Getting the word out

It’s February 28th, and as I work on other projects I continue to engage in as many means as possible to raise reader awareness of Becoming Darkness. It’s not easy, to be honest. Whether your traditionally published, as I am, or self-published (as many millions of others are), getting the word out about your work is never easy. On alone there are listings for almost fifteen million books. Other listings suggest that there are something like thirty plus million separate paperback titles out there, and each week literally tens of thousands of self- and traditionally published books are released to the reading public to add to these enormous numbers.

As a traditionally published writer I have the benefit of a publisher who does marketing and PR for my book, but even with that kind of backing and the fact that the book is in bookstores and libraries throughout North America (and online at numerous sites around the globe), the odds are stacked against me. As a writer I have to hope that a sufficiently large enough core of readers discovers and likes the book enough to spread the word and thus encourage others to seek it out. Word of mouth remains perhaps the single most important instrument by which a book can go from obscurity to bestseller. Without that, it can be difficult to be heard amidst the clamor of other authors seeking an audience for their works.

These days a writer can’t just write. As a writer you have to engage in a host of activities that will lead to better recognition of yourself and your book(s). Traditional or self-published, you have to put yourself out there on social media and elsewhere, building a brand and making connections with people who might become readers of your books. On that score, I was invited by author Linda Lee to appear on an episode of her Book Nerd Paradise show (on YouTube), which was recorded on Thursday, the 25th of February. Linda was a great host and I had an enjoyable time talking with her (if you don’t count my nerves, which unfortunately are all too evident in the episode).

Now, when I was first invited to appear on Linda’s show my initial reaction was to take a pass because I have a tendency to avoid situations that make me uncomfortable – and public speaking of any kind unquestionably qualifies as one of those. But in the end I accepted. I did so for two reasons: 1) that it would have been a waste of a great opportunity to promote my book; and 2) that you never overcome your fears if you keep running away from them. So yeah, I probably look and sound as nervous as I felt on Linda’s show (especially when reading a passage from Becoming Darkness), but I’m rather proud of the fact that I actually fought through my nerves and did it.

To many of you this is a minor thing and for the super-confident out there it probably borders on incomprehensible, but for a person who has been terribly shy all his life and suffers from social anxiety, it’s a big deal. And if I ever get another opportunity to do something similar, I’m sure I’ll do better for having had this experience first. For that, above all else, I really want to thank Linda Lee. She was such a gracious host and did her best to make me feel comfortable. Book Nerd Paradise is also such a great project on her part. As an author, she understands the difficulties writers face in getting an audience for their books, so these episodes are a wonderful means by which writers of all sorts can connect with readers in a way they might otherwise not and become a bit more than a name on the cover of a book.

You can find my episode of Book Nerd Paradise on the Book Nerd Paradise channel on Youtube. And even if it makes you cringe to hear me read from my book, at least check out the end of the video for details about the giveaway of a signed, hardcover, first edition author’s copy of Becoming Darkness. The contest is international, though any winner outside of Canada and the United States will probably have to wait anywhere from six to ten weeks to receive the copy of the book. This is because airmail costs are just too prohibitive for me and I must therefore send the book surface mail. That means it’ll be traveling overland and by ship, which naturally takes a lot longer than by air. Anyway, check out the video. Cringe. Laugh. Have a good chuckle. And be sure to enter the contest!

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