Boy, am I glad I found an online group of writers who support each other (the Muse Conference writers) before I started doing research at traditional writers magazines and sites. There is just so much discouragement out there!
I was following a tip from someone about a story about book trailers and I went to Writer’s Digest online. They had some links for virtual book marketing and I dived right in. Though I did find some good information, most of it make virtual book marketing sound desperately hopeless and very, very expensive. I was hearing folks talk about book trailers costing thousands of dollars and how worthless virtual book tours were when translated to sales. It would make a would-be writer never pick up a pen and a published one think that their idea-child (their book) would be orphaned forever in the publisher’s back catalog!
For a lark, I also looked at virtual marketing, and frankly the advice I saw (not just at Writers Digest but at other places as well) was to hire a publicist. Yes, I do know how much work publicity can be—I’ve done it. But, they amounts quoted are astronomical—well into thousands of dollars. Of course, the idea is that a writer either doesn’t know how to do any of this OR is too lazy to do it. We writers should be writing and not worrying our pretty little heads about marketing.
I suppose, though, that the idea is that the only way to make any money with books is to spend a lot of money to market them. Getting the word out is crucial, but even big name authors often don’t make a lot–even with publishers. The reason we do this isn’t about the money (though that’s nice). It’s because we have a story to tell and we want more people to read what we have written. So marketing is a good idea.
But, I have been reviewing authors and rubbing virtual elbows with writers and publishers for a long time and they are doing it themselves. They are making their own book trailers (even people I know who can barely send an email are doing them!). These writers are mounting huge book tours.
Jamieson Wolf, who is one of the most prolific writers I know, recently did a blog tour for his new m/m romance, Hard, for Breathless Press. He did a 12-stop 14-day virtual book tour! AND, his book became a best seller for the publisher, selling 300+ in a month! Now, Stephen King would laugh at those numbers, but for any other writer—That’s huge!
So, that said. I’m beginning to wonder if publications that started out catering to traditional publishing like Writers Digest (and I’m not singling Writers Digest because the publication sent me to blogs and other sites all over the Net)—I’m beginning to wonder if they want to keep writers in the student stage, the unpublished stage, because it serves the paradigm of traditional publishing.
The writers I know have experienced a wide range of success–from just finishing a story or book to marketing their tenth book or more. We’re doing it. We’re writing. We’re publishing. We’re getting the word out about our books. And, we’re selling modestly. But isn’t even modest sales worth something?
So, to all of you writers starting out and all of you who have entered the doors of bigger publishers for your umpteenth book, congratulations!
We are writers, here us roar! And go read our books.
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