marketing


You’d think I’d have more time for writing these days: book #2 is merrily on its way (even getting some sales!). NaNo isn’t until next week.

So why only a few sentences?

Fucking marketing.

It seems to take up my whole day – social media, especially. By the time I get to the writing, I’m wiped out. Plus I guess I’m doing a bit of looking over my shoulder. Even though the kids are grown, the idea of them seeing their Parental Figure writing hot stuff gives me pause.

(another reason for the pen name)

How are you all doing?

 

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While doing research for my bisexual erotic romance novel, I ran across Marketing Beef: A Gay Romance by Rick Bettencourt and bought it.

Marketing Beef is about an accountant named Evan McCormick who falls for the new guy at work (who is way above his pay grade). A complication involves financial scandal in his company; as the accountant, Evan falls under suspicion.

From the title and blurb, I thought the story would take place in the office. Most of the novel took place while camping, though, and I kept wondering when they were going to get back to the office. I enjoy camping, but the business issues framed the camping trips rather than being an integral part of the plot. While their ‘big fight’ revolved around the scandal, the issue felt tacked on.

The main character and plot lines sometimes seemed contrived – painfully shy yet has multiple former lovers, all who ‘somehow’ end up at the same place? Hmm.

There was one place where I had to page back because of confusion about ‘what body part is going where’ … which may have been an editing issue more than anything else.

That said, the novel was entertaining and had several very funny scenes (‘egg’ in the hair, anyone?). It’s a good solid novel which anyone who enjoys m/m romance would like.

I’ll give this three thumbs up. Nice work.

 

three thumbs up

 

John Scalzi gives his kinda-annual talk about money.

I made $164,000 last year from my writing. I’ve averaged more than $100,000 in writing income for the last ten years, which means, for those of you who don’t want to bother with the math, that I’ve made more than a million dollars from my writing in the last decade. In 2000, I wrote a book on finance, The Rough Guide to Money Online. For several years I wrote personal finance newsletters for America Online. When I do corporate consulting, it’s very often been for financial services companies like Oppenheimer Funds, US Trust and Warburg Pincus. I mention this to you so that you know that when I offer you, the new, aspiring and dewey-eyed writer, the following entirely unsolicited advice about money, you’ll know I’m not talking entirely out of my ass.

A great read.

I was reading a thread written last year on cultural appropriation in fiction (long convoluted story how I got to this) and I ran across this excellent section on white privilege in SF/fantasy. I’ll quote it:

As a white person, I can go to a convention and assume that most of the people I see will look like me.

No one will look at me and be surprised that I like fantasy or science fiction or whatever.

No one will look at me and assume that I must be an expert on any history or mythology or country or sub-genre. They also won’t assume that I’m not.

No one will assume that I can’t speak English.

I can assume that most authors, artists, GoHs and so on will look like me.

I can assume that most professionally published SF and fantasy will be written in a way that acknowledges my view of the world, either by following it or by breaking with some specific aspect of it.

Most cover art will show people who look like me, even if the characters in the book aren’t white. But most characters, especially major characters, will be white.

I can assume that most books I pick up will have multiple characters of my race.

At the end of stories, I can be certain that many (sometimes all) of the surviving characters will be of my race.

When a book I’ve read is adapted into a movie, TV series, etc., characters portrayed as my race in the text will be played by actors of my race, probably even by an actor matching the regional type of the character if there is one.

I will have no serious difficulty finding well written books about characters of my race and/or settings and mythologies derived from the cultures and religions of people of my race.

People who see me won’t make assumptions about my level of education or probable profession.

If a character is presented as of my race, the plots surrounding him/her won’t require him/her to be of my race and, in fact, won’t generally refer to race at all.

The actions of a character of my race won’t generally be perceived as a statement about all members of my race.

Authors won’t include just one character of my race in as window dressing without having that character do something in the story other than just be white.

A villain of my race won’t be shown as evil just because of his/her race with the implication that all members of my race are like that.

I will never see a character of mixed race portrayed as less intelligent, morally degenerate or otherwise undesirable (or even more exotic) because of heritage from the white part of the ancestry.

I’m sure these are just a few things I get from being/looking “white” as a SF/fantasy fan/reader. A few more I can think of:

  • I can go to conventions in any part of the US and not be questioned as to why I’m there. I can feel confident I won’t be hassled, given a higher hotel rate, or given poor service because of my race.
  • I can act stupidly/dress stupidly/get drunk at the convention without it reflecting on my race.
  • I can go into any bookstore in America and not be questioned as to why I’m there.
  • Fan forums will most likely be filled with people of my race, and discussions will be on topics of interest to people of my race.

As a white writer of SF/fantasy:

  • I can easily find an agent of my race that takes SF and fantasy.
  • There are a multitude of authors of my race as role models, and if I need to contact another SF/fantasy author, I can easily find one of my race to speak with.
  • If/when I meet or speak with an editor, publicist, or publisher, I can be pretty sure that I’ll be speaking or meeting with an editor/publisher/publicist of my race.
  • I can be relatively sure of having my work actually placed in the proper place in a bookstore, rather than under some ‘ethnic’ area of the store with a bunch of books irrelevant to my genre.
  • It’s easy to find writers’ groups and workshops with others of my race, both online and offline.
  • When I go on a book tour, I’m sure to find booksellers of my race, no matter what city I go to.
  • If my books flop, I will never have to worry about whether my race was a factor. If my books do well, I will never be held up as an example or be considered news-worthy because of my race.
  • I can feel confident that people of other races might consider reading my books and won’t hold the fact that I’m white against me, or think my book must be inferior because of my race.

These are just a few things I can think of, using the article Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack to jog my memory (another excellent read on white privilege in general).

It’s uncomfortable to think of these things, but it’s a daily reality for a lot of people. If you’re going to write about people who are Not You, you need to know what it’s like to be different. There ya go.

And you’re all saying WTF??

No, this makes sense. Go read this rant about people who give away SF (a perfectly good marketing tool) then, if you think this guy is as nuts as I do, go visit here if you want to join in for a fun pseudo-protest.

Monday, April 23rd, we’re celebrating the free web by posting a professional quality piece of work (or as near as we can do) online for free. Ta-da!

If you sign up there’s talk of putting the whole thing in one spot so people can go by and peruse your works at their leisure. It sounds like a great way to get your work seen by a lot of people, not to mention making somewhat of a statement.

For this event, I’ve decided to post a SF short story called, “RoboLand”. Watch for it on the 23rd.

I hadn’t stopped by Joe Konrath’s blog in a while, but I found this article he wrote a few weeks ago very helpful:

One Book at a Time

Here’s a quote from one of the commenters that was particularly telling: “Authors have been griping for years that it is the publisher’s job to sell books. But when that happens, 4 out of 5 books fail.” In other words, if you want to do it right, you better do it yourself.

Marketing is one aspect of being an author that I’m not looking forward to. Hopefully, four years marketing my patient education website taught me something.

I don’t know if there are any published folk out there reading this, but if so (or you have other marketing experience), what did you think of this article? What have you found useful in marketing your product? Inquiring minds want to know.