Reculer pour mieux sauter
December 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
Novelist and political powerhouse Hill Kemp and I had a conversation about how interesting it is that writers scorn something so commercial and practical as marketing, but when they sign with a fine traditional publisher (or any other publisher!) who doesn’t market their books they are most put out. Carolyn Howard-Johnson writes in The Frugal Book Promoter (page xvi).
I could well imagine myself taking this contrary attitude to marketing. As it is, personal relations, marketing, publishing and self-promotion are tainted words. PR: presenting an alluring and false image of yourself; marketing: trying to palm off unwanted goods on someone; publicity: making people interested in your work by sensationalising it; and promotion: indifference to everything except raising your own profile.
The trouble is, as an unknown writer, I shall have to get on well with people (public relations) come out from behind my desk and let people know my book exists (publicity and promotion) and talk about my book (marketing). Now that doesn’t sound so bad. There is nothing wrong with any of that.
Writing a book is a great achievement, getting it published is another but if you do not market your book, the writing and publishing of it will go for very little.
As an unknown writer, self-published or otherwise, you have no choice but to market your book. If you cannot agree with yourself that you will market your book or pay someone else (and that someone else will need your active help to be effective) then you should think twice about being self-published.
I have had to think about it. I have seen how I have gone wrong, shrunk from availing myself of opportunities for marketing my book. I was not only far from willing to do my own marketing but also neither able nor ready to do it. The French say reculer pour mieux sauter, “go back to jump better the next time”. This is what I am doing: I am taking a step back so that I can present myself better on a future occasion.