I'm going to be travelling on Monday – heading up to Johannesburg for our flight out to Australia, so I wrote this piece in advance. I've got a book (SORCERESS OF KARRES) coming out early in January so this is a soupcon of self-promotion and about the subject of the same.
In the long-ago, far away happier times authors wrote books. After all readers wanted the best read possible and beeing good with words didn't mean you were good at anything else. In fact the opposite was probably true, as every single bit of research shows true genius is almost always narrowly focussed. Being a great golfer doesn't make you a Geophysicist, and being an Oscar-winning actress almost certainly means that your grasp of politics is on a par with your ability to programme in MATLAB. And having a good way with words probably means you're a solitary reader who spends a lot of time in company of imaginary people and may well have the social/publicity-skills of a wolverine with a fetish for red lacy underwear and flashing at retirement complexes. That's why in those far-off happier times authors wrote. Agents sold their books to publishers, publishers hired staff to deal with the publicity etc. and the bargain was that each of you brought your special talent to the party and the reader got the best of everyone's ability used to tempt them into buying.
Well, the old compact is no more, and, for 95% of us, if you want to be a writer of fiction, you're going to have to make contributions to selling your books to publishers, and to publicity and marketing. Or you can hope you're in the 5%. Your call.
Now for me this is all as natural as a swimming is to fish... NOT. I'm still unsure how to do this, what works (or even if it does). Cons, blogs, bookmarks, t-shirts, getting on Radio, doing tours, readings and signings (unless you're 5% these will be at your own expense, and entirely organised by you.) However, in the nature of things the fact that you have no skills or resources for this and that promotion and marketing can and do have a huge impact -- will not influence the decision of the next acquisition editor. So it has to be part of your game plan, as much as writing every day was.
So if anyone has any bright ideas on how best to do this – I'm listening. We all are.