Self-Publishers: Beware the Dreaded Comfort Zone
by Stella Atrium
sometimes talk with an artist friend who has a studio in the same
building as my writing studio. He shows his works at the storefront
gallery below us. The gallery owner expends considerable effort in the
Chicago market to draw an audience into his openings, and the paintings
Except now the painter wants to market his works to
regional galleries and has picked a few favorites to approach. His
paintings have all sold, though, so he needs a not-for-sale cache to
request an opening at other galleries. He also needs a press kit and
ready responses to interview questions.
“I first began
painting because… The biggest surprise in my career so far was… My
favorite color is green, thank you for asking, but I’m in my blue
I asked yesterday how the plan for the gallery
tour was coming along. His greatest fear is that the paintings will
sell out at the first gallery and the tour will have to be canceled.
Oh, the trials of success.
gave me a soulful look and said, “I wish I hadn’t started with the
gallery tour idea. The expense of travel. The need to sell myself into
each market. The constant glad-handling and repeated questions. I’m
dreading the whole adventure.”
It’s terrible that he’s so successful. Just terrible!
are like fashion in a way. Once Michelle Obama wears an outfit to a
public event, she cannot be seen in that dress again. Self-published
books, however, are more like a stand-up routine at a comedy club.
Since the jokes work only on the people in the room, they can be
re-used with a new audience.
An agent once told me that the
market for books is limitless, once you tap into a national press
release vein for marketing. Unfortunately for self-publishers, that
avenue is NOT Twitter.
love Twitter and spend hours with writer friends there. We retweet
obsessively and provide space on each other’s websites for interviews.
We “Like” each other on FaceBook fan pages and post weekly digests of
activity for our favorite writer-tweeps. We give klout and gold and karma and hugs.
we don’t read each other’s books, and we certainly don’t BUY them.
Twitter is not a current that leads to national reputation and SALES.
Twitter is a comfort zone where we count the number of retweets as
success without a thought that they are only a return gesture for my
retweet of his tweet about his book. None of this activity has reached
a reader who BUYS BOOKS.
Are you a writer on Twitter? Do you
have a blog or website where only fellow writers visit? Do you count
yourself as successful and ignore the sales numbers on the 1099-misc?
What is your next adventure to burst out of the comfort zone and market to regional bookstores and online READER sites?
you enabled RSS feed on the blog? Have your added "Like" buttons to the
website that link to a fan FaceBook page? Have you submitted topical
articles to Tumblr or Helium?
Leave some suggestions here for that first step off the cliff.
Also visit me at http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list#12178818
For a GIVEAWAY of 20 copies of fantasy novel SufferStone through March 26.