My latest book, Discipline: A Play, has just been published (January, 2012.) As you might imagine, it is very exciting to see the fruition of your thoughts and words in the form of a book that people can read and comment upon. From beginning to end, the process of writing a book and seeing it published is indeed thrilling. But before you quit your day job to focus on your writing, beware: the euphoria of seeing your work in print does not last long. It is usurped by the countless hours of marketing needed to sell your book in today’s volatile market place.
Discipline is my second book, and as I begin its promotion, I find that I am spending a lot more time marketing than I did with my first book, The Deal Master, published in 2006.
Times have changed. Social media is now at the forefront of book marketing and an author must develop an aggressive marketing campaign utilizing the major social media sites. Anyone over the age of 30 is required to painstakingly learn what the young kids know inside and out about Twitter, Google +, Facebook and Linkedin to gain a foothold on these viable marketplaces. Trust me—this is not easy. It’s like learning a new language. Social media education takes a lot of time, money and discipline (the other discipline, not my book Discipline.) Don’t be conned into believing the ads you’ll find on many sites, promising great numbers of followers simply by laying out a few dollars. In order for marketing to work on these sites you must put your time in, learning the ins and outs to obtain the maximum exposure.
There are other reasons why marketing is more time consuming than ever before. Greater competition is one of these reasons. Larger numbers of books are being published every year with fewer and fewer markets where they can be sold. Small independent bookstores are folding, one after the other. Even large book chains are finding it difficult to survive in today’s market place, Borders Books being the most obvious example. Did you know that in 2010 there were over 3 million books published? In 2005 there were fewer than 300,000. Hence, if you choose to neglect creating an aggressive marketing campaign, you will certainly get lost in the crowd. It is simple mathematics; the abundance of books being published today will force your book to the bottom of the heap unless you put together a definitive marketing strategy.
The art of writing is inseparably linked with the marketing of your writing. One of the problems I find, however, is that marketing takes a lot of time away from what we writers enjoy most—writing. All the experts tell you that before your book is published, you will need to put together a marketing strategy. Then, once your book is published, you will need to take action, conducting interviews, making arrangements for readings, giving readings and signings, updating your website (or creating one if you do not already have one,) sending out press releases, learning how to tweet, creating a fan page on Facebook, and getting linked-in. And that is only the beginning. Additionally, you must produce business cards, post cards and flyers, promoting your book locally, statewide and then nationally. In other words, you will be spending a lot of time doing a hundred and one things to spread the word about your new book, hoping that enough people will buy it so that you can make a sufficient amount of money to survive while you write your next great novel.
Did I also mention that, as the author, you will need to speak intelligently about your work? That’s right. You will be required to reflect on what it is you want your readers to take away from your writing. You’ll need to practice a 60 second elevator speech as well as give an in-depth insight as to the meaning behind what you wrote.
This week, Discipline: A Play is featured on Reader Views website Along with this feature is an audio interview between Irene Watson and I in which we discussed topics such as social norms, persona, the role of women in society and sexual overindulgence—all topics that relate to my book. The interview never once delved into the writing process. Topics that were prevalent in interviews of the past no longer interest a newer, more highly educated audience. People no longer want to know how long it took to write your book, or why you chose the names of your characters. Today, people want to understand the impetus behind your writing. They want to lift the hood and get a look at the engine, grasping the book’s meaning and unmasking the real reason why you wrote the thing. Take a little time and listen to my interview I’m certain you’ll find that there are topics that we discussed that will surprise you—topics that, as an author, you will need to think about before your book is published.

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