I am a newly-published, first-time novelist. The concept sounds odd to me, given that I have been writing for twenty years, but yes, I am a complete newbie. And what I have discovered, as a newbie, that is most shocking, is that I am doing an unbelievable amount of marketing of my book, even though I have a big publisher. Now, call me naive, but I didn't anticipate this at all.
I have been stumbling in the dark with this since about three or four months before my June debut. I have invested hundreds and hundreds of hours in scouring the internet, sending my book to people who might review it or write about it in some way or other, pitching related (tangentially at least) articles to magazines and newspapers, trying to set up readings, and driving around to bookstores in the Los Angeles area to sign books. Yet, I am not even close to touching the hem of the best seller list. How did this happen?
Some of the ideas for what I am doing came from my editor, agent, or publicist. Others I have gleaned from reading books and doing online searches for other authors' marketing stories. There are lots of good ideas out there, and every time I stumble across one, I pursue it. But too often, it ends with something like this: "We really liked your pitch, but it doesn't suit our current needs." Or, "We'd love to have you come read at our store, if you can deliver at least 100 attendees."
The thing is, as you all most certainly know, marketing is a full-time job, and it takes the kind of commitment that one gives to the thing that is most loved. Like writing. I want to work on my next book, damnit! I would love to hire someone to do all this for me, but the price tag is high, and who knows if the results will be worth it.
In my wanderings around the internet, one of my best discoveries has been Red Room, I think. This is a great forum, and it's very well laid out. I am wondering if this might not be a good place for writers who are working on marketing their books to put their heads together, share ideas, urge each other on, even share leads. And, if some of us happen to be in the same location, why not try to arrange joint readings, guerilla marketing, or other events?
What do you think, fellow writers (newbie and otherwise)? I'd love to hear from you.