I enjoy the process of writing. All of it, the initial drafts, the editing, the rewrites, the inevitable changes to fill plot holes or square away the anachronisms that will creep into the story arc.
I love writing, marketing, not so much.
Go to Amazon and put in my name, “Rick Fontes,” and you will see that my subject matter is all over the map, innocent of any genre loyalty. This approach to writing is said to be the worst possible for someone wanting to build a steady reader base but for me it is the most interesting way to pursue the craft. If you are channeling your inner cowboy at the moment then write a western, if you are fighting the Cold War then tell Ian Fleming to move over.
I know nothing about marketing, a fact evidenced by my sales figures. I have also learned that many companies professing to market for you share in my lack of knowledge on the subject. Since publishing my first book in 2011 I have donated a considerable amount of money following different marketing ploys. I would have used the word “spent” had there been any concrete results from the outlay but “donate” seems the more proper term.
I have a friend who wrote and published a book, then set out to properly market that one book. I won’t go into the details but in the final analysis she had spent something in the neighborhood of $10,000 in the effort. While she gave away quite a few copies of the book, to my knowledge she sold only one, the copy that I bought from Amazon and then posted its single review. The book is no longer available.
Although I can offer no marketing advice apart from suggesting that you ask yourself the question that is the title of this post, I would like to share another view of the subject of marketing in the form of a post I read recently:
And in closing, enjoy a musical take on the subject, one that shares the title of this blog post:
Thanks for visiting and keep your dream alive.
I don’t know if saying that I enjoyed reading this piece would be misconstrued as I enjoy your difficulty, and your friend’s. A lot of people think that with the popularity of social media in this era, anything “marketing” should be taken care of before even thinking about it. And if it was even done successfully, the effort would be undermined because “how hard could it have been”.
But the rest of us know things are not easy like that, whether or not it’s your field. Sigh
Thanks for your comment. Before the onset of digital, on demand publishing, the mainstream publishers held all the cards. The “Catch 22” was that you had to have an agent to get published and, in order to attract an agent you had to already be published. Once accepted by the mainstream your work would be marketed for you. In the indie publishing world that marketing effort has been shifted almost entirely to the author and, predictably, many organizations have sprung up to assist in this effort. Unfortunately a great many (I have no exact statistics) are in the business of creating an income stream for themselves and success for the hapless author is an afterthought. It helps the author if he or she enjoys the process of creating so much that he or she will write without regard to whether the work becomes a commercial success. If you’re in this game strictly for the money you’d be better off to invest in buggy whip futures.
Sounds like a lot of work and hope needed. I dont blame those who’d get discouraged and quit right in the middle. Because even without the thoughts of income at the initial stage, having dedicated so much of your self and time into your passion, you’d hope to have little money out of it to just sustain your health so you’d be able to continue in the passion. Not even earning profit, just a little to get by daily. Sigh
Oh yes, I keep dreaming and working on it. But wow… that’s a lot of money spent without getting anything back…
Indeed, a lot of work and a lot of hope and a lot of dreaming. Years ago we longed for a way to get around the mainstream publishers but I don’t think that anyone expected the response that came with digital on demand publishing. Millions of would-be authors were waiting to seize the opportunity to get their work into print and now we are all lost in a sea of our own voices. The sheer number of folks wanting to sell their literary wares has given rise to an industry of marketing support companies but with no practical means to vet their capabilities. As my friend demonstrated, you can spend thousands and get nothing in return because you really don’t know if you are buying success or snake oil.
When I was doing research for publishing my novels I was shocked about the amount of people out there promising to get your work to “the right people” after you pay them 2’500-5’000 just for doing that. I got to the point where I decided to self-publish and get lost in space rather than spending money that I might never get back (don’t want to sound negative but as you said, there are so many like me out there…). It’s money easily lost. Because there are many people out there who will not get you any further but only take money from you. And their review will not even be honest. It’s just about the money…
its a lot like winning the lottery, you can’t collect the prize if you don’t buy the ticket but only the most foolish among us would rely on winning as a retirement strategy. Keep the dream alive and network when and wherever you can.
Will do 🙂