Posted on November 5, 2015
My agent sends me a sale sheet. Send it out to everyone, she writes. Let’s get some sales going. Of course, I thought I had done that already with the website, Facebook author posts, press releases, readings, book signings, Twitter.
I pause what I’m doing, which is writing the next novel. I read the sales sheet, correct a few typos, grammatical errors, formatting mistakes. I read it over again. This is marketing. It’s the new century. Now, not only do we writers write the books, we get to market them also.
I sigh. I don’t want to do this. I want to brood over whether I have the right conflict, complications, climax and resolution in each segment of my new novel. I want to work out all the kinks in a character. I want to think about the novel after this one.
I’m whining. It’s the 21st century. I remember a speaker complaining at the F. Scott Fitzgerald writers’ conference about how her publisher, the famed Farrar Straus & Giroux, didn’t sufficiently market her three novels. I sat there thinking, if they published me, I’d be happy with that.
But maybe not. Maybe seeing your book on the list, or sitting on the shelf in the bookstore isn’t enough. You want to see it in the hands of people. You want to see people glued to the page, turning the next page as fast as they breathe. I imagine an entire airplane of people simultaneously reading my book. I imagine everyone lounging on the beach reading my book. Now that’s a vision that makes me happy.
The only way to get from point A to point B is (oh crap) to do the marketing. I recall a time when a colleague told me I needed a wife. It was a classically misogynistic thing to say. These days I think I need a housekeeper, a personal assistant, a driver, a cook, a laundress. In fact, the whole staff from Downton Abbey minus the butlers, valets, and footmen, would just about do it. I suppose I could dress myself.
Perhaps marketing falls into the “dress myself” category in these post-modern times when, in addition to being writers, we do all those other tasks for ourselves. Sigh.
Now where am I supposed to send this sheet?