You might have heard the advice, “Don’t chase the market.” That’s good advice, as a general idea, but many people misunderstand it and think that it means that you should not write for a specific audience. Here’s the thing… Your audience is not the market.
As authors increasingly explore way to promote their work, one question that occurs when launching a book concerns giveaways, things like bookmarks, pens, postcards, or sometimes more complex or costly items, used to promote the book.
When my first novel came out – in 2000 – by all weights and measures, I had “made it” as a mid-list fiction writer. I’d secured a two book deal (the second: a collection of short stories, the most elusive prey on the planet), a tidy first-timers advance, and a round of positive reviews from all the usual suspects.
Here, I’d like to list out my last five of ten truths about professional jealousy (as I see it), which concern how you can deal with the green-eyed monster when it will not simply be slayed.
I knew I’d found a keeper when my boyfriend-at-the-time barely flinched the first time he saw one of our fights, word-for-word, in print. “You writers,” he said. “You air your dirty laundry. That’s how it is.”
These days, many authors focus more time on self-promotion through social media than on marketing their books. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but with all the social media hype, it can be easy to forget about the fundamentals.
So what might be the value of podcasting for new and established speculative fiction writers? Is it about exposure? Self-publishing? Monetizing the work? Creativity for its own sake?
I feel passionately that some of the information we are getting is increasingly wrong and motivated by selfishness and, yes, to some degree, a form of hyperbolic illogic. We are so hung up on predicting the next big thing, on getting in on the next gold rush when it comes to ways for authors to promote themselves and market their work that we often seem to be active participants in our own destruction.
There comes a time in the life of of every author when the list of Things One Should Do exceeds one’s capacity for time investment. Commissions, anthology invitations, interview requests and business propositions… They all accrue in proportion to one’s professional reputation.
The problem with seeing one’s purpose on a panel as primarily that of speaking–”sharing” insights or regurgitating something recently read that relates to the subject–is that it turns panelists into lecturers. Speaking for myself, I’ve often found that the thinking, reading, and note-taking I’ve done in preparation for a panel may often have nothing to do with what the other panelists are talking about.