Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is Marketing Fiction a Waste of Time?

What writers haven’t wrestled with this question? Especially today’s Indie Writers who have to do everything by themselves. Write the fiction, publish it somewhere, and attract readers to the work? 

It’s a dilemma. The competition is fierce and who wants to stand on the metaphorical equivalent of a freeway exit ramp with a chest sign reading “Buy My Book (Please).”  

How to balance all this? More cogently, how to justify hours and hours of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ time sending out low key posts (“Pretty Please!”)? And if, in abject frustration that no-one is buying, low-key becomes high-key shameless marketing…well, you know what happens then. We’re advised that everyone in Cyberspace will be turned off and we might as well pack it in. 

Hoo boy! What’s a writer to do?

Published novelist, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, has blogged about this at great length in a post about a year ago called: “Hurry Up. Wait.” Here’s the link: Rusch says she spent over 30 years in the traditional publishing industry so her comments come with the benefit of real expertise. Every writer should read it.

Her thesis? Basically, that marketing activities are generally a waste of time that’s more profitably spent in writing your next book. 

An excerpt: “Publicity doesn’t work for books. It really doesn’t. All it does is get your name in front of a reader who might then glance at your book…I buy (books) because of word-of-mouth, just like every other reader on the planet…So indie writers who promote their book instead of writing the next book are wasting their time. The more books you’ve written, the more books you’ll sell. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked.”

Rusch also devotes much of this blog to the differences between the traditional publishing route and the Indie Route. I know you’ve read tons of stuff about this. So have I. But this one really makes the processes clear in both cases and I found it extraordinarily helpful to my own publishing goal. For me, it justifies my commitment to Indie publishing, but each writer is different so what works for me may not work for you. 

Whatever, the bottom line is this. Keep writing. Don’t let anything get in the way.

Robert Tell
Novelist, Poet and Wannabe Golfer

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