Mark Terry

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Little Tightening Of The Gut...

January 6, 2010
Last week I was in the midst of an e-mail conversation with a couple relatively local published novelists (2 in Michigan, 1 in Ohio) about possibly doing some joint-workshops ala Getting Your Novel Written & Published, etc. It was an interesting exchange, but when I was done, I had, not a panic attack, but a kind of tense feeling, one that said, "Oh crap, here we go again with the book promotion."

Some people love it. They love getting out and meeting readers and plugging their novels. And yes, I do understand that if you're struggling just to get an agent or to get your novel published, me complaining about book marketing garners zero sympathy. Yes, I understand.

As a matter of fact, I generally enjoy meeting readers and book buyers. Granted, some of those encounters can turn pretty weird (like the little old lady who regaled me with a lengthy story about how her husband got mesothelioma from installing brake liners for one of the car companies; or the joint book signing I did where nobody showed up and neither of us sold books; or the conference I attended and sold one book during my signing; or the TV interview I did for a local public access channel that as far as I can tell never aired; like the guy who stopped by where I was hawking books and I asked him, "Do you like mysteries?" and he snapped, "No!" and walked away; or the gentleman at the panel I chaired who caught two of us afterwards and demanded to know why we put so much violence and crime in our books and how didn't we think we had a responsibility to make the world better by only writing happy books). But the time and expense and energy, well...

And today I got the invoice from my web maven for the revamping and updating of the website. And the tightening of the gut was a little more severe, since the costs were slightly over half of my book's advance after my agent fee (actually, post taxes, I probably broke even). So the voice in my head, the one that's always there whispering, "What the f*** are you doing? Sure it's fun, but it's a big time and money suck, are you nuts?" got well above a whisper this morning.

And frankly I don't have a happy message for you this morning. No positivity or optimistic message about how if you just persist, everything will turn out OK, that marketing efforts pay off in the long run. "How long, Oh Lord?" I want to moan.

This is my particular writing demon and he's a persistent bastard that rides around on my shoulder with his scaly tail hanging down my back and his withered and chapped lips pressed close to my ear. And I wish he'd go away.


Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Awwww! I did intense marketing for about six or seven months. Didn't seem to make any difference, and the amount of marketing I'd have to do to make a difference, wasn't worth it to me. Besides, seriously, the most insane effort I make sells a couple books, but the next book I write sells my older books ten thousand times quicker. And the new one, too, LOL.

But then, I guess having 56-62K published every one or two or three months is sort of an insane marketing method, too.

7:30 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

No doubt Natasha. I'm about to step on that road myself this year, though my word counts aren't as high, thank God!

I don't have an answer for you Mark, except to say, HELL DUDE, YOU HAVE A BOOK OUT! Enjoy it, man! It's what I'm trying to do.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

My feeling about book publicity is, do however much you enjoy doing. If you don't enjoy it at all, do enough to placate your publisher. It won't make an iota of difference as far as sales go.

2:51 PM  

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