Monday, 5 December 2011

The Marketing Maze

Okay, so you’ve written your book, then rewritten it again, a few times, edited it a few times more and then sat on it for another month or so - or in my case, fifteen years - deciding whether or not it’s ready to be read by anyone else.
When you’ve had one or two stern conversations with yourself, you finally, and rather naively, press the upload button. Upon preview your file looks like it was written in several different languages in numerous fonts. Your serial-abused PC suffers yet more verbal assaults as you reformat your book for the tenth tedious attempt.
Some time later, much later, your preview gets a little tick alongside of it and the deed is ultimately done. You are . . . elated? Popping Champagne corks? Ringing your friends?
Wondering what to do next?
Then your little bubble of self-satisfaction pops upon reading the phrase, ‘Marketing your book,’ and you realise that self-publishing is a little like pulling a loose thread on a sweater.
Everywhere you look someone ‘in the know’ states that you should begin marketing your book at least six months BEFORE you publish! Your attention is momentarily diverted to the copy of ‘Catch Twenty-two’ on your book shelf.
 Ah well, one step ahead you think, no one will have to eagerly await anything.
You read all the blog and author resources pages your sore eyes can handle and sign up for a twitter account.
You gaze vacantly at the little blue bird as the cursor blinks with monotonous impatience, waiting for you to tweet something. You’ve just written a 140,000 word novel, but the seventeen word maximum renders you a drooling fool.
You start a Facebook fan page and offer swapsies with your Linked In groups to ‘Like’ your page. You spend a day religiously perusing hundreds of fan pages, reading profiles, hitting buttons etc, then wait eagerly for reciprocation and hundreds of encouraging comments on your fresh new page.
The numbers look like a death row reunion party.
It can’t be because they don’t like the book - Google stats tell you that so far, NOBODY has read it yet! Well of course they haven’t, because you haven’t SOLD it.
You try and keep from picking up your copy of ‘Catch Twenty-two’ in order to avoid the issue of self-publicising after self-publishing.
And then it hits you. Until someone - a complete stranger - reads the book and reviews it, you may be deluding yourself you can actually write worth a damn.
You need an impartial review from a respected source; preferably someone who has a penchant for your genre/subject matter. Google works overtime for another few hours and you bookmark a number of review sites and blogs. Most of them are not accepting submissions at the moment. Those that are have a backlog of titles before yours comes to the top of the pile.
The cruel trill of marketing demon laughter echoes somewhere in the recesses of your bewildered mind.

Ultimately, there is little point in looking or hoping for shortcuts. The maze beckons, but as I’m beginning to discover, you meet some very interesting people navigating the same route.
An upside at last!