When One works backward, it takes longer to move forward

That seems like a no-brainer, right? Do anything backward and it’s hard to see your progress, or for that matter, where you’re going. But the longer I’m at this project of producing and marketing my books, I realized that I’ve done a lot of things backward.

Sometimes it feels I’m having a tug-of-war with myself.

All the ‘so-called’ experts are full of advice on how to market a self-published work. Some of them do have credible suggestions on how to do this, and the most honest advice has come from those who did it wrong to begin with, then learned from their mistakes.

But sometimes we have to make our own mistakes before we realize that maybe we should have paid attention to that advice, and should have done so a long time ago.

When I think back on my teenage years when my mother warned me about making mistakes that I might regret later in life, I paid no attention. What did my mom know about being a teenager? She was old. I couldn’t hold back on living life because my mom made a few mistakes that she didn’t want me to make as well. I had to make my own bad choices, even if I knew some of them weren’t the best. It was my life and I had to live it, or ruin it, the way I wanted to.

Fortunately, I survived my teenage years without any serious consequences. Though I did make some bad choices, they were not bad enough to ruin my life. Just bad enough to learn and grow from.

So, why is it now, that in my sixth decade of life, I’m still not listening to the advice of those who know better? Did I not learn anything from all the stupid mistakes I made in the past from not paying attention? Apparently not.

The Internet is full of professional writers, publishers, and marketers who are willing to share their knowledge, and a lot of it is free for the taking. Books abound on the proper steps to market your self-published book. Though each of these may offer different bits of advice, from my observation, there are two basic things that all of these experts say MUST be done when preparing to market your book to an online audience:

  • At least a year or more in advance of the release date for your first book, have a website already up and running. Start building your author platform, brand and Internet presence. Be plugged into a network of other authors and readers long before you start pitching your own work. Then, three to six months before release date, start creating a buzz about your book on all of your social media feeds where you’ve already made a connection with potential book buyers and reviewers.
  • At least six months in advance, set up an email list on your website for subscribers to sign up for your newsletter and or blog posts. Occasionally send out little bits of your writings, promote other authors, or send out book release updates to these subscribers to keep them interested and engaged.

So, did I follow the experts advice and have these two important steps in place prior to releasing my first book?

You already know the answer to that, or this post would have no merit.

My website launched the same day that my first book, Curse of the Chosen One, was released on September 1st, 2020. Not a year in advance, not even a month in advance. THE SAME DAY! Though that was not the plan, launching my website felt a little out of my control, as my website designer and I were not on the same page regarding some of the creative details.

However, had I started the website creation process a year earlier, rather than waiting only months before my book was due for release, we could have had all those bugs worked out long before. I could have saved myself from a breakout of hives-literally!

My second book, The Blue Amulet, was released in December of 2020, and my third book, The First Feymora, in October of 2021, and still I had no newsletter set up or email list created. Finally, in early 2022 I had an email subscriber software added to my website, but it was another six months before I created a welcome newsletter! Talk about doing it all backwards!

So, if I knew the proper steps to take prior to releasing my books to the online world, why didn’t I take them so I would be set up for success right out of the gate?

Hmmm, that is the million-dollar question, and the answer always comes back to one basic fact:


Fear of anything new and techy, fear of the unknown, fear of exposure, fear of failure…and the list just goes on.

Unfortunately, I’ve let fear too often drive the bus on each leg of this journey. As a self-published author, it’s all on me to figure out how to market my work. Wearing all the hats and be my own self-motivator hasn’t been easy. It’s much less uncomfortable to walk away then to figure out how to move the bolder out of my path.

But when I walk away from what I don’t yet know, from what I don’t yet understand, or I’m too damn afraid or stubborn to put myself out there, guess what happens – NOTHING!

At the top of my list of excuses is my age, as most of the social media platforms tend to appeal to the younger generation. Though I do use the basics—FB, Instagram, and my blog, all of the rest of them seem out of touch for me. I can’t relate to the videos of my cute dancing granddaughters on TikTok, or the short reels on YouTube of talking dogs, uppity cats, or the gluttony of stupidity caught on camera. Nor can I relate to the continual banter on Twitter. Constantly posting pictures of my boring life, or relentlessly pitching my books to the world, is just not me.

So, how does a silver-aged fantasy novelist make a splash in the big wide pond of self-published books in a social media, market-driven world? Doing it backward hasn’t helped, but sometimes it takes going backward before I realize what’s not working.

This very simple, but powerful message came across my FB feed recently, and it spoke directly to my soul:

“Remember that when you take your first step into the life of your dreams, the first to greet you there will be fear. Nod. Keeping walking.” (Author – Brianna Wiest)

Too many times I’ve walked away when greeting fear. “It’s too hard. You’ll never understand how to do it. Just turn around and walk away. You’re not brave enough!” That kind of negative self-talk and easy way out has to stop, and stop today.

So, if you’re still reading this ranting of a frustrated author, first let me say, thank-you! And since I’m not above begging, could you please be so kind and jump over to my website and sign up for my now up-and-running welcome newsletter, and let me know what you think? markofthefaerie.com

My hope is that by being authentic in these blog posts—themed around facing my fears—maybe I can make a connection with another soul trying to do the same. That’s why I titled my blog:

                                                                    But What If I Can Fly? 

                                                              We won’t know unless we leap.

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