This is a Q&A a la Ann Landers from my newsletter Sharing with Writers. I thought Fiction Marketers would especially enjoy it, so I’m reprinting it here. Anyone would like to subscribe to Sharing with Writers may do so my sending at e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to HoJoNews@aol.com.
The Secret [by Rhonda Byrne] says that one reason people’s dreams don’t come true is that they give up just before they are about to succeed. I am ready to give up. Just call me Peggy, WannaBeWriter
I believe that people do give up too soon. Especially when it comes to promotion. It’s one reason I talk about persistence so much.
And The Secret also talks about positive energy. That’s what promotion is. It’s your best shot being put out into the universe and that sometimes (not always) takes time.
That’s not to say that at times it’s not natural to feel like giving up. Putting aside having a well-written book that hits the market at the right time, the speed of an author’s success is usually strongly influenced by its genre. That’s one of the reasons I shared all the stuff I learned when I was promoting my first novel, This Is the Place, by writing my first how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter. Fiction–especially nonspeculative fiction–is one of the hardest genres of all to promote and I wanted others to know it could be done.
This Is the Place won its publisher’s Mille Award for marketing and sales the first year it was published but only after it almost failed for lack of promotion by the publisher and by me! And not until after I lost a really big wad of money hiring a publicist who didn’t understand using the themes and other elements in a novel to promote it!
This Is the Place is a literary novel published in 2001 (though it’s still available in the new and used book section on Amazon for about $1). I think I sold about 2,000 and even that relatively small number was sold in part because it was set in Salt Lake City and was released just before the Winter Olympics in that city.
But that timing wouldn’t have helped had I not figured out that I needed to promote it and that I was the only one with the passion to do it right. The Secret also talks about passion–only they call it bliss or joy. Once I got started I even got my novel into a couple of airport book stores.
In fact, one of the reasons that The Frugal Book Promoter sells well is that it isn’t general. It’s personal and passionate. It’s full of ideas based on my personal experience selling the hardest of all genres–poetry, short story collections, and literary fiction. I could add memoir (my next book) to that list.
The point here is that none of the three were huge successes by publishing standards. But they were by my standards. They sold well enough, I learned from writing them and promoting them, and I really relished the little successes when they came. When I couldn’t trace great results from the promotion I was doing, I kept doing it and kept adding more ways to do it.
What if I’d given up on one of those dark days when nothing seemed to be working? My world–not just my writing world but my entire world–would be a different place. Am I bragging? Damn tootin’s. I knew The Secret long before it was written. And I’m still practicing it.
I hope you will, too.
Also blogging at Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website picks, www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com