Do you hate selling? Once upon a time a writer could sit at a desk and scribble away at her masterpiece without thinking about what came next. Once it was published (if it got published) the publisher would take care of the publicity and sales and the writer would wait for the cheques to come in and continue with the next writing project. Sounds nice huh?
But have you noticed how many ‘writers’ are out there? And how many people are now bringing out books? This flooding of the market is thanks to digital technologies: it’s easier to type up your story thanks to computers and it’s quicker and easier to edit thanks to computer software and then it’s easier and cheaper to actually publish thanks to digital printing. I don’t think that this is a bad thing. I’m all for people getting their thoughts, stories and ideas out into the marketplace. What worries me is that writers are putting a lot of time and effort into creating these products and then becoming despondent when they don’t sell any books.
A book is a product. I tell people to treat it like a business. Each product needs your attention to make sure it has the best chance of success. If you really hate marketing and sales, you’ll need to make sure you organise someone who loves them. If you’ve been published traditionally, your publisher should take care of this but even that can be limited if you’re a first time published author.
Many writers don’t like the spotlight on them but if you want your book to do well, you’re going have to do something about this. Exposure is the only way to get the word out. It isn’t enough to write a great book if no one knows that it exists. You don’t want your book to be that tree in the forest when it falls, and no one hears it.
Don’t think of it as selling. Technically, you don’t need to sell anything. All you need to do is get your book known in the marketplace, with the right reader and the sale will follow. It’s not a big ask to get someone to hand over $20–30 for an item if you manage to convince them that it has something in it that they want.
It’s time for writers to stop complaining about their books not doing well if they aren’t doing anything to get the exposure. It’s a simple fact of the modern marketplace, where your book is competing for space amongst so many others. Get savvy with social media and get out there in front of people. Time to toot your own horn, even if it irks you.
Look out for opportunities to learn about how to market your book. Your local writers’ centre is a great place to start, and ask your local library if you can do a book talk, or get on social media.