Fired off a round of review requests today... I don't know why but I always feel as though I'm slinking up to these websites, cap in hand, begging for a scrap of attention. That's probably what I'm doing wrong (he says, with the clarity of reflection).
Maybe I should instead be cartwheeling up to them like a child of divorce working his ass off for some genuine attention from his estranged parents. Swinging my arms and raising my voice like the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world my generation apparently is (according to Tyler Durden, anyway).
Self-promotion is turning out to be harder than I expected. I've had some wilder ideas, like sky-writing the name of my book over London on a busy day, or maybe ninja-mailing a copy to every single publisher, agent and coffee shop within a hundred miles of my home - maybe tattooing the entire manuscript on my body and going on Britain's Got Talent as the Human Novel... No, that's a bit silly.
The whole point, though, is that when I think of self-promotion I think of grand gestures as opposed to the more understated options. I didn't even think of posting an ad on goodreads, for example, when thoughts of full-body tatts and skywriters were going through my mind. It's the old "hear hooves, think zebras" problem. Half the time you can't see obvious solutions cuz you're too busy thinking of intricate, elaborate plots to advance your claim to world dominance.
Which is kind of the crux of my problem. I'm clueless. Mostly uneducated (a senior-school education superceeded by reading as much good literature as I could stomach, as much violent heroic fantasy as I could find and as many comic books as my eyes could take), mostly unconnected (I write for a couple of gaming websites, but none of us is taking paycheques home of a month) and mostly inexperienced (I've been writing for years and years, but whether any of it is any good, whether I'm making consistent improvements or steadily getting worse, is beyond my ken), I'm not exactly poised to hit the industry like a ten-tonne bomb. I don't even have that many friends who read.
So I muddle on, people. I send out sporadic requests for reviews, sporadically post on the Amazon forums, and update my blog, well, sporadically, I guess. I imagine I'll pay for sporadic ad campaigns, too, and hope that somehow happy happenstance conspires with funny fortune to make George Martin, Rihanna Pratchett or Bono stumble across my work and say "Hey, this kid (I'm 30, but they don't know that) needs a break - he's got a surefire hit on his hands!" and drop me a life-changing email.
Until then, I'll carry on being sporadically proactive and consistently clueless.