After several weeks of high summer temperatures, the weather turned a bit cooler this past week. I'm very appreciative of the drop in temperatures as I prefer autumn and winter over summer. But the change has also put me in a mood to work on other projects, some old and others new. During the past few months, my focus has been on the work required to launch the first novel in my fantasy series which is geared towards a young adult/new adult audience. I have always been a fan of fantasy stories, particularly high fantasy adventures which introduce readers to new worlds and cultures and lore. But I have also been equally a fan of supernatural and horror-based stories and folklore, and I have several projects which lean more towards these darker themes which I want to spend time on this fall.
My blog has not been getting many views lately which is giving me some concern in coming up with a marketing strategy for my finished novel. I have added a little teaser announcement to my Welcome Page, but if no one is visiting my blog, it is not going to be seen. Because of this, I spent most of yesterday afternoon (four to five hours) working on additional artwork and materials to share on social media in order to try and attract viewers to my book, but unfortunately, I had nothing useable by the end of my endeavors.
In getting ready to self-publish my novel, there comes the question of what to do about a cover for my book. Many writers I've talked to in the past have said that it's better to hire someone else to do cover art for your novel, leaning on the idea that other people are trained in marketing and graphic design and that most writers have not taken the time to learn such things. However, with the rise in self-publishing options, there has also been a rise in available templates which people can use to make their own book covers. So the question becomes one of preference, costs, and time management; is it better to create your book cover yourself or to hire someone to do it for you?
In any form of expression driven by public participation and desire for an audience, trends will develop. Whether you're talking fashion, artwork, music, slang, marketing, social media, scientific inquiry, or any number of other dynamic human forces, popularity and the desire for approval will affect what direction expression takes. One of the biggest areas of social life where trends can and do take over is in storytelling.
Over the weekend, I had planned to go on a day trip to one of my favorite natural areas with my camera and the dog. Unfortunately, those plans were derailed but forces beyond my control, and so I spent my time catching up on some TV series that had been recommended to me. While watching pilot episodes through streaming websites, I became quite aware of differences in writing and presentation and the nuances of what I find to be enjoyable storytelling. A great deal of credit goes to actors and directors when it comes to film-based production, but I find that when it comes to my own preferences, it's the writers' work that either makes or breaks a show or movie.
There is a lot of advice floating around out there concerning growing your social media followers and how to promote yourself (something every writer wanting an audience needs to do), but the marketing gurus I watch don't seem to receive much interaction from their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Maybe their analytics show that their posts are getting a lot of views, but I can't help but notice that they aren't getting very many likes or retweets...
So how effective is their advice if their followers don't seem to believe it's worth sharing?