I’ve mentioned that I try to stay off social media as it is generally not good for my self-esteem, and so staying off is something I actually work on with my psychologist. Social media can also take up a lot of time, time that I should spend writing. Anyhow, I had been doing well with staying off, having deleted multiple apps on my phone, but I consciously decided to come back on recently in order to promote an eBook giveaway. I’ve had to come back on social media for reasons like this before, and it’s always been easy for me to get back off once my purpose is complete. But this time it wasn’t, and I think that’s because of the current quarantine situation we are living under.

I regularly text with many friends, but now I make an effort to text with even more, just to stay connected and feel that people are there and to let them know I’m there for them as well. But I realized I need to see faces, and in quarantine this just doesn’t happen. So I think that’s why it was harder to walk away from Facebook and Instagram this time. I need to see my friends beyond just their text messages.

My psychologist suggested video chatting, but that’s not easy for me, being shy and self-conscious (even though I have to do it during my day job and my therapy sessions are now via video chat). I don’t know why it’s so much harder for me to video chat when it’s personal, but it is. But I promised my psychologist that I would video call someone after our session, and I did, and that day I saw the faces of three friends while talking to them. It was a very good thing to do, and I’m going to try to do it more.

My Instagram video post @rtomoguchi.

But even with embracing video chat, I’m still on social media and am not ready to leave it. And now that I’m there, I realize how poorly I use it to promote my books and myself as an author. A lot of that is due to shyness and not wanting everything I post to feel like an advertisement. But I took a step forward and made a video post on my Instagram where I’m actually talking and showing my face. (I did use a filter though.)

I have an author Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but now that doesn’t feel like enough. So I reinstalled Snapchat today and finally got on Tiktok. And dammit, now I feel overwhelmed. I want to promote my books, but honestly, I just don’t know how to do it well. I’ve read that I should focus on just one platform, but I don’t know which. Twitter is the easiest for me to post to, but I get the most interaction from readers on Instagram, despite not having any sexy pics.

I wish writing books was enough, but it’s so hard to make the books you’ve written stand out amongst all the other books out there and compete against all the other authors who are trying to do the same thing you’re doing. But beside social media and paid advertising, I don’t know what else authors can do besides hope someone famous will love their book and post about it.

I’ve been back on social media for sixteen days now. I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay. I should leave already as I’ve already felt some effects on my self-esteem, but right now, I still need to see faces. I guess that means I need to do more video chats in order to escape the social networks.

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After staying off social media for over two months because of the negative impact it has on my self-esteem, I finally went back on last Wednesday to announce the release of Scribbling the Eternal. The book had actually released on November 6, but because of all the anxiety I was experiencing regarding its release I put off announcing it. I saw my psychiatrist on Monday and talking about the anxiety with her and having my monthly Klonopin quantity increased helped me to finally gather the courage to announce it.

It’s on Amazon as a paperback, eBook, and audiobook. If you read it, I hope you love it, as I loved writing it.

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My first podcast interview posted on the J.P. Cane Working Title Podcast. Hearing myself talk gives me anxiety so the first two times I tried listening to it, I shut it off just after a few seconds. On the third try, I was able to force myself to sit through it. I guess I just worry that I’m going to sound stupid or full of myself. Two of my friends thought I did well. If you want to listen to it, you can click here.

Last night my narrator, Laura Bannister, sent me the audio files for the Scribbling the Eternal audiobook. Because she got it to me two weeks before than anticipated, I believe I will have a November book release. (Fingers crossed.) I have to review all the files, but again, this task gives me anxiety. Though I’m not hearing my own voice, I’m hearing my words read aloud, and there’s something about that that just makes me want to hide in a cave.

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Late last month I was interviewed for the Orange County Readers website. I’m going be featured there as a local author. About a week later, I was asked for an interview by the This Is Writing website. For that interview, they asked for an author photo. Since I don’t have my facial piercings anymore, I thought it was a good time to take new photos. So today, my sister took 113 photos of me. My niece Brooke came along to try to get me to smile in the photos. You can see her below making fun of me as I always look grumpy in photos. I absolutely hate being photographed. 

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AMS

Because I haven’t written since I finished Scribbling The Eternal, I am really itching to start writing again. I think I’ve taken enough time off. I believe the next thing I work on will be a fifth Maddie book. I’ve been slowly developing plot elements in my head, but I have yet to write anything down. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and watching tutorials about Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), so I can learn how to promote my books better on Amazon. It’s a lot of work and there is a lot to know, but I’m hoping that if I focus devote time to it, I’ll see positive results. 

I continue to dream of a day when I can stop reporting to an office on weekdays and spend all my days writing. 

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It seems The Scribbled Victims is finally gaining word of mouth. I can see on Kindle Unlimited that about 3,000 pages are being read every day. I just hope it continues (and grows).

It was my plan to do a photo shoot at the end of September to create a new cover for The Scribbled Victims as well as create the cover for Scribbling The Eternal for when it releases. Though I love my current cover, I thought my books would gain more visibility if I put Orly on each book cover. I’ve spent months preparing for this photo shoot–arranging a studio, finding a photographer, hiring a model, finding a special effects artist to make fangs and do blood make up, and purchasing costumes. Everything was coming together until last week, when I found out that Amazon will not allow me to advertise a book if the book cover has blood on it. I can have a book cover with blood on it, but I just cannot use AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) to promote a bloody book. 

Well that sucks. These are vampire books. How can I not have blood on the covers? 

Since word of mouth is finally happening, part of me thinks–fuck it, just put blood on the cover anyway. But the conservative part of me doesn’t want to limit my options in the event I want to use AMS in the future. 

I also just read this book called Mastering Amazon Ads. I didn’t think it was written very clearly, but I did glean some helpful advice from it. One thing I really dread (and that I think many authors dread) is the thought of rewriting the blurb on the back of their book. This was stressed heavily in the book. I’ve rewritten mine a couple times already, but I suppose there’s always room for improvement. So I just ordered a book that is solely about writing your book blurb. I hope it’s helpful and that I can approach the rewrite of mine with an open mind. To be completely honest, I wish I could just hire a professional to write it for me, but I don’t know how to go about finding a professional blurb writer, let alone vetting one out. 

But stay tuned…a new cover and a new blurb are on their way. 

-Robert Tomoguchi

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