Great opportunity to explore Goodreads.com (if you like reading and aren't already aware of the site). We're having a Goodreads Giveaway contest for "Civitas Island - The Birth of Hope". Check it out here...
“So, how are you planning to market your new book?” a friend asked this morning. I thought for a moment, smiled and shrugged.
This is the primary challenge facing writers in the era of open access publishing. It’s equally true whether your book is being released by a big NY publishing house, a small press, or you are going the independent route. If you don’t have an established base of readers who follow your work, how will you connect your stories to those who would enjoy reading them?
Most of us try the usual things, Facebook page, product website, Tweet yourself silly, blog-on, all of which is good to do but has a limited effect. So you look at what worked for the much-publicized new publishing superstars, writers like Amanda Hocking and John Locke. They were prolific, wrote well… and got lucky. Ahh - there’s the rub.
There’s a serendipity factor in how audiences connect with new writers, which by definition is impossible to control and therefore very frustrating until it happens, at which point it becomes magical and wonderful. This isn’t new. In the old world of publishing, you got a lucky break and found the great agent or the perfect Big Six company to shepherd your work. Or someone somehow got a copy of your new book to Oprah. In the new world you load your book on Amazon and Smashwords, let everyone you’ve ever met know about it, send free copies out to bloggers and reviewers you think might be interested, cross your fingers and start outlining your next tome.
The barriers to publishing have been smashed, Amazon is ascendant, paper is giving way to digital, the world of words is wide open. At some point new marketing avenues will emerge to provide a credible connection between writer and reader. For now all I know to do is write my best work, set it free, hope I get lucky - and start writing the next one.
There seems to be a major article on the e-publishing revolution in the NY Times, Washington Post, and other newspapers every other day. Not surprising. This is a big deal.
I have a more than passing interest in these stories. As I prepare to leap into the void and launch "Virtually Yours, Jonathan Newman", there are huge, confusing questions I'd love to have answered. How does a new and unknown author find his audience? If you spend hours each day Tweeting, Blogging, Facebooking(?), and trying anything else you can think of to publicize your newborn, when do you write Book II? Should I create a really good video trailer? When I look at the trailers out there, even the ones people say are really good, they mostly fall somewhere between dreadful and worse. But does it matter? Do people use video trailers when deciding what they want to read? How about cover art? Some people say that's critical because when you're looking at options on Amazon, that's the first thing you see. Sounds reasonable, but when I look at the best-selling book lists, most of the covers are not very appealing - at least not to me.
Conclusion: we are entering a brave new world of unknowns and answers to these questions will take time to emerge. So what’s a new author to do? Jump and start swimming!
Have you read any of the Civitas Rising series? Please share your thoughts about the Great Change, the impact of technology on our lives, healthcare, the role of government, and anything else the books got you thinking about.