Well, it’s been a while since V and I finished posting the Ballad. It’s an entirely new experience for me. It’s not that I’ve never finished a project before, but rather that I’ve never finished one so large and put it in front of so many potential viewers. I said when I first started out that this was an attempt to reach an audience far larger than I’ve ever tried to hit before, but I don’t think that really hit me until a few days after the book was ‘complete.’ My reaction to it was not exactly what I anticipated.
There was a brief high of achievement. I had a completed audiobook! I’d done it! Work on the Ballad of Iron Percy was over for now.
I was elated. For like two days. It was a huge high, but I suspected that it would eventually end. Indeed, sooner than I expected, I’d sobered up. Thinking about how we finished the job no longer really feels good. Thinking ‘it’s over!’ no longer brings about glee. Instead, I am forced to ask the frightening question which inevitably comes after any declaration of ‘Finished!’ That is, ‘What comes next?’
Next, I cross my fingers and hope the post-complete boost in listeners is enough to sustain a larger ripple in the Podiobooks pond and get me enough attention to the book to sustain interest until we start releasing the second one.
Next, I bask in the praise of those who enjoyed it without reservation.
Next, I weather the criticism of those who have some of it to offer.
After that, I keep going. I finish the sequel’s rough draft and start my third project – a sci-fi novel I’m currently calling ‘Tin Ballerina’ as a working title. I try to find ways to raise interest about the Ballad, get a plan to get the word out, and implement it.
On Praise and Criticism, I can take it. I think. Everybody likes to hear good, nobody likes to hear the bad. Writers are often sensitive and can take criticism pretty personally, and I am no exception to this. It’s only natural to recoil from it and get defensive, even if you know it’s neither helpful nor mature. I’m resolved to learn what I can from any ‘bad’ things people have to say – if I want to become a professional, I’ll probably have to develop a thicker skin. Now’s a good time to start working on that. I do want to know what people think. My greatest fear is not meeting a few misgivings that people have about the script I wrote, but rather meeting empty, apathetic silence.
That’s the easy part, though. All I need to do is endure and learn. The tough part is figuring out how to proceed with the Ballad now that the writing and editing is over. I do indeed have a completed podiobook, and I need to know how to get more people to listen to it. While the Ballad was being released, I had 300-500 listeners working through it at varying paces. This never ceased to amaze me. After all, I was a total unknown to almost all of them, and there are a huge number of titles on Podiobooks to choose from. These were 300 or so people who read my blurb on the site and decided to give it a whirl without knowing anything at all about me, and for whatever reason, they stuck with me for 46 chapters. This mentality is a mystery to me – I’m fairly discriminating with the books I read and will generally choose to invest my time only in novels and authors that come with a recommendation from a trusted friend. I expected other people to do basically the same thing, and so did not expect to get so many listeners right away. It was a pleasant surprise, and I am grateful for every one of them. They were the First Wave.
The Second Wave consists of the folks who subscribed after the book was listed as Complete. Can’t really blame them for waiting – as I said, I’m a total unknown and they didn’t know what to expect from my script. Besides, it’s what I would have done. At this point, some of those folks will have finished, some will still be going at it, and others will have lost interest and dropped it.
I don’t think there will be a Third Wave – not a surge of new listeners, but perhaps a trickle of them if I’m lucky and work to get more. Yet what can I do? Other than word-of-mouth, what can I do to put it out there and pick up new audience members? A serious question. I’m genuinely curious to hear suggestions on the matter, especially from anyone who’s tried it.
At this point, the book and all links to it have fallen off the front page of Podiobooks, so I think it’s unlikely that people will stumble across it on the site at random. For whatever reason, The Ballad of Iron Percy did not make the grade as a staff selection pick, so it’s not going to get a link on the home page again anytime soon. I need to be active in advertising for the book, and I don’t know what works and what doesn’t.
I find the writing easier than the pimping. I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m open to any and all ideas about how to get started. Has anyone tried paid-for ads for their work on Facebook, or on Project Wonderful, something like that? If so, results?