“[M]arketing should be viewed as a liberating endeavor, not an oppressive burden… If you find [marketing through social networks] tedious and difficult, then you may have forgotten your value or the fact that people deeply need it.” -Rob Eagar
Confession time. When my friend first told me that she was using social networks to get her book published, I didn’t get it. I didn’t see how that could help. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a little technologically challenged, but I just didn’t know how you could get people to start following you or how that would help when trying to get published.
It wasn’t until the conference on Saturday that it made any more sense. Nina Amir did a talk called “Evaluate Your Book for Success” about figuring out what publishers and readers want and determining if your book gives it to them. I’ll be honest, in the past I just thought, “Publishers want something people will read. I’m a reader, so I know what readers want. I would want to read my book, so other readers will too.”
It goes without saying, this is way too simplistic.
Nina gave a detailed (and extremely helpful!) point-by-point list of what publishers want, the hardest part for me being that they want writers who are good business partners. But I’m working on it. I’m starting by doing what I should have done when my friend first mentioned it to me (if I had known how to at the time): social networking!
I’m finding that it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Turns out, I could talk about my book, and writing in general, forever! It’s like the scripture the WildFire Marketing blog (linked above) refers to — why would I light a lamp and then put it under the bed? I believe in my book. I love my book. So why wouldn’t I try to get the word out to as many people as possible?
So far, marketing has been liberating for me, rather than burdening. (Now I just have to try to hold on to that when I get the inevitable rejections!) It’s like David Stipech said, if I focus on what I want to get out of my writing, I’m going to be disappointed and frustrated. But if I focus on what I want to give to my audience through my writing, I will have more energy and motivation. Not to mention, I imagine it will be more fulfilling once I do get published.
So what do I want to give?
There’s one story that always comes to my mind. It’s on one of the special features of The Little Mermaid DVD that I borrowed from my parents. One of the creators of the movie tells the camera about the various fan mail they received after the movie was released. In one letter, a man told the studio that immediately after seeing The Little Mermaid in theaters, he called his daughter, whom he hadn’t spoken to in years. I get teary even rewriting this story that happened to people I will never meet. Possibly because remembering it instantly brings to mind the image of Ariel hugging King Triton and whispering, “I love you, Daddy.”
This is what I want to give to my readers. This is what I think about when I’m discouraged about my lack of being “discovered.”
Among other things, Finding ‘Ohana is also about a young woman wanting to reconnect with her parents, even though they cut her out of their lives years ago. If I could reach someone who’s in a similar situation, I would consider my book a success.