Douglas Milewski (dacuteturtle) wrote,
Douglas Milewski

Marketing the Novel

Over the last few months, I have been haunting boards and learning about marking novels, and how readers react to marketing novels.

In short, you can't market anything without actually marketing it somehow, with most ways being found impolite by somebody, and some ways achieving the gold standard "rude" status. I also learned that readers perceive self-published writers as marketers, not writers, along with everything bad that implies. Can it be so bad if one person markets to you? The problem is, I'm not one person. Consider that as I do these things, x1000 other people are out there doing the exact same things, all turning a trickle into a torrent. We are legion, and like a plague of locusts, will destroy the very ecosystem that sustains us. How's that for Biblical?

So, how the hell am I supposed build an audience without alienating that audience? I don't know the answer to that question. I really don't. And really, it's the same problem tackled by every book publisher out there. There are lots of people to buy your books, but in absolute terms, your non-buyers far outnumber your buyers, but you can't get to one group without tromping around in the other.

For now, I can write books that nobody reads except my wife and a few friends. I can build a body of work. That's good. When someone does want to read my writing, they'll find stuff. However, I haven't actually solved my problem, I've only kicked the can down the road. How do I build an audience for a sub-genre with no ready pool of readers? Hell, for that matter, how do I get my friends to actually read what I wrote, let alone my enemies? (Yeah, I know. "Write a good book." RIM-SHOT! Everyone's a comedian.)

Last year, my ambition was one sale. I achieved that. This year, my ambition is ten sales. If current trends continue, the odds look grim. This pessimism has nothing to do with my writing. It has everything to do with the market.

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