On the weekend I participated in a workshop on promoting yourself as a writer. It was eye-opening to say the least. Before I went I was under the impression that once you have a publisher willing to publish your novel, the work is out of your hands. The publisher then becomes so invested in making you successful that they will do what it takes to make sure that book sells.
According to Marty Chan, the workshop facilitator, even though on rare occasions you might find someone that will put in the effort, it’s more likely that you won’t. What a crap shoot! No matter how you decide to publish, you will still have to do your own marketing and promotion because you and only you, will be invested enough in the project. And I was hoping to NOT have to do all that work. The publisher is going to invest its time and money in what they KNOW will sell, not with a newbie even though they thought your story was good enough to publish.
And then to add to the reality that I learned this past Saturday, I came across this blog post that only managed to reiterate what I had already learned. To be successful, you have to work hard. And not just at creating the masterpiece. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities enough to sell yourself. You need to put yourself out there, and not necessarily just when you actually have something to brag about.
Facebook, Twitter, blogs, personal websites. You need to create a network that will encourage a publisher to take a chance on you. So it’s not all about the writing. You could have a fabulous story but the publisher won’t take the time to look at you if you have no internet presence. If you don’t already have a following, so to speak.
So let the promotion begin.
So then you might ask, what’s the benefit to publishing with a publishing company? Why not just self-publish since you still have to do all the work? And the answer is this…established publishing companies have the distributors, they also have an obligation to submit your work to awards, such as the Governor General’s Award or the Scotiabank Giller Prize, just to name a couple. An author cannot submit to these awards directly and self-published books are ineligible.
I still say crap shoot.
But it’s got to be done.