Marketing Terror

(I know this was going to be about my ceilidh dance, but I completely forgot to take any pictures at all, so instead we’re going to talk about the biggest terror in my life right now.)

When I first imagined being an author I imagined something vaguely Jane Austen-y.  Namely, I write the book, send it to Someone Literary, and they take care of the outside world things like selling and promoting said book.  Meanwhile, I would write the next book.

Tragically, as a modern author that’s not an option.  Unless you actually are Jane Austen your publisher isn’t going to put that kind of effort in for you.  (And if you are Jane, I’ve got a few questions.)  Because so many books get published every year, publishers pick and choose what they’re going to throw money behind and most of us just aren’t going to make the cut.

My agent(!!!) is, right at this moment, courting publishers that she thinks might find my manuscript attractive.  Beforehand, she had me put together a sheet of information for potential publishers.  Part of that list (among other things like “a tagline” which were all scary enough on their own for a first-timer) was a marketing plan.  As in, a plan of what I, personally, intend to do to market this book.

Since I knew this day was coming and that the success of my book depends largely on my engagement and pushing of it, I’ve done a ton of reading on how to market as an author.  Unfortunately, no matter what the title of the article/blog post/podcast says, marketing is NOT for introverts.  They all boil down to doing things like “talking to people” and “promoting yourself” and “becoming a public figure” (hi!).

So now I actually had to commit to a) becoming a marketing pro and b) actually doing things.

After doing tons of research and annoying the heck out of my friends in publishing to get suggestions (thank you!) my list of things I am willing and capable of doing boils down to:

  • going to conventions as a vendor and maybe running a panel on book-things
  • doing a blog tour
  • talking about nifty book things here and on my tumblr


  • hosting a book launch party (a whole new avenue of research and scariness for later)

Even as I type this I’m worried that a) it’s not enough and b) I’m doing something wrong by posting about the scary behind-the-scenes stuff.  But there’s been a recent push for transparency in writers’ financials, so I think it makes sense to talk about the rest of how the sausage is made.  (Is that a weird metaphor?  It feels like a weird metaphor, especially from a vegetarian.)

According to publishing crawl, some publishers hand their new authors a giant binder of “Marketing 101 for Dummies- this means you, new kid.”  I’m really hoping that that’s the case if I get picked up, because a background in sociology, psychology, and Italian does exactly make for a great grounding in promotion.  (Wrong kind of soc and psych, sorry.)

So, cross your fingers and wish me luck in the publisher hunt, and send me any and all good thoughts and advice regarding promotion!

Do any of you have thoughts on how to make my theoretical promotional career less stressful? Or funny stories about your own first time marketing a book?  Let me know! 

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