What Does It Mean To Market A Book?

Greetings and salutations, faithful readers! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis (if you don’t know that by now, that is–and if this is your first time reading anything by me, welcome aboard and I hope you’ll enjoy what’s next to come!) and I’ve come to share with you some updates on what’s going on with me.

I don’t post too much beyond my own personal writings anymore and this is because I’m trying to keep this site writing focused. Of course, I should probably be doing some extra posts on the process of writing, but I find that the process itself is different per author. Even weekly write-ins have become an arduous task for me because the notion of what we do individually as writers just isn’t discussed. I know, I know. I’m a pretty solitary individual and I tend to keep to myself whenever I can. Yet, it’s nice to be able to communicate with others from time to time and feel like I’m achieving something as a result. Not just, ‘and what are you working on this week?’, and continuing on as if I was still on my own and managing my own affairs.

Which, honestly, I am.

I was, up until recently, part of the Ohio Writer’s Guild. I unfollowed because it just wasn’t providing the resources, the outreach, and the connections that I was craving. It was everyone saying what they’re ‘working on’ rather than discussing how we each approach writing. And, for me, it’s frustrating to see the whole writing world has just devolved into one giant marketing gambit with no one really discussing how it’s working for them. How they manage to make sales. What their process is on gaining new fans, readers, and buyers. It’s always, ‘well, you should check out this book on this and that and you’ll know, won’t you?’ So, okay, let’s do a quick search on Amazon for books on writing. ‘Market your writing’ are the keywords I just entered.

Ah! Here we go! Dozens of books immediately pop up. Each one telling you how you can be a thousand book seller in so much time with so much little effort:

Ah! There’s a good one! From professionals who are actually ‘doing it well’. I wonder if I’ll net me some more sales if I just buy this book?
Oooooooooo! It’s not about writing, but who doesn’t want to get rich? I’ll bet this one has some insight into the process. Let me just…. purchase this commodity… right now…
Now we’re talking. This sounds about right. Everything I need to be an awesome writer and marketer of said writing right her in one written production! I’m sure if I buy THIS one, I’ll be a million seller next week!

I’m sorry. I’m not deriding these works. I’m not. Honestly. I’m deriding the process. The idea that if you want to be a fantastic marketing expert, you can’t just get that advice from your fellow writers. No, you have to buy a book, or attend a seminar, or fly overseas and partake in a convention. There’s never any information from writers, by writers, for writers. It’s always, ‘buy this, purchase that, attend so and so’s awesome event!’

It’s about money. Only about money. It’s not about the art of the written word anymore. It’s about marketing your work and only getting that get rich quick scheme flowing as fast and as far as you possibly can. But, do you know how much shit I’ve read in the last year? I mean, honest to God, horrible writing that has been marketed to the nines and each claims to be that one best seller you just have to read right now or you’re going to miss out?

That’s the thing that bothers me most about this whole process. Writers being pitchmen for their sponsors and being unwilling, unable, or just not caring enough to share what they’ve learned with their fellow writers. It’s the bottom dollar that rules the day. It reminds me of that one South Park episode featuring the singer Wing. The kids are trying to become talent agents and finding skilled singers to that they can get a piece of the action. Token gets a talent spot and the boys want to support him in his endeavor. In fact, this is pretty much what I’m hearing from the writing industry as a whole these days:

“From now on, we are an entertainment team, Token. You just do all the singing, all the performing and all the entertaining, and leave the rest to us.”

Why do I need an agent, if I’m already supposed to be a self-promoter out of the gate? There’s a lot going on here and nobody seems willing or capable of keeping the new writer in the loop and helping them achieve their final goals of being a published writer.

As such, I’ve resorted to self-publishing and trying to reach out to new readers by my own means. And it hasn’t been easy. I have this blog, I have a FaceBook site, I have the twitter account, and I hear that finding someone with a podcast to interview you as a writer is something that should be considered. Of course, I haven’t done that quite as of yet. I’m a pretty shy guy and wouldn’t even begin to know what to talk about on the podcast. Oh, didn’t you hear? You’re supposed to also provide the podcaster with questions to ask you that you will answer. Huhn. Wow. Isn’t this what an agent is for?

Not anymore.

So, look, this sounds like whining, and maybe it is. I don’t know. It’s definitely a venting of frustrations with the whole process. Being put on blast on FaceBook for viewing the writing as art doesn’t help matters either. I’m stepping away from social media for the time being and re-evaluating this whole marketing thing. It isn’t some simple process as led to believe. It’s a bogged down process that requires the writer to essentially be pimped out anymore, to sale themselves as the savior of the written word. When really we’re all in the same boat and just writing what we enjoy.

I’ll write, I’ll post, I’ll adapt, I’ll figure out some way to make this all work in the end. And when I have a process that actually nets results, I’ll tell you about it right here. I won’t hold that knowledge back. Knowledge might be power, but compassion is the king. I’ll share what I learn, and when I learn it. For now, though, I’ll just keep writing and keep prodding the various avenues available to me. For the moment, I’m just that street artist. Making paintings and talking to the locals. One day, I may be more than that. Right now, I’m content enough working in a warehouse and coming home to splash my own brand of paint right on the page.

If you want to check out those works above, knock yourself out. There’s literally dozens of them available. All say roughly the same thing, of course. ‘Establish a social media presence, go to the local conventions, do a podcast, advertise on FaceBook and Twitter. In fact, advertise, advertise, advertise.’ And, that’s not bad advice. It’s just not specific advice.

And, as a writer, expect to be let down on that avenue a lot. You’re on your own, baby. You just have to convince people that what you have to say is worth listening to. And, of course, be willing to get out there and say it. If nobody hears you in the first place, they won’t be listening enough to ignore you.

That’s just my two cents worth, though. I’ll read to you again soon. Good luck, you courageous and artistic bastards.

~Timothy S Purvis

No ads this time. No self-promotion of a book or posting or etc, etc. You want to find any of that? Hit that link way above that says, ‘My Lovely Postings’ and you’ll have your fill soon enough. Thanks for reading.

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