Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to get your novel read

I've harped on about this before but it's important. I'll try and keep it brief.

As you know this blog was originally conceived as a promotional platform for my novel A Half Life of One. The idea was that through a combination of my innate brilliance and wit and a crafty application of web marketing techniques I would build up a large readership who would then go and read the novel.

That doesn't work.

There's a number of reasons for this. For a start, it's extremely difficult, slow and time-consuming trying to build up your readership. To make matters worse, many of the people who visit this blog are simply not interested in reading my novel. Why should they be? Just like anyone who wanders into a bookshop on the High Street there's lots of choice, something else catches their eye, they don't have time, it's not the sort of thing they're interested in etc.

In other words most of them come here for completely different reasons.

I know all this because I've studied the stats over on Half Life's blog. They tell me where the visitors have come from, what bits of the book they've read - if any - and how long they've stayed.

So as a mass-marketing promotional tool this blog is a failure.

It's not all bad news though, not by any means. As I mentioned in an earlier post I recently stumbled across a blog called Free Online Novels run by Jennifer Armstrong. I submitted a link to Half Life which Jennifer pasted up the next day. Since then Half Life has had over a hundred visits. From people looking for something to read. Over sixty visits in the last three days alone.

The conclusion I draw is obvious. If you've got a half-decent book that deserves to be published get yourself a free blog, shove your novel on it and then tell Jennifer. You'll get readers coming to you from all over the world. Guaranteed.

Self-publishing these days really can be that simple.

Of course, you may want something more than just plain vanilla readers looking at your book. Maybe you want potential publishers and agents too. That's a whole different ball game and I'd welcome any thoughts and suggestions you might have on how to go about it.

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