Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the Future, Everyone Will Have a Chance. (But Not All Chances Will Be Created Equal)

This is indeed a great time to be an author. No longer must manuscripts disappear into the drawer, never to be heard from again, lacking only a publisher's best guess. Now, no matter what people think of a book, it can be published and try and find its audience.

Everyone, in short, has a shot, and the more people with e-readers the easier it will be to put a book out there to try and reach them.

But it's still important to remember and acknowledge: Not everyone has an equal shot.

The author backed by a publisher and with marketing and who has their book out there in large numbers is still going to have an advantage over an author who is unknown. The author out there with a blog or active in discussion Forums is going to have an advantage over the author who quietly uploads their book to Amazon. Like it or not, celebrities are going to continue to sell a lot of books.

And in fact, there is even some growing evidence to suggest that rather than level the playing field for everyone, the rise of e-books is leading to more polarized sales between the bestselling haves and microselling have-nots. Not less, more.

What does it mean? Well, aside from writing the best book possible, it pays to make your odds as good as possible. Self-published or traditionally published, it means trying to get your book out there to publicize and to make yourself known.

At the end of the day, the book is still the most important factor. All the marketing in the world can't make a hit out of a book that the public doesn't want, and hits can come out of nowhere will the tiniest of beginnings. It's just that the odds are better for the book with the bigger initial boost.

I don't know how productive it is to bemoan that authors are now expected to self-promote, whether they're traditionally published or self-published. It isn't good or bad that authors are now expected to do promote, it just is. It's the time we're living in. The days of being "just an author," if they ever existed, are no more.

Everyone does have a shot, but the best shots go to the authors that are able to give their books a boost.


Caroline Gerardo said...

Even actors have to peddle their movies...

How are you book sales going?

magpiewrites said...

I actually find the idea of having to promote yourself exciting. Sure it's intimidating, but at least you have power to do something. By creating an author platform and educating yourself about the industry, you don't completely leave your fate to the slushpile or the throw of the dice. Having to advocate for yourself is, like you say, just the way it is, whether you're a writer, an artist or an architect. I think the idea of being a genius working alone in a garret waiting for the big hand to reach down and tap you on the shoulder was always somewhat of a fallacy.

Munk said...

I love the writing and hate the selling... it would be sooo much easier if I were less of a curmudgeon.

rjkeller said...

I love the writing and I love the selling. I get just as much of a creative rush out of writing a guest blog post or making a book trailer as I do out of writing.

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy said...

Good post and true. I have a background in media and marketing which has been a tremendous boost in promoting my ebooks (which are through a publisher). I can watch results and sales increase after any new promotion effort, media blitz, guest post, anything but it takes a great of time and effort.

Writing is no longer just enough - you have to be ready and willing for promotion, promotion, promotion!

Linda Godfrey said...

Not exactly on your point, but for some reason the thought of everyone being able to publish anything makes me think of that old Groucho Marx quote "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." :-)

When anyone can be a published author, will authors themselves seek new standards of exclusivity?

As for self-promo,it really does come with the job these days unless you don't care about selling any books. I think the key is to find a promo method that suits you - you may suck at public presentations but be the best Tweeter ever. I have a novelist friend who eschews social media but reaches her cult fan base by serving on Con panels. These days there really is something for everyone.

Barbara Kloss said...

Great post, as usual. These are exciting times, and I am grateful there are other avenues in case the traditional route doesn't work out for me.

Peace, Lena and Happiness said...

Yes, everyone has to promote. The difference is that traditionally published authors have some help from agents or publishers on how that's done. For people without a big platform or a lot of marketing know-how, that's a big difference.

Sasha Barin said...

A little sceptical about this, to be honest.
What I see coming in some near future is a point of 1) promotion overload 2) e-book overload.

Not sure what's going to come first, and how soon. And, more importantly, what's the industry reaction going to be.

Just my feeling. Or maybe I'm reading too much into the trend of redundancy in the socialmediasphere. In which I partake :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Insightful as always! I just pointed a new writer to your blog, because it remains the source of all knowledge in this business! :)

Chuck H. said...

I keep telling myself that I can self/e-publish but when I think of all the work of promoting myself and my work, I talk myself out of it. I guess I'm just too much of a shrinking violet.

Nate said...

Love love love it Nathan, good stuff. This is so true and times have changed, the author needs to sell themselves just as much as the book. Thanks for everything.

aryllian said...

Sometimes bemoaning isn't about being productive. Sometimes it's just about expressing a heartfelt emotion.

Mister Fweem said...

I just read Robert Newton Peck's "Secrets of Successful Fiction" over the weekend, and highly recommend it. He was a big advocate of authors self-promoting their books, even in the era when it was assumed promotion wasn't the author's job. If you've never read this book, I'd suggest doing it. it's the most helpful book on writing I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

And you have to watch every word you say in the Internet. It's all about author image, too.

PJ Lincoln said...

Just having a blog and a twitter account don't guarantee sales, either. I've had a presence for nearly a year and recently released a short story via Amazon and Smashwords. I'm averaging about one sale per week ... and this is for a story priced at 99 cents!

So, I tend to agree with Nathan. The name authors still have a huge advantage. What I like, though, is that I do have a chance under the new system.

If I keep writing and publishing, who knows? A good story, a little luck and I or any of us could be the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke.

Chris Phillips said...

You're right good looking people like Snookie and me have better odds. Fantastic point!

D.G. Hudson said...

So - he/she who hustles best gets the golden plum? And occasionally someone in publishing might decide to elevate the lowly unpublished, hmmm? Sounds dreary especially when the demise of celebrity books may not happen. . .

My take is that you write the best you can, you try like hell to get it out there and then wait to see if you're one of the blessed. If not, it's try, try again. OR time to look at alternatives. There is no clear path, we must make our own.

No promises, kind of like 'no reservations'? It may be a great time to be an author, if you have tenacity and strength of will. And a product others want.

Adam iWriteReadRate said...

Hi Nathan. Interesting article, enjoyed it. Thanks for posting.

I wrote some similar musings recently on out blog in an article entitled 'The eBook Revolution'. Maybe worth a look when you get 5mins. It's available through our main page link.

Best regards

Adam Charles

Gregory K. said...

I think that consistency is also going to be a part of this moving forward: a presence might not help any one book very much (though it can) but over time, a strong platform can help a career. While the 'net can move fast, building relationships still takes time, and it's those relationships that make it easier to spread the word about your work. Investing for the long haul seems to me to be a good way of looking at platform....

Stephsco said...

As a consumer of books, I love it when an author does a book tour, or has interesting marekting pitches on their wevsite (contests, blog promotions etc). And it works! I follow blogs of authors who I haven't even read their work b/c I find them to be interesting people. And yes, I now have their books on my To-Read list. Putting a face to a name can really help.

Ella Schwartz said...

I completely understand why an author like Barry Eisler opted to self-publish. He is already a successful writer with a loyal fan base. He has a strong platform, and his fans will follow him.

But what about someone like me? I do not have a proven track record or loyal fans? If I self publish my book, who will know it's out there? I can do all the self-marketing in the world, but in the end, it may not make a difference. Of course, I may get lucky (I could be the next Amanda could dream) but even Amanda admits her success is part luck and part hard work.

Nathan - you are right. Everyone has a chance, but not every one will succeed. The same way everyone has an opportunity to buy a lotto ticket, but not every lotto ticket is a winner!

Matthew MacNish said...

I think overall it's a good thing, I do, but I still find it frustrating how well many mediocre books sell, and how poorly some really great books perform.

I suppose in the long run there isn't much that I can do about it. Just write the best book I can, and make sure that it is as accessible to as many readers as possible.

Rick Daley said...

Anyone who thinks they don't have to work for it clearly hasn't thought it through.

Mr. D said...

It's like most things in life. The harder you work for it, the better shot you'll have at succeeding.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Yay for sanity!

I don't understand where the idea comes from that the rise of e-readers automatically means the end of publishers and all that.

Even if Congress passed an ecological resolution tomorrow that said paper could no longer be produced and that all written material had to be transmitted via computer, e-reader, etc, that doesn't mean that publishers are doomed. They'll still publish, just in a different medium.

The rise of epublishing doesn't equate to better quality with self-publishing.

So many people act like self-publishing is this shiny new thing, and it's not. It's not even a novelty for it to be the "norm". The bulk of books put out in a given year are always self and vanity published. But, being self and vanity published, almost no one hears about them.

What's happening now is on par with the WGA archives. Every year, tens of thousands of screenplays are registered, and less than 1% get produced. Each subsequent year drops more tens of thousands into the stack, and those older ones still aren't produced. MAYBE, if someone gets a movie deal they can retool and sell an old screenplay, but it's not likely.

E-self-publishing is exactly like that. You upload your drop into the ocean while the tide pours in on top of you. The chances of anyone seeing your drop are slim, but it can happen if your drop happens to be attached to something shiny and gold.

But, if you go with a publisher, then you get to float on top, in a nice container that people can see straight off. It's still not a sure bet, but it's a lot better than being one of the guys who gets sucked through a fish's gills and expelled without a thought.

Marilyn Peake said...

I reached similar conclusions this past weekend. As you said, "It isn't good or bad ... it just is. It's the time we're living in." Last week, I attended three days of robotics competitions in which several people from NASA, including the head of interplanetary exploration, spoke about future technology. Last night, I read a couple of articles about the movie industry and how films will soon be produced by major film companies in ways better adapted to an audience that watches many of their movies on cell phones and computer screens. Then I read an article about Houghton Harcourt teaming up with Amazon to produce some of Amazon Kindle’s eBooks as paperbacks to be sold in brick-and-mortar bookstores. I sat back and suddenly realized: wow, the future has arrived. It isn’t good or bad; it has elements of both, as always; but, basically, it just is. The future arrives much more quickly than it used to. In one lifetime, rapidly developing technology can put businesses through several evolutions. The trick, I think, is to embrace the new reality, to adapt to it and make it work for you.

The benefit of self-publishing good, well-edited, nonmainstream books is that they have a chance to be discovered, to at least win awards and garner great reviews – things that make a writer happy and validate their work. Those books also have a chance to find an audience as opposed to sitting in a drawer, which is especially important in today’s world, as the big publishing houses are no longer interested in supporting midlist authors. Many self-published and indie authors would have been successful midlist authors in the fairly recent past. There’s no use complaining about it, but there’s also no sense in refusing to self-publish a good non-mainstream book or a well-written book on which the big publishing houses for whatever reason don’t want to take a chance.

Timothy Nies said...

No name authors might be at a disadvantage, but that's only for today. As I am willing to bet that in the future no-name authors with un-publshed works as a group , will become the most important people in the world to the big publishing houses.

Why? Because of the mass raising of the self-published authors that is happening today. These brave pioneers are moving the industry so fast that they are about to pull the rug from underneath everyone and they are going to change the game.

Here's the scenario; as more self-published authors become successful it will draw more readers away from the the publishers. The publishing industry will adapt. Literary agents will stop accepting queries and instead start reading amazon kindle's bestseller list to hunt for new authors to represent. When that starts to happen, new authors will have no choice but to self-publish just to get noticed. Which will result in the competition moving from literacy agent's inbox to the web for everyone to see.

The increase in openness will cause the quality of self-published work to improve (this is already happening) to the point it will be on par with a traditionally published work. When we hit that point authors (know as well as un-know) will no longer need a publishing house to streamline their work, package it and sell it for them. Because at that point publisher aren't adding anything to a book, they have just become redundant. All an author will need then is an agent that has a good advertising agency behind them that's willing to take a bet on their clients work.

So how does this benefit the no-name unpublished author. Let me tell you, in order to prevent from becoming redundant publishing houses will be forced to learn new ways to insert themselves in the process. And the only spot I can see them filling is finding away to connect with unpublished no-name authors before anyone else gets a chance to be notice them.

My thoughts on this might be slightly over simplified but I think something simairly to this is already happening.

Anonymous said...

As someone getting ready to epublish, I've enjoyed and benefited from these recent blog posts enormously. Thank you!

I'm wondering if some prognostications (always wanted to use that word) could be made in re: YA books and ereaders. I wonder what the market is right now and how that development is going. I've got 2 teenagers and would never think of buying them a Kindle unless there was a very special reason to do so (like they were going to be parked on the North Pole for months with no library or bookstore to go to). But I do see the day coming when they will put in their request, and like their requests for iPods, cell phones, and the family car keys, I will eventually acquiesce. Does anyone know what's happening in that market, or where online one could go to to check up on it?

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

We’ve been reading your posts and decided to try an experiment: Pen and Ink has published a short story on Amazon. Lupe posted about it today.
There has been so much written about self publishing that we wanted to track a venture and inform our readers of the results. The Wooden Men, a folktale based on a Mayan Legend, costs 99 cents.
We also discovered the free kindle downloads for Macs, PCs, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and iPad and the Windows 7 phone
There has been so much said about Kindle. This download is your chance to view content without having to buy a Kindle

gordon said...

What really gets me about the self-promotion is the push to not only undercut other writers (e.g. writing blog posts for free) but also other workers.

My non-fiction cheese book came out last year on an independent press. I got a number of requests from food stores to promote my book by doing a cheese class for their customers. The cheese world is very small, however, and I quickly realized that they had been paying another cheese professional $250-$300 for doing the same class they wanted me to do, for free, in the name of promotion. Plus, they were going to sell the books.

Work for free and take the food off someone else's table? No thanks.

That's just one example but I'm on deadline for a new book proposal so I'll stop there. Luckily or unluckily, the majority of my income does not come from writing so it's easier for me to say "no", but the line between self-promotion and scabbing seems to blur more every day.

Dara said...

I think the promotion aspect could be fun and challenging. It's another way to use that creativity, especially with promotion materials. I'm not a great salesperson or anything but it could be fun developing the materials and coming up with ways to get your book out there.

J. T. Shea said...

'In the future everyone will have a chance. (But not all chances will be equal.)'

Yes, but that sounds like the present, and indeed the past. The relative sizes of the chances are the only things changing. And you're right about e-readers only if you include non-dedicated tablets and laptops and desktops.

Mike Shatzkin's article reminds us that the long tail is as thin as it is long, and that bricks and mortar book stores are still the main means of 'book discovery'. Book discovery can also be reader discovery. I have long been fascinated by the process by which a person becomes (or does NOT become) a regular reader of books. At least the Internet requires reading to be used. Hence my emphasis on computers in general rather than dedicated e-readers.

Excuse me for further emphasizing my theme of continuity of past and present, but I wonder just when was it authors did not have to promote themselves? Either to readers or to other professionals who could promote their books to readers? I don't seem to recall such a time. I also wonder just what was it that publishers did in the past that they have ceased to do. Advertising?

On that note, I urge readers to follow your link to your 2009 post, where you rightly question whether anyone was ever 'just an author'.

Kiri said...

@Caroline, while it's true that actors, as well as musicians, do press junkets, the big difference is that the costs of those marketing efforts (red carpet, premieres, junkets) are picked up by the studio. Nor are actors/musicians, at least not once they have a product released by a major, relied on to be the sole source of marketing. All of which is expected from authors. I spent more on marketing my book than, in all likelihood, I will ever make from it. And I had ZERO marketing support. I've also spoken to enough writers to know that this is pretty typical.

L.G.Smith said...

I do think there are some good novels that have been turned away by the traditional publishers. Hopefully some of those will have a chance to succeed in the self-published world. It's definitely a different playing field than it used to be.

Kristin Laughtin said...

True, true! If everyone's going to be able to publish, there will be way more for everyone to wade through, not just agents and editors--and if you don't make any noise, you can't expect anyone to find your book out of the thousands of others competing for attention. At least, not in any great numbers. The people who have backing from their publishers will benefit the most, but even they will have to help with the promotions.

Meghan Ward said...

I am still skeptical of self-published and indie-published books, despite the success of Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath, etc. It's not the self-promotion I loathe, it's the poor writing quality and typos. I'm reading a self-published book now, and it's full of typos. It drives the editor in me nuts. In addition to all the marketing efforts people put into their self-published books, they should hire an editor, too. Please.

Kim Kasch said...

Takes me back to Utopian Lit. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . there was an Animal Farm ;)

Sierra McConnell said...

And sadly I am reminded of a conversation between a grandma and her little girls, in which she said this:

"Oh, that's just some books and junk, you don't want /those/."*

If we /are/ to have a future, we need to get nimrods like that away from kids regardless of promotion. O_O

*They ended up buying fake hair.

J. M. Oskarsson said...

I do really like that post headline. It is true not only for writers, books and words, but the people of the world. At least it made me think, a lot and feel even more.

Melissa said...

I have the same concerns as Sasha – book overload, self-promotion overload. I realize that I’m only a single individual and that I can’t attach my POV to everyone. However, after the fall of the music industry, I stopped buying music. The stuff on the airwaves designed to please the masses doesn’t impress me. Finding indie bands worth a listen is just too time-consuming. Everyone thinks that he/she’s great stuff, and the ones that actually pass listening muster are far and few in between.

It takes very little actual creative talent to design a professional looking website and self-promote like crazy.

Robert Michael said...

I can see what Sasha is saying about overload. Some sort of filter has to be in place if only to limit the selection.

I think this overload phenomenom is pandemic. Drug stores, convenience stores, restaurants, Starbucks, reality shows, 18-game NFL season, etc. More is not always better. Mass appeal or demand cannot always be appeased through mass selection of supply.

Robert Michael said...

It just struck me. I had an image of a haystack in my mind.

In the current model, the haystack has a label: "Publishing Industry--Editors, Agents and those who have been here before only, please." Only a few authors will be found and distributed.

The new model hay stack has a sign, too. It reads, "E-Publishing--Come all that may, you deserve this." Only a few authors will be found, despite mass distribution.

We have to pick our haystack. Do we wade the treacherous rapids of the traditional publishing world or do we tread water in the deep pool of the self-published.

I am Metaphor Man today. I can leap tall similes in a single bound.

Cyndi Tefft said...

Things, they are a'changin'. Still, there's no question that you have a leg up if you're traditionally published. Not only does the publisher provide you with editors, do the formatting and cover art, etc... you also have clout when seeking reviews that an indie pub doesn't have.

I've run across dozens of book blogs that don't accept self-published books for review. That right there makes a difference. Perhaps things will change in that regard over time, but the little-self-pub-who-could will have to work much harder for recognition than the traditionally published.

At least the option is there now so that manuscripts don't have to linger in the drawer. Exciting times!

Toby Neal said...

Another great blog. You really have a nice way of cutting through the crap.

A Paperback Writer said...

This seems silly even to "bemoan" the fact. After all, as long as the idea of selling something has been around, so has the idea of getting people's attention in order to buy it -- even if it's just shouting out "Hot Dogs! Get your hot dogs!" That's still advertising. It's long been true that it's the best-promoted stuff, not necessarily the best stuff, that sells the best.

Laurie Boris said...

I like what @magpiewrites wrote...promoting is intimidating and exciting. Maybe I'll learn enough from this process to write a book about it!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Well said, and may I add that it's never too early to start to build your author's platform. If you're inclined to blog, put it up now and commit to a regular posting schedule. Even if your first book is barely more than a twinkle in your eye, take the steps to develop your reader base today!

Douglas Brown said...

Very good post. I believe now is the time that a book without much promotional power has the best chance in history to become a hit. But I still believe that chance is infinitely remote. As much as I'd like to just sit and write for my publisher, I understand that I must get my name and book out there. I think the biggest mistake authors (including myself) make is wasting time with ideas that don't work. Again, good post. I've been a quiet reader of your blogs for quite some time. Thanks.

Tana Adams said...

Godspeed to writers everywhere, right? What's stopping us now? Oh yeah, that whole marketing thing.

Mira said...

Well, I don't know, Nathan. This is a good article, I certainly agree that this is a great time to be an author (!!), and you may very well be right about promotion.

But I'm still on the fence about this whole thing. I keep coming back to the bottom line, which is that the Kindle came out less that four years ago. It's all so new. And what is happening now may not be happening a year from now. Things are changing quickly.

I think it's important not to take a narrow view. That was the problem, imho, with Mike Shastkin's article. It's looking at things under a microscope that should be looked at with a wide-view lens.

One thing I do think - which is that books have been traditionally hard to find. Wandering around a bookstore is a terrible way to find a book. I don't think we are used to thinking about how to deliver a book to a consumer that wants it.

I think that will change. Readers want to know about books. I know this because I am a reader, and I want to know about new and good books all the time.

I think that new ways to help me find those books will start popping up, which is good! I think we are just starting to see in what ways books will be matched with the right readers.

Hopefully, it will be easy ways, that will leave the writer with time to write! I hope so, anyway.

But I tend to be very optimistic about this whole thing. I think all the problems will get worked out over time.

But that's me.

Thanks, Nathan, really interesting discussion!

Jesse said...

When did an author NOT have to promote him- or herself? Most of us just don't have an agent to help out with that job, but we do it constantly. This will make no difference.

Allie said...

This is a very relevant blogpost and I'd love to be able to share it on my podcast BlogsAloud. I'd like to get permission to use it on my episode Friday.

Dana Stabenow said...

"Just being an author" never did exist. The first thing my first publisher did was send me a multi-page form to fill out, stating specifically what I would do to promote the book under contract. Then, it included bookstore signings, library appearances, touring, attending cons.

Now they want to know if you have a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. The difference? The latter you can do sitting at home in your jammies. I'll take the now.

Sheila Cull said...


I know you've done entire previous blogs on this topic but can/will you list in a one or two line sentence what authors need to do for self promotion?

Also, I've been in SAG commercials and have a great public speaking resume. How could this translate into self promotion since I've yet to sell my essay collection. Although, I've been published in many magazines. Do I pick up the phone and call, places, that may want speakers? Who would look for a speaker?

Last question, tweeting over blogging, blogging over tweeting, the same? Do both?

Sheila Cull


wry wryter said...

For me this is a very timely post Nathan.
I was just notified by an agent that he would have taken on my book but I’m not famous enough. (Could be form-letter BS but I don’t think so.)
I get it.
I DO NOT have a problem promoting. That anyone would find self-promotion beneath them is either from another planet or so well known seeking privacy is part of the package.
As an unknown we can’t all be Susan Boyle. Whatever happened to her anyway.

Ms. Trite says:
If you are an ‘am not yet’ and you want to be an 'I am now’
Remember that unless you are an ‘always will be’
You’ll be a ‘once was’ which is better than a ‘never heard of’

Jenni Holbrook-Talty said...

Being successful, whether traditionally published or self-published is pretty much based on the same things. Quality product, good solid promotion, strong platform, consistency, persistence, hard work and a fair amount of luck.

Christina Katz said...

I think this is a very wise post, Nathan. You've balanced the hype with long-term publishing wisdom. If aspiring authors could always take a long-term approach instead of looking for short-cuts, I think they would always be surprised by how successful they would become in the long run. At the end of the day, everything in publishing works exactly the same way life works: sow seeds, tend the garden, harvest later. The harvest is worth waiting for when you don't take short cuts.

Eric DelaBarre said...

I agree, but when Snookie and The Rock are called NY Times Best Selling "Authors" I just wanna hurl!

Emily St. John Mandel said...

Good post. I do have fleeting moments where I wish I could be "just an author", as I think we all do; those moments coincide with the times where I'm deep in a project and really just want to spend all my time writing. But I have to say, for the most part I've found the process of promoting my books surprisingly rewarding.

When I sold my first novel I was frankly dreading having to go sell myself on Twitter and Facebook, but it turns out that the key to self-promotion is, paradoxically, not talking about your books too much. Going online and engaging in conversation with readers and other writers never feels like work to me.

David Jarrett said...

We indeed seem to have reached the point at which promotion outweighs quality. That is probably the reason why I, as a lifetime avid reader, am not reading as much anymore. It is becoming harder and harder for me to find a book that interests me enough to spend my time reading it.

I find the idea of accepting, rather than railing against this trend, more than a little repulsive. It is akin to giving in and giving up to a concept that has little real merit. It may not be "productive" to bemoan it, but that depends on what one's definition of "productive" is. If making money from writing satisfies the definition, you are probably right; if being true to yourself and your values is the important thing, you're probably not. When the importance of the packaging exceeds that of the product, the end result is not good.

Sasha Barin said...

David, I personally agree with you, and it is a little sad - but only looking at it personally.

Looking objectively:
-We can't really judge "quality" for others - only for ourselves
-Thus, the best thing we can do is write the book of the highest "quality" (as we perceive it), and then promote it the best we can, hopefully to find readers who match us in the definition of "quality"

February Grace said...

I just want to write the book I want to write- let it stand or fall on its own because if there's one thing that's subjective it's entertainment.

There are huge franchises that I've never read or seen a movie of. There are others I'll love till the day they pry my R2D2 action figure from my cold, dead hand. Or my tricorder (same thing. good thing I have two hands.) I can't make people like my book no matter how it's published. If anyone could figure out how to do that then they'd be very rich and everyone would love the same things.

I'm grateful the scene is changing. If I could put out the book that I want to write- and it resonates with a few people out there- that would be all I could ask for.

I think in the end that's what being a writer is about- being heard. How many people you need to be heard by to be happy will determine how much promotion you do or how long you're willing to keep knocking on agent's doors/try to get traditionally published. I also think that there are some folks who are unintentionally shooting themselves in the foot by giving the friends on FB/blog followers they do have marketing fatigue by overdoing it. It's a fine line between promoting and putting everyone to sleep starting every post with the name of your book.

This introvert is grateful for the e-publishing revolution, otherwise I might just stick with the Emily Dickinson route (my personally adopted current strategy of marketing myself) and let my relatives decide after I'm dead if anything in the trunk is worth putting out there.

Love the Wonderbar trailer, by the way! Good stuff, that. The floating corn dog is priceless.


Carolyn Abiad said...

Well said! My WNBA group (books, not basketball) hosted a panel on social media, and reputation management was part of the discussion. My post today is a recap and it links back here.

I got a comment from a reader that stumped me: Is it true that we should be blogging with a real/pen name for best results? Yes?

snarkylark said...

Great article...

Maybe I'm just green, but I still don't understand why authors bemoan their role in promotion. Yes, it takes an incredible amount of time and energy, energy you'd like to be putting into that next book everyone is waiting for. You know, the one you have to get out before people forget who you are. That said, it gives you the opportunity to be (somewhat) in control of how much exposure your book gets. Put in the time and hopefully get a return, but it's better than waiting for someone else to do it.

Just a thought from an unpub'd writer who is still thrilled to get rejections from agents because it means I'm out there doing everything I can...


Anonymous said...

I guess this is gonna be a lame question; 'cause everybody seems to get it but me!

What is the big deal about "a floating corndog"? I just got back from seeing the movie "Diary of a wimpy kid; Roderick Rules"....and when the character Greg said that line....the entire audience broke out laughing!

What is the hidden meaning of a floating corn dog????

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