Monday, March 28, 2011

Marketing and Publicity: Don't Make Me Do This!

While finalizing the details of my on-air interview on Wednesday, March 30, with Jennifer Walker on BlogTalk Radio, Jennifer told me she doesn't do e-books. She doesn't have an eReader and she doesn't like to read books on her computer because that is her time away from the computer. I get what she's saying, especially after staring at a screen for sixteen or more hours a day. She's not that plugged in and it doesn't look like she wants to be. I get it. I find it strange, but I get it. After all, not everyone who interviews an author actually reads the book. They are there to provide a forum for the author, not get into a debate about the pros and cons of the book. Aren't they?

That's the thing about publicity and marketing, what I think I know is not necessarily what's true or even what works. Take the example of commenting on blogs. One publicity guru says you should add a link to whatever project or blog is most important to you and needs the boost and another one says that is just plain bad manners. What!? Which is it, a good idea or bad manners? I err on the side of caution and do both, use a link to the current book on some blogs and blatantly leave it off on others, and we are back to the one-size does not fit all discussion. The only time one size has ever fit me the way I like, it was polyeste and it didn't look all that great. I refuse to wear muumuus and robes all the time no matter how comfortable they are.

Marketing and publicity are not my strong suits, but I know they are part of the wild and wonderful world of writing books. I like writing books. I even occasionally don't mind editing -- for the fifth time. I find that I do enjoy working with artists on book covers and print covers. Michael Reighn and Aubrey Boneau make it fun -- even when I nit pick and suggest changes or ask questions about why something has to be a certain way. Most of the time I leave them to do their job, make what I hope are helpful suggestions (hey, I do have an artistic background -- I used to paint and draw portraits and I know the basics of color and design since I haven't worn plaids and prints together in ages), and get back stunning art work and covers. That's fun, but I hate marketing and publicity. So much time for a return that isn't always obvious. I do it, but I don't have to like it. but I do it. Let's put it this way, I am a whole lot less averse to liver and onions, buttermilk and Brussels sprouts. I happen to like them all. Marketing and publicity are for arcane departments where they talk about polls, numbers and full color spreads. I prefer my arcane knowledge in tarot cards and scrying mirrors.

Give me something simple to do, like create characters out of whole cloth, research viruses and archaeology, build civilizations and write articles. That I can do. Just let me write while I live in NeverNever Land where good books sell themselves and I'm a millionaire living in a luxurious cabin high in the Colorado Rockies, but don't make me do publicity. I'd rather have a root canal, not that I need a root canal, but you get the point.

Marketing must be done and I must publicize my books, no matter how much it hurts, and I will grin and bear it. I don't have to like it. However, I do enjoy doing interviews, even when the interviewer is someone who doesn't do e-books and the e-book she isn't going to do is my latest book. The interview is set and the print book won't be ready for a few more weeks, so we'll have to talk about writing and Among Women in the abstract. Who knows? Someone might be listening and be so curious they'll want to check out the book. Stranger things have happened.

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