As you probably know, marketing of a book is a very big deal. In some ways, like the music industry, the marketing can be a bigger deal than the work itself. It’s also the most difficult for most authors. I mean, how many writers write a novel because it would allow them to market?
But it’s a big piece of the process now, bigger than ever before. I’ve heard, now, from several quarters, that small presses also like marketing plans submitted with manuscripts. The marketing plan helps to sell the story to an editor, sometimes. The marketing of these things happens at the same time as the editing. It’s a deeper more comprehensive look at the market place. It happens much earlier, and gets far more attention than ever before.
Oddly enough, marketing affects the writing too. One friend told me he used to give a book 100 pages to “catch” him. He’s a pretty “into it” reader. Now, he said he gives a book 25 pages or so. Earlier in history of the “Duck Boy” manuscript, an editor, who rejected the story, told me I had too many subordinate clauses in some of my sentences, which would put readers off, and affect the marketing of the book. The audience is truly impacting how books are written. If you look at the Harry Potter series, for example, I could easily argue that J.K. Rowling adapted her style to suit an audience that does not give a story as much of a chance as it used to.
Ebooks, Bitingduck’s editor-in-chief Jay Nadeau says, out sold traditional book last year for the first time. Ebooks are marketed differently than traditional books. In the age of the ebook, I’ve been told that people don’t buy just a book any more, they also “buy” the author. The example I’ve heard is one from music. If folks like the music of a singer, but don’t like the singer, they’ll download the music for free. If they like the music, and the singer, they’ll buy the music online. Apparently, this is similar to marketing a book.
In my use of social media, for example, I’ve never populated it with “real” information. I didn’t use pictures. I checked it once in a million minutes or so. I didn’t bother with some media at all. Guess what? I had to change. I had to add detail, add photos, add the stories. Did it make me feel comfortable? No. Is it what’s necessary? Yes.
It’s different now than it used to be. In the old days, books get published, and book reps circulate to the bookstores and try to get them to buy the book and give it an appropriate display. Then there are launches, books signings and readings. That’s the traditional stuff.
Because we still have traditional buyers, the traditional stuff stays, too. So there are several bookings that I need to attend to, plan, and execute. I’ve got to rock it, old school. So that’s what I’ve begun to do. I’ve begun to plan the launch and distribution and that sort of thing.
Here’s what marketing looks like now: It’s all the new stuff. Plus, all the old stuff. Sounds like we’re going to be very busy.