In my naivete, back in the heady days April 2009, I imagined that the act of publishing my novel "Owe Nothing" would automatically bring some level of attention, and - more importantly to me - some new readers.
Money is great, but to me, it's a by-product of the other success: popularity.
Back in 2008, as I slowly reached the final editing stage and started thinking about the publishing process, I wondered how and if my little book would make some kind of splash in "the market". I barely understood what "the market" is, much less had a plan for penetrating it successfully.
(Hm. Let me rewrite that last bit...)
...much less had a plan for joining it successfully.
A few things I've learned or opinions I've formed since April 17, 2009, when my book first went live on the Internet:
- I probably expect too much from the webbed world, for my sporadic e-marketing efforts. As with my personal web projects, I am throwing a pebble into the sea, not a boulder. The initial splash and it's ripples won't be noticed amidst all the other motion of the ocean.
- In many ways, it is the author or their personality or reputation that are being marketed, more than the work itself. Am I prepared to market myself in this way? I've certainly had a life worth telling. Is that the hook that will get people's attention?
- I only need between 100 to 1000 fans. There are, I don't know, millions of authors out there, vying for attention! Good god - how would I ever be heard in a room that size? I am trying to find smaller groups, more targeted to me and my stories. "Sniper marketing", instead of a weapon of mass promotion. (Gee, I hate that metaphor.)
- Physically, books have a long lifespan. In popular terms, less so, unless you can stir up their relevance in some way. A book can be a flash in the media, and then linger in old age in discount bins and archives for many years. Maybe all I can hope for is that copies of my book will outlive me...
- I want feedback, commentary and reviews. Me and my jangly nerves survived the critiques back in art school. I'm ready. This is all part of the growth and refinement process. But, I must go out and make an effort to solicit the feedback I need. It won't come to me, and many ways, won't come for free.
- At the end of the day, the story's the thing. I'm not in this to be a marketer or a salesman for my own wares. I'm in this to try and affect people and connect to them by telling my own story, thinly veiled behind some entertaining avatars.