The Dark Art: Marketing

by jonnahzkennedy

Per the advice of certain Google searches, I’m going to start writing shorter blog posts as my summer resolution. 

Today, I just want to get it out in the table: we need to talk about the Dark Art. Marketing. 
Writers, me included, cower and fear at this word because, I mean look at it: Marketing. It just sound sinister, and also, it goes far beyond just being a writer: it goes deep into being a human. Humans tend to hide and attack things that they can’t help, can’t fight, or can’t do. I can’t help that I’m bad a this, so I’ll just hide from it. I can’t fight this, so I’ll just hide from it; I can’t do this, I’ll just run from it (which often leads to hiding from it). Of course, most things are highly inescapable. 

Marketing happens to be one of the things that a lot people and writers tend to hide and run away from, not because they can’t help or fight it, but because they can’t do it. No longer do we live in the age where we can literally go out to tell someone about our work, and there is a bonafied guarantee that they will buy it or at least have a look at it. People still marvel at the fact that I’m 14 and I’ve written a book, and they ask about it, and while this is great, I just don’t have the heart to market it, simply because it’s terrible. Yet. my most recent work, The Place Beyond the Courtyard is a work that I put hard hours into, and I think it’s a really, damn well written piece of fiction to only fit in 31 pages (on Kindle, about 18 in Word), has flat-lined after it’s initial release, because (not to be offensive) my little blog post didn’t bump up it’s sales any, and the few people who said they were going to read it: never bought it. Anyhow, this all falls down, though, to a simple thing: poor marketing. 

In a recent blog post that I read, a random post I found on Google on how to sell my book, I have finally come to accept that, there are no longer writers: there are only salespeople. Authors make money, they write books or money, they can sit back and live a fine and happy life without doing any more work (Stephen King comes to mind, he says that while he may stop publishing books on day, he won’t stop writing them: and he can do that because he’s already made millions off of his massive book empire over 5 decades), but you, the lowly, indie author hoping to make it big, cannot do that: you are a drone, a little insect in a hive the size of Alaska, and what’s more, you’re not in the center of the hive, you’re up north by the shore where it’s coldest, where you eat your toes because you’re not just in debt, you’re being chased by drug-lords because you failed to make your payment because you tried to be Walter White, and you failed to be Walter White, now you’re living on the edge with no way out. Therefore, in order to be an ‘author’, you first need to become a salesperson, and this means you have to get off of your lazy ass and you have to do something: because the world no longer gives out free samples, you’re on your own, and you either go to the shore of Alaska, or you start running for Klondike. 

So, how exactly do you market yourself and your book? You may look to some of the marketing emperors in the writing in the book industry, specifically John Green. The reason John Green’s books are so well known (You probably can’t go to any house in America without seeing The Fault in Our Stars on someone’s shelf, at least no household without a teenager hiding in their bedroom that is) is because John Green created an empire and a name for himself long before and when he started writing books, and what I mean by this even is that, John Green has a life outside of the fiction. People no longer want the writer who sits in their house and talks about writing all day, they no longer want the mysterious figure who sits in the darkness and you only see until you go to a signing: no, in this world, people want to be all up in yo face tryin’ to figure out who you are. They want real people, not writers, REAL FUCKING PEOPLE , who can chatter on about real world issues, who have lives that are as interesting and possibly slightly more interesting than theirs, semi-celebrities. This means one of two things: you need to give up on the art of fiction, or you need to start living. You need to learn how to separate yourself into two people. 

One side of you needs to be the writer who secludes himself in the bedroom at night (or in the morning, or in the hour between never and forever) and writs a billion words that are pure and absolute genius, and the guy who can talk with their fanbase through a video camera, the screen (twitter and Facebook obviously come to mind first) through pictures, and what is more: you need to have a secondary hobby. You need something that you can branch off of and say, ‘Hey, I not only write incredible stories, I also paint Mona Lisa’s, skydive, and ride unicorns as I fight dragons and Miley Cyrus”, you have to be able to do that, and I know that it sounds like a lot, but once you find that other thing, and you find a platform for yourself, you’ll be off to the races. 

In order to get anywhere, in order to get your Golden Ticket, you need to learn to market yourself, and most of all, you need to learn not to be so afraid of it, because the thing that you fear most will be the very thing that will make you feared (I know, it sounds weird, but I think you get it). Be Walter White: become the danger, be the very thing that everyone fears to mess with, become radioactive. 

Keep writing, and stay strong my ravens!

JZK

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