Writers like to think that if only they could get their book published, life would become smooth-sailing. It’s a nice thought. The truth is more work and upheavel set in. While writing, you keep your eye on the final goal: publication. With the release of the book, you have a brief nanosecond to reflect and then the reality of this new phase sets in. You really don’t just want your book published: you want readers. More than that, you want readers who have bought the book. You want your book to sell.
Oh how writers hate that four letter word: s-e-l-l. Its mere mention evokes visions of retired used car dealers selling their memoirs out of the trunk of their car in Walmart parking lots. With publication, the protective bubble surrounding the writer is broken and the assault of marketing opportunities and sales duties invade the poor scribe’s waking moments and cause torment into the night.
I mention this because I am once again under siege. I have a booksigning on Saturday, an online opportunity to review and respond to overnight, a website and blog to complete, and a 4th of July out-of-town weekend book event to consider. I’ve been working non-stop on the website and blog since Friday because I wanted to get a website operating before an article appeared in yesterday’s local paper.
Today’s writers are realizing they must develop some kind of promotional opportunity for their book(s). M.J. Rose and Doug Clegg are two writers who have been successful in their marketing efforts. (If you still think marketing is for e-pub or self-pub authors, read this chronicle of Clegg’s publishing and marketing history.) Rose, with Clegg, conduct a marketing course, The BUZZ Your Book Online Marketing Class, available through WritersWeekly.com. The course is expensive and limited. Writer’s need to examine their goals, their expectations, and their desire for sales in the context of today’s real world of publishing and decide if they need to hone their marketing and sales developmental skills. This course is one way writers can get the needed help to develop a book’s marketing plan.
If you think all you have to do is concentrate on the writing and land a big contract to avoid having to engage in the marketing and sales of your book, you might want to read Rose’s eye-opening article Reality Checks on Publisher’s Dismal Publishing Efforts and then the further elaborations she offers on the reported incident. This kind of conversation is happening the world over. Even, as Rose reports, Poets & Writers has devoted white space to The Hype Debate.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my computer in Houston and trying to figure out why anyone would want to choose my YA books over the hundreds and thousands of other books available, and how I can help my books gain media attention and reader recognition. There are direct sales and marketing methods and there are the more indirect ways. I decided to mine the research I did for Divided Loyalties and set up a website with a blog called TeensTakeAction.com. Although still in development, the site has gone public. If you have a moment, take a look, wander around, and let me know what you think. Over the next few posts, I’ll discuss how I came up with the idea and why.
Meanwhile, my coauthor and I will be at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Baybrook Mall this Saturday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm selling our proverbial authorial wares.