So, you want to get published, huh?
Well, I’ve never met Elizabeth Peters.
For that matter, I’ve never even glimpsed Agatha Christie, Rex Stout or a myriad of other authors whose work I enjoy. Do I wish I had? Maybe. Would it have been fun, or disappointing? I don’t know. However, I’m okay with just reading their books.
Pardon the literary equivalent of whip-lash. If you’ve made it this far into my column, you’re undoubtedly wondering if I have a point. Well, of course I do. Here it is: It’s expected these days – meeting people, that is. In person, in social media, in newsletters and especially in large, impersonal quantities. It’s a part of selling books. Does it work? That’s hard to say. Anybody who knows anything about marketing also knows “presence” is required if your “target audience” is to know you exist so they can throw money in your direction.
Does that make you cringe? Yeah, me too. In fact, I don’t know too many authors who are chomping at the bit to go out and self-promote. The “large quantities” are an elusive, daunting goal. Especially for us introverts (read “writers”).
|Joyce Yarrow, Jeanne Matthews and me at a recent event.|
You should read their books ... and mine.
Why do we persist in doing this thing that so many of us hate and feel so inadequate in doing? Why force ourselves to think of new, attention-getting activities, and a lot of old ones that publishers used to do to promote their authors? Because we’re trying to reach those people who will smack themselves in the head and declare to their friends and acquaintances, "I've just finished a book that you have to read!”
Word of mouth. It’s the best marketing tool there is, and tapping into it is a bitch.
Yup. That's THE reason I’ve read all of Elizabeth Peters’ books (including those under her other names), Agatha Christie, Rex Stout et al. It's because someone suggested them to me in the first place, and I took it from there.
That’s what we all try to do, write the best book we can and then pray to the god of mystery readers that people like it – especially that person who will tell their friends. Have you told a friend about a book you’ve read and enjoyed? Go ahead and do it. You’ll be doing the author a favor that costs you nothing, and chances are that initial book you bought cost less than the Thigh Master® sitting in the back of your closet you don’t want anyone to know you have.
So, those of you who long to publish (indie or otherwise), do you still want to do it?