not even my glorious macro-influencer status of 132K followers. GOOSEBUMPS: THE GAME AND RUSSIAN JEWELRY COMPANIES WANT ME TO MARKET THEIR PRODUCTS YET BOOKSTAGRAM REJECTS ME. Now I start flinching whenever I see a perfectly organized nightstand with a book on it. Succulent and cat photos also rub the emotional wounds a little.


So now I'm not only trying to prove publishers wrong, but I have a bone to pick with Bookstagram. SOMEDAY YOU WILL REGRET NOT TAKING ME UP ON THAT FREE COPY. I'm especially judging all the Ravenclaws and Enneagram Type 4s. WE COULD HAVE BEEN BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.


But I set a goal of selling 10,000 copies of the book and that's what I'm going to do. I may not be super optimistic like everyone important expects you to be these days, but I am practical in that I know what I can accomplish. Just like running 13 miles on a treadmill without any training (which I regrettably did once), it's pretty ridiculous and probably dumb, but I have made up my mind to do it and I will finish the race. At this stage I'm 100% driven by the need to prove everyone wrong, and while it's super-motivating, my mental health is definitely suffering. If I hadn't already spent almost 2K on editing and fact-checking, I'd hire someone to do this marketing stuff for me, but I need the money for my wine budget. I don't think I've ever had this much wine in my entire life.


If you're a writer, here's a little unglamorous truth nugget. The blog posts that list out how to market your self-published book in 10 easy steps are a bunch of crap. The reality of it is that if you aren't famous or wealthy you're going to have to cope with thousands of rejections and ignores just to get a few people to agree to say "yes." Basically, prepare for emotional exhaustion and stock up on wine. You may actually need a subscription to wine. This may sound really negative, but there is hope buried underneath it all. If I can do this, you can do it too!


In the end I'm not sure if this will even be worth the liver damage, but it's going to happen. Oh and here, watch my overly dramatic book trailer on YouTube!





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