It’s been a while since I talked about the book. It’s been out there for 245 days, as the title says, but I thought I’d take the opportunity of a review appearing in the May edition of Technical Communication to share its status. Being a published author, it turns out, is an ongoing process.
First of all, thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of Heroic Technical Writing! I hope you have found the book educational, useful, or even entertaining…one of those will suffice. I haven’t received any negative feedback, which means it’s either that good or people are just too polite. I’m inclined to believe the latter, but that’s me.
I’m not exactly on the New York Times Bestseller list. My rankings on Amazon say:
- #95 in Technical Writing Reference (Kindle Store)
- #158 in Technical Writing Reference (Books)
- #182 in Business Writing Skills (Kindle Store)
However, that said, I continue to sell a few books every month, so there’s that. You fine folks are providing me with money I’m applying toward buying a new home, so again, thank you.
I am still learning the ins and outs of marketing. Obviously I fight a bit of an uphill battle because a) I’m selling a nonfiction book and b) it’s a rather niche market. My primary marketing effort has been on Twitter, where there’s an active and supportive writing community that performs occasional “boosts,” where they ask people following a particular account to share a link to their book. I will say that this group (hashtag: #WritingCommunity) is focused primarily on fiction writers, but they are still willing to let me share Heroic Technical Writing on their feeds. On Sunday, I decided to try a campaign for the nonfiction writers:
Okay, #WritingCommunity, let’s try something a little different for a #SeriousSunday. I can’t be the only nonfiction writer out there trying to keep a book sold. Post a link to your nonfictional tome below, and I’ll be happy to repost it. Salud!
Through Twitter I encountered a page called The Indie Book Store, which helps promote self-published authors like me.* The Indie Book Store charges a fee to publicize your book and keep it out there in the marketplace. I chose the $59 “Lifetime” option because I’m a bit lazy and cheap when it comes to paying for things on a monthly/subscription basis.
(* Yes, technically Amazon is my publisher, but they had no hand in editing the content.)
One thing I know that’s essential for ongoing author success is connecting with your readers. Some do that through in-person visits, others through newsletters, others through a running dialogue on Twitter, others through a blog, others…a mix of all of these. I also answer reader emails, so don’t be shy!
I haven’t done it yet, but I am tempted to try is a monthly newsletter to subscribers of this blog. I’m open to pointers on this one. It’s challenging filling the posts twice a week…what new things can I say in a monthly newsletter?
Another thing I probably need to try is an online promotion or contest of some sort. I do still have a few author’s copies lurking around the Bartcave. Perhaps something will come to me. And I’ll be perfectly frank here: I wasn’t certain I’d sell any books at first, so the idea of giving away freebies was not appealing. Now I’ve sold a few and am willing to be more open to such things.
I am tempted to release a new version of Heroic Technical Writing that addresses the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve also heard that it might be worth adding a foreword by someone a bit more famous than me to raise the book’s visibility: the old celebrity endorsement trick. And while I haven’t really contemplated a sequel to HTW, anything’s possible.
Thanks for reading!