Friday, April 1, 2011


By Russel D McLean

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been these last few weeks, I’ve been out on tour. Not physically. Oh, no. I’ve been working the blogs. Shaking my ass on other people’s sites. Working that moneymaker.

Which has been fun. Tiring. Exhausting. But fun.

And then someone asked me this question:

How much effort did you put into this? And how much benefit did you reap? Did you gain enough new readers to offset the time spent writing a new article every day? Did your sales go stratospheric?

If I look at the cold, hard numbers, the answer is that I’m not sure. I really, really don’t know. But then, as we’ve seen this last week, in the world of publishing no one knows anything. No one can agree on anything.

Looking back on the tour – and looking back on last year’s physical tour – I would say that in terms of cold hard numbers, both could be considered supremely inefficient. Yes, people got a kick out of them (honestly, I’ve had letters to prove it) and I myself had a ball. But in terms of extra sales, of word of mouth, of people who actually went out and bought a copy…

The effort to benefit ratio seems wrong.

Of course, I’ve never been a cold hard numbers person. I don’t understand cold, hard numbers (just ask my mum). Most of the time, I don’t get how they add up or why. Seriously. They seem more random than people give them credit for.

Perhaps more so in cases like this.

The fact is that I know my effort to benefit ratio is appalling when I do events, tours and so forth. But then the effort to benefit ratio in writing a novel is appalling anyway.

So why do it?

The key sentiment above:

“…people got a kick out of it and I… had a ball.”

I love doing events. I love doing interviews. I love doing blog tours. I may sometimes have to pass them up when things get seriously down to the knuckle (don’t forget, I also work a full time day job) but they’re part of what makes this job fun.

And besides, in the end, all I can do is have faith that the numbers will work themselves out. One way or another. Because like I said back there at the start:

in this business, no one knows anything.


Dana King said...

“…people got a kick out of it and I… had a ball.”

Few writers get rich. If you can't do the above once in a while, why bother?

Joelle Charbonneau said...

The publicity thing is about doing what you like doing and scrapping the rest because who the hell knows what any of the numbers mean. It's too hard to track them. Glad you had a blast on the blog tour. I did a small one last book and will probably do a larger one this time because I've learned that I like blogging:)

Congrats again on the book! I have it on my TBR pile that I plan on getting to as soon as I finish this damn manuscript!