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.


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§ One Response to Reculer pour mieux sauter

  • carolynhowardjohnson says:

    Oh, Barbara. You warm my heart. I reached a reader who actually needed to understand what great marketing, REAL marketing is. It’s true that too many of us (authors may be especially guilty) not only have a misconception of what public relations and marketing is, but tend to search out reading that reinforces their beliefs. It seems contrary to what a write is or should be. Curious. Always willing (even hopeful!) that they’ll see something in a new light, something they can then clarify for others. Seems you’ve done a very nice job of that right here! (-:

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right ( it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner.

    PS: Please watch for my e-mail.

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