Teadmill 100Once upon a time, there were authors and publishers. Then things changed, and authors had to be both – ideally at the same time. No problem, right? Well…

I tried for quite a while – more than a year, to be precise – to do both write and promote, and I found it to be a brutal assignment (especially when the demands of having a job and a family are added to the dance card). One result was that my progress on my second book slowed to a crawl, and often a standstill for months at a time. Clearly, there’s something wrong when promoting your writing gets in the way of your writing.

Which is why it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here. The reason hasn’t been neglecting my writing, but exercising discrimination regarding where and on what to write about – on social media to stay in touch with readers and potential readers, or on wrapping up my second book so that those readers and potential readers will have something that I hope they will conclude is more worth their while to read.

Happily, I’ve now put that second book through its fourth revision, and its time to reverse polarity, and go back into the production and promotion mode. Further to that effort, I hope to be return to putting in a regular appearance here. As in the past, where I think that I’ve learned anything useful along the way, I’ll pass that along. For starters, here are a few of the questions I’ll be looking into again after spending 3 1/2 years in the self-publishing trenches:

1. Amazon makes it incredibly easy to put out a book, using CreateSpace and their other tools. Just load up your cover and book, and if you’ve done a good job following the formatting directions, you’re off to the races.  Or, you can spend far more effort and money and have someone adapt your files and load them to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, GooglePlay and Kobo for eBook distribution, and LightningSource, for general paperback distribution. Is it worth it to do the latter, or are sales of genre books now so concentrated to Amazon that it’s a waste of time and money?

2. Is Twitter a complete waste of time? I’ll spare my thoughts for later, but will tip my personal belief that it’s 99% Emperor’s new clothes when it comes to self-publishing. And I’ll give lots of examples why.

3. What are the three most important promotional activities that self-published authors can employ? I wish I knew the answer to this, and don’t. My observation to date is that there is very little reliable information on what actually works. An interesting question is why?

So there you go. I’ll look forward to resuming the dialogue with those prior readers that have been patient and may continue to look in here from time to time to see what there is to see.

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