One of the (many) reasons I wanted to go with a traditional publisher for my first novel is that as a self-published author, you have to do all the marketing yourself, hoping that you can get your name out there enough to make people want to buy your stuff. Once you have a name people recognize, then you have an advantage over a newly published author desperately trying to market himself. I don’t know dick about marketing.
I have read numerous cautionary articles that indicate how unwise it is to not market yourself, relying on a book being contemporary, or relevant, or even good to light your way through the mires of everyone else. The publishing company I’m with does a lot of that for you, and offers a lot of opportunities for guest blogging, giveaways, etc., to get your name out there. They also send your crap around to be reviewed, I believe. They tell you about a dozen different places and ways you can help yourself, each unfortunately less practical than the last. From taking out ads to banners on web sites to parading an elephant with the title of your book down LA and Manhattan streets.
The opportunities they provide through them and their contacts are great, though the really good ones involve having a book already out there. There are giveaways (awesome—give your book to someone, they read it, they tell others. They are already happy about not having to pay, and the more people who read your stuff, the better), contests, etc. Many of the authors will feature other authors on their blogs.
It’s daunting. So many options and methods are thrown at you that I cannot keep them straight. What’s the most effective? What works? What’s easiest? And what would be a waste of valuable time I could spend working on something new? I am bewildered and lost in a sea of things I simply do not understand.
And, I find that most of the marketing opportunities are for those already published. What do I do right now? I’m going some guest spots, and I am branching out, but it’s all too little, too late.
One author expressed some disdain for all the methods above. He said that the marketing he did had no impact on his sales and that he would prefer to actually be writing instead of spending months promoting what he is done with. I don’t know what outlets he tried, but I understand the sentiment. I’d rather be working on something new or editing, as will be the case this next week when I get my last round of proofs. That’s the ideal situation, really. I’d rather be writing my next project rather than focusing on self-promotion and pimping myself out anywhere I can.
Some authors have Twitter, Facebook, personal websites, Goodreads, blogs, billboards, skywriting, telepathic goats, lights from the sky, trained dancer-fireflies in synchronized tandem, and cyborg flamenco dancers stomping the titles of their books in sexy Morse code. I just can’t keep up with all that.
I will do what I can, I will expand, and I will promote in ways I can. I loathe social media, but I’m fond of my writing and I would like others to be. If I have to suck it up, then I will. I have a feeling that this is all Newbie Terror. I adjust well once the first time is over. The very idea that my first novel will be released in less than a month, that someone believed in me and my writing enough to think they could make money off of it, that it will be out there for anyone in the world to read, scares my bowels loose and moist. (Ewwwwwwwwe! I’m sorry. I don’t know where that came from, but it’s so horrifying that I think I will refrain from editing it out.)
I still don’t know dick about marketing.