Monday, 11 June 2012

Trying to surf Amazon

As an aspiring writer, I've been through a few phases of hope and despondency.  I was seventeen, naive and with the world at my feet when someone I respected pointed out that my dreams of becoming an author were unrealistic.  It's been a long journey back, but my novel is nearly complete... 

The sense of achievement is immense, even though these last few hurdles sometimes seem so challenging. And, while the difficult hunt for agent and publisher lies ahead,  the e-book revolution peeks from the side-lines, alluring.  With my new kindle in hand, and twiddling my thumbs at my in-laws' house at the weekend, I decided to try to find a kindle book written by an unknown author.  I supposed that I would learn something, whether the book was good or terrible. 

What I discovered was that trying to find what I wanted was like looking for a needle in a haystack.    I scrolled painstakingly past countless erotic novels, German books, fantasy...I tried different search terms; I tried to look for e-books priced at 99p. Amongst the tens of thousands of books on there, how can any author be noticed? How can anyone attract the target audience they have written for? After an hour I was thoroughly discouraged, and still hadn't found what I was looking for. (I think there's a song in there, somewhere...!)

 In the end, I settled for a book with hundreds of five-star reviews which Amazon had been recommending pointedly for a few weeks. (It was a good book. I did enjoy it, and it was my kind of story. But it wasn't the unknown author I was after).

So now I feel less secure in e-publishing as a back-up plan, and I'm wondering what on earth an unknown author can do to market their work successfully.  I suppose the first thing is to make sure my novel is the best it can be.  With that in mind, this week I must make time to meet up with my police detective friend and exploit his experiences.

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