Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Stages of Grief--Um I Mean Marketing (*nervous laugh*)

It is t-minus 6 months and counting.  Another book launch for me.  There will be celebration of course.  Releasing a book into the wild is always an achievement, and an act of faith.  It must be celebrated as such.  It is also a signal to release the demon: the marketing monster.

Most of us who write do not say to ourselves, “Hey I want to be an author so I can market the hell out of my creations.  You know if I could JUST do the marketing, I’d be in heaven.”  No, what most of us say about the promotional aspects of this gig would be patently inappropriate for a blog post.  Yet marketing swiftly becomes our primary focus, our obsession, and the monster hiding under our bed—from six-months out to six-months post-release.  That’s a year of our lives mes amis.
See--this is the book.
And clearly I am a publicity whore

This morning as I sat down at my desk I found myself thinking not (with delicious anticipation) of finishing a draft of my wip (I am within striking distance), but of what I could do or say about my soon-to-release-novel that wouldn’t sound like “buy my book” and wouldn’t make me feel like I was naked on a street corner during rush hour.

And then, out of nowhere Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief (which I allegedly learned in a psychology class somewhere in my distant past, but which actually lodged themselves in my brain—as so many things do—only as a result of a piece of popular culture, Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz”) popped into my mind.  In case they are not fresh in your mind, here they are, the big five: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

They are supposed to describe how we’d feel if we lost someone dear to us but frankly I think they do a credible job of explaining the phases of book promotion.  Hear me out.

Denial—Good books sell themselves right? I am with a big five publisher, they will take care of all the publicity and marketing for me.  That’s their job.  Writing is mine.  It’s too early to be thinking about pre-sales/sales/reviews.  If I start this early I will burn out.  Jeez, I am burned out already and I haven’t started.

Anger—F**k this s**t!  I feel like a whore, and not even an expensive one.  I hate having to remind people that books that start their lives with strong pre-orders are printed and distributed in larger quantities, stay on shelves longer, and are displayed more prominently.  The thought of sending notes to people on my xmas-card list reminding them I have a book releasing gives me hives.  I am NOT doing this, do you hear me! Not. Doing. This.

Bargaining—Fine, I will send the post cards.  But surely I don’t need to start thinking about marketing my book until a week or two before release.  After that I swear, I SWEAR I will be all about that novel, but for the next few months I want to be about what I am writing now. Pretty please?

Depression—I am doomed.  This book is doomed.  I can’t even get my own siblings to pre-order.  They just said, “nice postcard.”  Probably, screaming, “did you order the damn book” was not the best response on my part.  I am going to be seated at the kids table for Christmas.  I am not going to be invited to Christmas.  I do not know why I am finishing my wip, because if sales are not good on the new release I will never have another published work.  I wonder if I can be a dog walker?  Too bad my own dog does not even like me.

Acceptance—Marketing, for better or worse, is a large part of what I as an author have to do in modern publishing. This is true whether I am with a major publisher, a small publishers, or I choose to indie publish.  The day of the “recluse who just writes” are past—unless and until I hit super-star status, and then I will buy a castle and let the books sell themselves. So, I will square my shoulders and divide my writing day.  Six months out it will be 75% wip and 25% laying the groundwork for launch. By the time my launch is a month out, that will be flipped.  For the last week before and the first six weeks after launch my wip will be my “treat,” and working on it will replace my other leisure activities.  I will sign books, blog, be present on social media.  I will carry a stash of postcards in my glove compartment and another in my purse.  I will support the efforts of my publicist and my marketing team at every turn and I will come up with ideas and actions to supplement what they do.  I will thank them—often.  I will thank my friends, and remind them that having bought the book they are not obligated to read it.  I will not ask them what they think of it.  I will be merciful.

Oh, and I will NOT forget all this.  I will not make myself go through these damn phases again . . . until I do ;p

Sophie Perinot’s next novel, Médicis Daughter--set at the intrigue-riven, 16th century French Valois court--will be out in December of 2015.  But you can ABSOLUTELY pre-order it now.  DO ITShe does not care if, once it arrives, you use it as toilet paper on your next camping trip.  To find out about Sophie's previous literary endeavors, visit her website, or her FB page.  You can also  follow her on Twitter as @Lit_gal


MJRose said...

Great article!!! I hate to pimp my company but that's why I started a marketing company for authors - because we are not meant to know how to do our marketing or enjoy it... Is it okay to post our address - - our job is to do the marketing so you don't have to go through all that:)

Ashley Farley said...

You have just hit the nail on the head of my feelings toward marketing. My novel is scheduled for release next Wednesday, June 24—Her Sister's Shoes, a women's fiction with Southern charm and memorable characters (had to get my plug in because I market everywhere I go these days). I'm exhausted and wondering why I'm doing all this. Yes, I feel naked on the street corner. I just want to crawl back in my hole and spend the next six months with my new character who is begging me to tell her story. Thanks for a great post.

Sophie Perinot said...

Ashely, Best of luck with launch!

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