Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Old Dog, New Tricks

I'm at a point in the writing process that I have to assume takes many writer's by surprise: marketing.

No writer who I have ever talked to--aspiring or professional--has ever indicated to me that they decided to become a writer simply for the marketing opportunities it would afford them. Most writers (I'm generalizing but stay with me) are introverted, if not misanthropic, and would gladly leave anything involving interacting with other people to other people.

That, I am told, is no longer possible, at least if you want to sell some books.

Up to this point, for me, it hasn't been much of a problem. In fact, there has not yet been a hint of social interaction during this entire process. The publishers and I communicate solely by e-mail, I have done all the blurb-begging via e-mail and much of my embryonic marketing campaign is focused around the Internet. The only physical item to come out of all this is the hard copy of the contract the publisher mailed me.

But still, what I've been doing over the past weeks is not writing, so even though I've not had to approach strangers directly, I'm still out of my comfort zone. Add to that the fact that I haven't a clue as to what I'm doing or supposed to be doing and I can see I am in for a rough ride.

I thought I was well positioned for marketing: I had a long-running web site and a solid fan base as well as a presence on many UK-US forums. Not enough, I was told. So I started a blog to go along with my website, only to read that blogs are passé and anyone who is anyone should be on Facebook.

Like everyone else on the planet, I have a Facebook account. I opening it some time ago just to see what it was about and, not able to comprehend it, I left it alone. Now that it has become the (alleged, and likely self-proclaimed) newest, cutting edge tool for marketers (if you don't count Twitter) I figured I ought to generate a Facebook presence. So I logged back in, and I still can't figure it out. Invitations to virtual Scrabble Tournaments and other, less savory activities keep popping up and people I've never met keep telling me that they are looking forward to getting drunk, are drunk, or are hung over from having been drunk, but I can't find any way to tell them what I am doing (i.e. trying to sell a book) or load any meaningful content.

So I signed up for Twitter; sure it's pointless, but at least it's easier to understand.


  1. mike, I left you a comment early this morning but I now see that, for whatever reason, it didn't 'take'. Anyway, I have to rush right now (shopping?) but I called by this time to let you know that I have squeezed a short post out of yours and published it. Some guys will do anything to conjure up a post! ;-) Take a look over at mine. Oh, and I've linked you, too.

  2. Hi
    Saw your name re Stinking Billy. Now there's a real blogger. I too have done self publishing. Lost money but no regrets. Write free lance for a motoring mag but hardly qualifies me as a writer I fear. Have a project in mind in the New Year. By the way, NOT everyone is on Facebook. Found your blog interesting and will be back. Hope you read mine when you have chance. The blogging world has many, many excellent writers who are not professionals.Know what you mean about professional proofreaders. I made many mistakes that were not spotted. loose/lose?
    Good luck to your blog and other work.



  3. Hi Mike,
    I too cannot fathom Facebook, MySpace and all the rest... besides most of my spare time is already taken up by blogging so I don't have time for any of those... and besides I find the blog world far more interesting; full of intellectual and interesting people who have something to say!

  4. Wow, Brit, you're going way back, and leaving comments faster than I can respond. I spent 5 hours this morning trying to set up links to my book from MySpace and Facebook. And after all that time, I'm not really satisfied with the results, and I expect only about 6 people will see them, anyway.