Wednesday, July 26, 2006

That Marketing Thing

This has been a hot topic among fellow writers for a long time now. No wonder. I researched the publishing industry recently for an MBA paper I wrote. Nice how I killed two birds with one paper, eh? The numbers were staggering. I can't remember the specifics, but something like 120,000 new titles hit the shelves each year. I'm sure that's way off, but anything that involves six figures is pretty mind-boggling.

So what's a writer to do to get noticed? Some of my peers have gotten quite creative. Check out Brandilyn's Tanner Lake blog. It's written by her characters in her most recent suspense. T.L. Hines has a great website with contests and all kinds of neat marketing tools. The point is: we've got to go above and beyond book signings and maybe a radio spot on our local Christian station.

I do marketing in my current job, and my church is looking into marketing as well. There's all kinds of help out there. Did you know you can mail out 5,000 postcards for the cost of a small advance? Yes, that's what I said. Your advance. Don't run out and buy a new laptop as soon as that check hits your hot little hands. Use it. That's your marketing fund. You have to invest in yourself. And, if you do that, it will get an editor's attention. They want you to be serious about your career. It's just like any other form of self-employment--only you can build up your business. Publishers don't hire writers, they contract them. It's a harsh reality, but it's our reality. Wanna chase this dream? We gotta know every aspect, put on our business caps, and think (forgive me) outside the box.

Maybe all writers should pursue a marketing degree. Now there's an idea for some smart individual out there. "A writer's course in marketing" coming soon to a college campus near you! Go for it, my little key-tappers.


Gina said...

I don't have a book yet, but I'm trying to market myself through my blog and while it doesn't take a lot of money, it sure takes a lot of time.

Thanks for the link change. ;)And if you're ever available for brainstorming my cozy, let me know. It's actually my third WIP on my to do list, but it's never too early to brainstorm. :)

~ Bailey Truitt said...
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Dineen A. Miller said...

How bout I do your design work and you can help me do the marketing thing? LOL! Sounds like a good trade to me.

Maybe instead of brainstorming stories, next time we ought to branstorm some market strategies. I bet that could be really fun!

Mark Terry said...

"Publishers don't hire writers, they contract them. It's a harsh reality, but it's our reality."

Essentially. Another way to look at it is publishers are the venture capital investors hoping that by investing in your product (you/your book) they will eventually hit it big. The sad, but true aspect of this is that, just like VCs, mostly what they offer are money and advice. Much of the marketing, etc., comes from, well, maybe we'll figure that out someday.