Monday, March 10, 2014

Selling Babies

A guest post by novelist P.R. Johnson

You’ve finally finished your novel. Good for you. It’s only taken X amount of years and Y amount of re-writes. You’re an amateur writer; it’s not as if you’re relying on this novel, your baby, to earn your daily bread. You know it’s unlikely to be published the traditional way, but that’s OK – you’re pleased you can avoid those king-making submissions editors. You’ve reconciled yourself that for your baby to see light, you’ll have to self-publish. And again, that’s OK – the thought of YOU being in control is alluring.

You’ve proof-read your novel countless times and designed a nice book cover. You’ve successfully opened an account with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and you’ve got your head round formatting. A click of a mouse button and there she is: your novel, the cherished fruit of your labour, a genuine product for people to buy with genuine money. Congratulations on the new arrival.

Now all you need do is shout from the rooftops so people may come and pay respects. Ah, I knew there’d be a catch. It might turn out that you’re a terrible salesman. Maybe you don’t want your friends and family to read the book to avoid any possible embarrassment. Perhaps that’s why you wrote under a pseudonym: so people would not lay blame at your door. Maybe, despite your best efforts, the novel is drivel and deserves not to be read. But without that critical feedback, a truly unbiased opinion, you don’t know either way. You need to be a certain type of cretin to laud a product when you have no idea of its worth. A bit like a parent at a child beauty pageant.

So, you put your marketing on hold. You tell yourself that positive feedback will be the catalyst to fuel the inner salesman. Until, of course, you realise that a self-published novel will not sell without some encouraging reviews. And books that do not sell will receive no reviews at all, positive or negative. The circle of life is caught in a temporal loop.

It seems as though you’re stuck, just you and your damned baby. You love her, undeniably, and accept she might not be the prettiest infant in the world (some babies are downright ugly). All you need is for one random stranger, one honest soul, to look into the pram and smile: ‘Aye, that’s a bonny wee lass you have there.’

My name is (or isn’t) P R Johnson. You can find my novel ‘Life In Parks’ here:
Life In Parks eBook: P R Kindle Store
or, for U.K. readers, here: 

Or else you can follow me on Twitter.


  1. Beautifully written....thanks so much for sharing. Ha! Love the last paragraph so much I'm reading it over and over again...