Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marketing v. Let The Work Speak For Itself

I'm on a mailing list for self-publishers.  This goes back to the pre-digital time in my life when I thought I might possibly be able to sell Impossible Charlie in paperback.  So this week they're arguing about Amanda Hocking.  Did she set out to brand herself, is she the cleverest marketer ever, or was she lucky.  No one mentions the writing.  Hmm.

These people are micro-publishers as a business and most of what they say doesn't apply to us.  How do you get books in stores.  Who does the printing (my choice--Lightning Source).  Doesn't matter to us.

I'm not a marketer.  I never was good at hawking myself.  My feeling has always been "let the work speak for itself."  Maybe that's impossible now since you have millions of books and a million people shouting "Read my book!"  You have to do social media.  You have to be active on the forums.  You have to you have to.

If that's true, and this blog is all I do, why is Not Low Maintenance taking off this month?  It's been at Amazon since August and basically did nothing remark-worthy for months. 

A couple weeks ago I think it was Heather asking about marketing advice.  Here's my advice.  Write the best book you can.  Afterward, write another best book.  And so on.  Hone your skills.  THINK about what you're doing.  Because I believe readers will find you if you give them something good.  Sure let people know you exist.  If you can get a review or two and they're good, you're ahead of the game.  A good cover will help.

Being in a hot category is great.  Here's what happens.  Vampires are hot so the category is flooded by people who think they can churn out something fast and cash in on reader excitement.  It's then harder than ever to be found.  By the time you're on the brink of being found, vampires are cold as ice.  Which I suppose is redundant.

Hacks can write anything.  Are you a hack?  Want to write what you're writing.  Feel a passion for it.  It'll come through.

I was talking to a producer for um..Search For Tomorrow? years ago and he talked about the passion I showed for the story and the characters.  He said everyone got on board because of my enthusiasm.  They caught my excitement, my belief.  This can't be faked.  It can't be because of the money.  You, first, have to believe in your story.  That truth in you is what the reader connects to.

I can't explain every success story and why writers I believe to be total crap have had long and successful careers.  They're obviously connecting with readers in a way I don't get.

Let me tell the Mordecai Richler story again.  Mordecai Richler was a wonderful writer from Canada who has now passed and you can learn a great deal by reading his work.  He went out on a book tour at the same time as some romance/women's fiction type writers.  It could have been Judy Krantz or Danielle Steele or whoever.  It was obviously not his kind of writing.  He noted these women believed in what they were doing and so did their readers.  That element can't be counterfeit.

Connect with your audience.  Worry about social networking later.

Gluyas Williams


gniz said...

This is so true, imo.
I spent a lot of time "marketing" when I first e-pubbed at the end of December of 2010. And I was parroting that line everyone parrots these days--set up a blog, twitter, facebook, be active on kindle boards, etc.

And then you know what happened? On a whim I wrote a novella under a pen name, put it up on kindle and B&N and did NO platform work, no marketing, no blog, zero. Zilch. Nada.

That pen name novella is selling more right now than all of my other books combined.

The Hostess with the Mostest said...