The Agony of Marketing

Well here we are then. My first ebook is published by Firedance Books. ‘Tales of the Shonri: City of Lights’ is out there on Amazon for people to buy. Lovely, ‘triffic, spun gold dreams flying across my forebrain, but then…ah…yes…now I have to market the damn thing.

I’m not what you would call a natural salesman, well not for my own work anyway. The idea of saying, ‘Please buy my work,’ to perfect strangers makes me come out in a rash. I’d much rather just bang it out there and leave it for people to find, but that really isn’t going to work these days. Too much other stuff out there, too hard to get noticed, and I can’t just leave it to other people to do the hard yards. ‘Put up or shut up’ is the phrase that springs to mind.

All marketing is just generating word of mouth. That there is a truth less spoken, but garnering word of mouth is not that easy when you are up against millions (yes, millions) of other writers all trying to do the same thing. This is what led to the sock-puppet/paid-for-reviews debacle that firestormed its way across the net. Writers get desperate and when they get desperate they get stupid. Though I seriously doubt it is just self-published authors doing this sort of thing. Traditionally published writers have been thrown to the marketing sharks for quite a while now, so cast the mote out of your own eye before you start casting aspersions against others.

Would I sock-puppet? Nope. I’m so painfully honest that I even give my real name to chuggers. Would I pay for reviews? Nope. That’s like cheating on a test. So up here on the cloud of the virtuous I’m left thinking: What do I do? How do I generate word of mouth? Oh dear god, I have to start putting meself about don’t I?

I actually have a lot of theoretical knowledge of marketing, lots of bookmarks from the Book Designer [http://www.thebookdesigner.com/] and others. I’m even part of the marketing team for Firedance Books. But doing it for my own stuff is another thing entirely.

For instance: I suggested that the blogs on this site (originally posted to http://firedancebooks.com/blog/) should be reader-facing. Is my first blog on this site (that’ll be…um…this one) truly reader facing? Not really, it’s more a mea culpa. I kinda assume readers might be interested in this sort of thing, because, to be honest, right now writers and readers are all in this together. Writers want to get readers and readers want to find stuff worth reading. It’s the chum filled waters of author-discovery that is causing all the problems. The sharks are attracted and us poor so-nice-it-hurts people had better learn to punch them on the nose.

Readers and writers have to work together on this. If you read something and love it, put up a review. If you read something and loathe it, put up a review. If you read something and meh you don’t care really, put up a review. Give them five stars, one star, however many stars you think it deserves, but spread the word good or bad.

Because without reader judgment the whole system will break down. Writers can only put their stuff out there, try to attract some attention, go on sites like GoodReads (don’t spam over there, folks, they really don’t like it) or try to get a respected book blogger to review their work.

But there are millions of writers all trying to do the same thing, which makes for a bottleneck. There are only so many book bloggers, there are only so many books that any one person can read on sites like GoodReads, there are only so many ways to generate word of mouth.

I’ll pledge to you now that I will never be underhand about my marketing learning curve. If I screw up then I’ll put my hands up, no point in being all David Cameron about it. Make a mistake, admit the mistake, don’t make the same mistake twice is my modus operandi. Make a mistake, brazen it out and treat everybody else like an idiot, really doesn’t appeal.

And here is the web address of my new hub website [http://stripminingmobius.wordpress.com/]. Just launched, new on the block, a work in progress. Marketing see, you gotta have a hub.

Readers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your ‘sleb biographies, but take pity on the poor writers; a lot of us really aren’t cut out for this and we’re are just doing the best that we can.

PK’s Caveats: Caveat 1: I may not know what I’m blathering about. Caveat 2: There are no rules about writing, there are just things you can get terribly wrong. Caveat 3: If people apply the words never or always to storytelling techniques, ignore them.

First posted to ‘Firedance Blogs’: http://firedancebooks.com/blog/

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Filed under Marketing, PK's Pleasant Pomposities

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