To Market, To Market

 

Today’s blog will be short and sweet—stop that cheering—I can hear you!

There used to be a saying that “writers write, that’s what they do.” It was true at one time. Back in the days of the big however many houses when author marketing was largely handled by the publicity and/or marketing departments of the author’s house. Back in the day, the marketing department arranged the publicity, bought the ads and air time, sold the books not only to bookstores (there were a lot of them pre- ereaders), but to book clubs and book of the month style clubs. A well-known writer’s book (and even books of lesser known writers) were splashed everywhere. At least for a few months. Alas, no more.

Yes, there are still big houses—I think we are down to four, although it may be three. Hard to keep track. And to some extent they do some support publicity for their authors. Not too much for the most part, unless you are really famous, but they make sure the books are available at venues and often will punch up posters and flyers. Some still take ads in trade mags and newspapers. More often than not, even the big houses act as advisers, and the author is left to figure out the marketing thing by her/himself. The same is true of the small presses. They do what they can, and often do more than the big houses, but still, the onus is on the writer. And therein lies the rub.

Every writer I know (and I know a few) would much rather sit in their cave and grind out the words. That does not sell books. Those of us who thought all we had to do was write a good book and readers would beat a path to our doors begging for the next one, (can you see my hand waving), quickly discovered the error of our ways. Instead we learned the benefits of Facebook, how to work our author pages, got up close and friendly with Canva and learned to make our own ads (still learning) and of course, we tweeted our hearts out. It’s all about staying connected, with our publisher, agent, editor, other authors (who swap information on what they’ve found to work because we are all in this together) and with the readers.

The readers are the lifeblood of any author’s marketing endeavors. Reaching, interacting, meeting, greeting, learning about your readers. It’s what sells books, yes. But it’s something more than that. It’s humanity in action. We write to gain a readership. What better way to do that then to meet the readers? Either on social media, or as the expression goes, F2F. Marketing is time consuming. It’s the reader interaction that makes it worthwhile. When the author cares about her audience, it shows. And it makes the marketing treadmill all worthwhile.

What about you, writers? Do you like or hate the marketing blitzkrieg of modern writing?

Readers, do you like meeting the authors, in person or cyberwise or do you wish we would all go away and write more books?

Kait loves to hear from fans, check out her website at www.kaitcarson.com; follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor, on twitter at @kaitcarson, or e-mail her at kait.carson@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “To Market, To Market

  1. I would like to be able to write a whole lot more and not have the maybe it works and maybe it does not of the marketing that we are forced to do. I would also like to have novels that are of a serious type and written in a way that lets readers know they are in for a serious and hard ride ahead. I wish there were more of the classics up front and I wish that writers took to heart the business of writing as a means in itself despite writing books that could be and may not be and are not written as if they were writers who read books that will be important years away. In short, whatever we get from writing, let it be an important [part of our cultural and the present as well as the current and whatever that is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very interesting MJ – so you feel that much of what is written today will not stand the test of time? You are probably right. It’s a part of our instant gratification mindset. Or at least the concept of quick, fast writing with little depth that we see so much of today does seem to bear that out. And maybe that is representative of the current culture.

      It’s hard to know what will stand the test of time. Much of Fitzgerald and Hemingway was slam dunk, same with Sinclair and Steinbeck, but who would have suspected Christie to make icon status? I enjoy her books, but they are fluff. It’s the writing that brings me back to them.

      Do you see any important writing going on now? Who? Do you think the jack of all trades mindset is forcing writers to produce with little thought and these same writers would produce classical works if they could simply concentrate on the writing?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Connie, F2F is face to face. One of the few texting terms that has invaded my personal lexicon.

    How do you feel about having to be out there? Do you enjoy it, or is it a necessary evil? Do you think it helps sales?.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love interacting with people–one of the reasons I enjoy teaching, but it is a time commitment. I find I focus on social media in spurts, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. But it is exactly that interaction that keeps me sane or I would spend too much time at the computer — not a good thing either. Balance is key. When I figure out how to achieve that, I’ll be sure to share! When things get too hectic, it’s time to go diving!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear you. I do the same with social media. Sometimes I am everywhere–then I’m underwater and at peace plotting the next murder. It’s a hard balance, and I’m sure there’s a secret, but so far, I don’t know the handshake. It’s the interaction that keeps me at it.

      Like

  4. Ah, Kait, I feel your pain! Okay, facts are facts, and the fact is that today’s literary world 99% (my estimate, just shy of Ivory Soap) of all writers MUST market on a regular basis if they hope to sell books and build a readership. Yep, the HUGE conglomerates (those four or so behemoths who used to be scores of “big” publishers) are a reality. If you’re a VERY BIG name you’ve got it made–publicity, marketing, ads, even book tours still exist in some cases–the whole ball of wax.

    I’m certainly no “name” but I do have a smidgen of taste of what a big publisher can mean for a writer. My first published book sold to a good-sized New York house, and then was re-sold to a BIG NY house (who has now grown even bigger with a merger a while back). Said book has sold (no bragging here, just for comparison) well over fifty thousand copies in paperback (with the current publisher). It was also sold (in hardcover) to a well-known book club, and to a foreign publisher. I don’t think it’s been publicized much, but you can’t beat good distribution and marketing. My other books have sold in the hundreds, and that’s COMBINED! And I’ve busted my butt with promotion and marketing for those books, while all I’ve done for the first book is run an occasional giveaway on Goodreads, and have been interviewed a few times. Reviews? Overall they’ve been wonderful, both reader and commercial (not sure if that’s the correct word) reviews. BUT, reviews come few and far between, and at another butt-busting cost.

    I’m not complaining (okay, maybe a little), but it is what it is. The market’s “cup runneth over” to borrow a phrase from a psalmist. I/we (most of us) write because it’s what we are deep down inside–writers. It can be both rewarding (not necessarily money-wise), and it can be extremely frustrating, aggravating, and disappointing. I don’t have to write from a monetary standpoint. I’ll never have fame or fortune from the who-knows-how-many hours I’ve put in. I sometimes think, “How wonderful would it be just to quit and enjoy reading, fishing on the lake in my backyard, taking a vacation whenever the mood hits me, etc.” But I (as of the present moment) CAN’T NOT WRITE! Obsession, curse, disease? Choose your own word.

    Sorry for the rambling. Jeez, you see? I’ve been WRITING! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Way cool, Mike. Yes, you are talking about Proud Bastards? It is a wonderful book and deserves all of the success i has had an more. Anyone who hasn’t read it–it is the story of a Marine in the late 1960s and it takes him from Parris Island through Viet Nam. It’s a hellishly realistic novel written by someone who knows what he is talking about and who is able to present a well balanced view of the war and the human cost.

      So, you know the difference. In an odd way, it’s comforting to know that the differences between a big house and a small house really do exist. I was beginning to blame myself!

      Write on, Mike. It’s a good addiction we all share.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kait, I think there will always be a place for good mysteries because people need and want to get away from their problems. Entertainment is a legitimate need. We all need to relax and enjoy. There is nothing wrong with it. I like Christie and her peculiar characters, I like the movies and TV shows that go with her. I like Sherlock Holmes and the noir mysteries.
    I think we now suffer from a junky narcissistic culture that focuses on reality shows, books written by people who don’t edit them and who didn’t prepare to write in any way, and a general frenzy to (as one person I know says is his goal) to be famous. We are inundated with superficial, badly written books because it is technologically possible to be. Maybe the classic arts were never made to be consumed by the majority of people. Maybe that is a snotty attitude. Whether true or not, the junk pushes out much of the authors who write well written books. I do see excellent books being produced today by people like Amity Gaige, Wendell Berry, and our own Michael Helms. Each of these writers is different, but the similarity is quality and talent. There is a reason “Proud Bastards” is a classic. I am only sad that the “Of Blood and Brothers” one and two have not received the recognition they deserve. I put that at the doorstep of the schools and the inadequate education they provide. Not everyone is literate and that does not make them stupid. There are different kinds of intelligence and all masteries in life are of value. As for writing, if you’ve got to write you’ve got to write. It’s in your blood. I love mysteries and taboo subjects so I say go for it regardless of the conditions. Life never was easy and writers generally don’t write because they are happy carefree souls. Much of literature is a mass of the miseries endured by the human race recorded by those with a special sensitivity to it. Anyway that’s my rant. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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