You've seen him in Westerns, the traveling medicine man with a magic elixir guaranteed to cure whatever ails you. Well, he's back. And he knows a sucker is born every minute.
I'm talking about people all over the Internet who claim they have the secret formula to selling books. What makes this offer so enticing is: 1) we all hope there really is a secret to success; and 2) we want someone else to do the hard work for us.
They will do the work but the price is high with no guarantee of success. I'm not going to say they prey on writers but the truth is, there is more money to be made by selling advice, services and promises than selling novels.
I'm looking at the stack of marketing books on my shelf. No, I didn't buy them, I actually won many of them or were “gifted” them by friends. They were outdated even when they were published because things change so fast in this industry. I didn't even bother to read them, to be honest. Now with the Internet, social media and e-publishing, these books are dinosaurs.
I'm more concerned with sites online that start out as blogs and turn into advertisements. It seems that once these bloggers get my trust, they go into sell mode. I understand they want a monetary reward for their advice but we're all struggling here to make a living off our writing.
The worst of it is, most of their advice is trite and repetitive. Because, bottom line, there is no magic formula, no one-method-fits-all. We are square pegs and they offer round holes. When we follow their instructions and fail, we blame ourselves. What did we do wrong?
Novices are the easy target. Their lack of knowledge and expertise in the publishing arena make them doubt themselves and trust all the “experts” out there. They shell out money for online seminars, book doctors, publicists and marketing books, always searching for the holy grail.
No stranger wanting to sell you snake oil is going to tailor strategy to fit you as an individual. Plus, if this same info is being passed out to everyone, what makes it so special?
I recently had an author ask me to do his marketing for him because he was “too busy writing.” Sure, I could probably do it, but what it would cost him would be more than he would profit by book sales. And failure would allow him to blame the person he handed all the checks to—me. This is a fail/fail situation for both of us. Besides, I have my own writing to do!
I say save your money and go on the Internet, cast about for info from peers and those of us in the trenches. Yes, it takes time and patience, but more than that, a strong curiosity. It takes imagination, which presumably we all have in spades. It means honing marketing skills the same way we hone writing skills. Learn by trial and error what works for you and concentrate your energy in that direction.
The daunting task holding you back might be where to start. Okay, here's my bottle of snake oil. I have something I call the Posse. Ask to be included and when I find something that has expanded my knowledge in promotion, I will pass it on to you. Free of charge. It's up to you to read these posts, absorb them and apply the medicine.
Posse members out there, feel free to weigh in on Sunny Frazier's Magic Marketing Elixer. Guaranteed to go down easily with the potential for success. Works on the brain, not the pocketbook!