I’m guessing most people in the publishing arena realize PR and marketing are part of the game. For better or worse, it’s up to us to help (mostly) sell our books. No longer can an author depend on their publisher to go to lengths to incite interest in their book and find hungry readers.
It’s up to the author to reach and network with potential customers. And that’s all good—if you have the necessary skills and savvy to pull it off. It also helps if you like marketing yourself and your work.
For me, this is the hardest part of establishing a writing career. I’m not a sales person. Nor do I want to be a sales person. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I can blissfully write, socialize with my writer friends, and pretend it doesn’t matter. Because no one is going to do it for me. And those who don’t market, don’t make it. I don’t want to be in that group.
So what to do? And this is where my difficulties arise. How many reader/writer groups can a person reasonably belong to and actually contribute to? You can’t just pop up one day and say please read my excerpt and buy my book when you haven’t participated up to that point. How many contacts and workshops does it take to actually learn how to do a good job of marketing?
The standard social networking sites are easy and my first choice for networking, but I’m not really comfortable using them as marketing tools at this point in my career. I’ve never been good at shouting for attention and then talking about my achievements or asking others to purchase something I’ve created. I’ve discovered there’s a big difference between showing your work to people who ask to read it and putting it out there for people you hope will read an excerpt and then purchase the complete work. Marketing is hard work and one of my least favorite things (right up there with the dreaded synopsis) about the writing/publishing process.
How about you? How do you prefer to market? Do you like the reader/writer sites and loops? The popular social networking sites? What has proven most effective in your campaign? When do you start your campaign for a new book?