There was a golden time many years ago when writers wrote and publishers published and marketed books. That’s not to say writers didn’t promote their works. They would visit the Tonight show, be interviewed for Parade Magazine, and appear at book readings, but they were not primarily responsible for their books’ marketing campaign. There were publicity people who wrote press releases, graphic designers to design sales sheets, and nice neat relationships with major magazines and newspapers with writers eager to review the works.
Where has all this gone? I spent much of yesterday searching for a good Microsoft Word template for a Sales Sheet. I found one after an extended search, but then I had to spend a good deal of time modifying it to fit my latest book. I spent part of today arranging for flyers to be printed on very heavy, good quality paper, and then wrote the press release.
Of course, all that effort is for naught if I don’t find hands eager to receive the material as well as a review copy of the book. I’ve been spending a good deal of time developing my own marketing campaign list of potential reviewers. I’ve combed the blogger community as well as other sites to discover reviewers who fit the profile of someone who likes to read this type of book. The fact that my newest book is not just a children’s book but also a book designed for children who love to play the game of Minecraft makes it more difficult. Many older reviewers aren’t even aware their children or grandchildren love this game.
I’ve developed my own bookmarks as well. Once again, doing it right takes time, effort, and some money. I’m very thankful that I’ve worn marketing hats before as well as a researcher hat, because starting from scratch would be very difficult. I haven’t even mentioned the need to keep up a blog and become active in other social media.
Writing becomes a relief, a fun-filled escape from the business office. So, in effect, a writer today is his or her own corporation, complete with several departments all run by one employee. I suppose I should be thankful that my drawing ability is so awful that I didn’t even consider designing my own cover. If I had an iota of ability, that would have been one additional area to serve as a time sink.
My advice for newcomers is not to be seduced by the parasites who hover over places like Amazon’s bulletin board. They brag about how they have sold thousands of copies of their books because of clever marketing tricks that only they know. They then offer to reveal everything for ONLY a few dollars. It seems so simple. What harm could an additional $2.99 for a Kindle version of the secret to success do? If you read some of the reviews, you discover that writers who fell for this trick, spent valuable time reading pablum that consisted of obvious advice (create a website, blog, tweet, etc.). Meanwhile, they wasted valuable time.
So, throw yourself into this new corporate adventure with an attitude that you’ll learn all kinds of new things. Also, you’ll have complete control; you won’t have to worry about someone else screwing up. You won’t have to take any money out of your profits to pay others. Finally, in this brave new digital world, writers produce novels much more quickly than in the old days. So, whatever you learn in promoting your current book will make the promotion of your next book even more successful. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.