Book mktg is the worst
Nine months into writing my book I decided to put a bit of my copy out into the world. The result has left me wondering what the hell I was thinking trying to get into this game.
Technically I’m writing a novel, a fiction about what happens to the world when physicists uncover the fundamental nature of the universe. So far only the first chapter is public, I plan to serialize much of it on WattPad, a site where authors can publish their stuff and get legitimate reads from actual humans.
Success there requires the same kind of diligence it takes to succeed as a blogger or social media personality, namely tons of time spent interacting with other people in hopes that they will help you.
The point of going about it this way is to bolster online credibility so that when you finally sit down with a book agent or publisher, you’ll have a bit more leverage than if you were just some first time novelist nobody ever heard of. Going the WattPad route makes you a first time novelist who has a bit of a following on the internet.
In my case I’m a reporter. Ironically I got my start running a blog about advertising that became really successful over time, called AgencySpy. The growth I saw there was due mostly to timing — social media was nascent and the market was collapsing so people had lots to talk about.
The tricks that made me successful then are basically useless now. And so I find myself frustrated and unsure how to move forward with this part of my career. Do I devote countless hours to making friends on WattPad, hoping that it will increase my read count? The book needs to be finished after all, and that time is really important.
Or do I keep my head down and go the query route and pimp myself via email to agents?
I don’t know, honestly, but feel more able to complete the former. Why pitch when I could let my writing do the talking?
Success as an author then is so much more than just finishing the book. It’s taking the time to market yourself and build fandom adjacently. It’s grueling drudgery, far less fun than the writing process, but vital just the same.