A Dinosaur in a Young Adult’s World

Guest post
by Parker Moose

On June 8th, I released my debut novel. The world replied with crickets. The next day I sent a message to all of my contacts on Twitter and Facebook asking them to buy my book. That got me about a 10 percent response rate and a brief bump in Amazon’s rankings. But then I ran out of people who thought they might have known me in high school, and it was back to anonymity.

Lured by the siren song and royalties of KDP Select, I chose to be exclusive with Amazon and tried my first free promotion. The results of that were inconclusive, except for another brief bump in the standings and the unexpected finding that Germans really love free books. But then, sales tapered off again. It was time to get serious.

I knew that readers weren’t going to magically flock to my unknown book. I was already deep into my initial research on indie book marketing. I’d read that self-publishing superstar Amanda Hocking had her first success by having her books reviewed by bloggers. So that was the route for me. Book blogger directories like hampton-networks.com and theindieview.com got me started, and I dove down the deep, dark rabbit hole of review sites on the Web.

My initial findings? First, a discouraging number of book review blogs no longer have open submissions. Apparently other indie authors have access to Google, too! The ground floor for self-publishing is now up several flights of stairs.

Second, my book doesn’t fit the profile of what most bloggers I’ve seen are reading. A perusal of the book covers on dozens of review sites showed a plethora of bare chests, storm clouds and serious backlighting. My book is a sci-fi comedy about aliens and cavemen. Maybe the dinosaur on my cover should be shirtless.

And so I slogged on, buoyed by the giddy memory of my first sale to a stranger. I queried bloggers feverishly, keeping a contact log by my computer. I learned that many bloggers had quit doing so (Elaine moved! Josh started a family! Corrie was eaten by bears!) And I even got the sting of my first rejection.

By the end of the first week of my book blog blitz, I had amassed three rejections, two maybe’s and far more non-responses. It seemed that my approach needed some polishing. After trial and error I learned some lessons I’ll now pass on to you:


10. If you take 10 hours to read my book, I’ll take 5 seconds to follow you on Facebook.

9. I’m sending you my novel despite your awful taste in books.

8. Can you refer to me as a “renaissance man” at least twice in your review?

7. If it’s easier, I could just read my book on your answering machine.

6. Don’t worry, things start to pick up after the first hundred pages.

5. I’m only one $2.99 sale away from finally posting bail.

4. Please let me know when I can expect to see my 5-star review.

3. Also, I was wondering if you could run it through spellcheck for me.

2. I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’m onto something: vampires.

1. I need to get my stats up after that bad review from my mom.

I’d like to think I’m growing. Newly humbled, I’ve redoubled my efforts to garner a review. I believe in my book, and god knows that people need some laughs these days. So bring on the vast, glistening fields of heroines in repose, impossibly full moons and professional models’ buttocks! I shall fight for every starry review.

Does anyone know Ms. Hocking?

Parker Moose lives in Northwest Indiana with his beautiful wife and two children, who keep him inspired and sleep-deprived. His debut novel is A Dinosaur Ate Your Alien: A Tale of Cavemen in Space. You can find it on Amazon.

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17 thoughts on “A Dinosaur in a Young Adult’s World”

  1. Hilarious, Parker, and I know exactly what you mean. I had written five books – with only one of them trad published; it was 2011 and I could have papered my walls with the rejections – when I decided to go the ePublishing, indie route. Like you, I was encouraged by success stories of several independents, like Amanda Hocking, only to find that those blogger reviewers were less and less attainable.

    The ePublishing revolution was experiencing one of its first downsides, as far as serious writers were concerned: the glut of ‘everyone has one good book in them’ syndrome. If you’ve been reading IU for any length of time you’ll have cottoned on to the fact that there is no silver bullet. And, what’s more, that social media train that you climbed onto (as did we all) takes enormous amounts of time and energy to push your book(s) forward, leaving less and less time for the real job of writing your next book.

    Nearly two years down the track and I’m now back to writing (mostly), with one project nearly finished. Good luck, Parker, don’t let the b******s get you done (for too long).

  2. Misery loves company. Don’t worry, keep writing. I was told that it takes 4-6 years to become vaguely famous, and 10 novels. Well, I’m at 3 years and 8 novels and I’m finally something more than a speck of pond slime in the Indie author world. Keep at it, your day will come. And don’t be afraid to try new genres- all that “one genre” stuff is bs. Have fun and write for yourself. If you write it, they will come (eventually!).
    Great post, keep your chin up. We were all there once (some of us still are!)

  3. Thanks K. My first (so far unpublished) novel was about a disgruntled senior who has visions of the apocalypse and ends up in a homeless shelter, so I think I have the genre range covered!

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