Why Marketing One’s Own Novel is Like Eating an Entire Pie

If you do not have time to read my article, here it is in a haiku:


Publishing my book

felt so good. Marketing my

book has not felt good.


Okay, moving on with those of you have time to read.


In the autumn of 2018, I finally realised one of my childhood dreams. I became a published

author. My dark comedy crime novel Deli Meat was released by Crooked Cat Books;

people who’ve read it have told me that it gave them a good laugh and kept them

reading.


Besides this complex system of rewards, why do I love to write? Writers get to slip into

an altered state while they work. They’re present physically, but mentally they’re

somewhere else. In many ways, writing is dreaming.


I’ve always thought that if I could make enough money doing it, writing would be dream

job. No pun intended. The problem is that it’s incredibly difficult to actually make money

from writing.


I work with a small independent press called Crooked Cat Books. The strength of

Crooked Cat is the way that the authors all support one another. The publishers provide

guidance, but really it’s up to the authors to market themselves and their work.


From what I can tell, even authors who work for larger publishing houses have to be

fairly adept at marketing if they want to sell books. This is not just a dilemma for indie

authors.


As a writer, you realise pretty quickly that there are a billion different people and

companies who will try to sell you something. Each one of them will magically be able to

help transform your book into a bestseller. There are blog tours; there are reviewers-for-

hire; there are ads on social media and Amazon. When these people see Deli Meat,

they don’t see a new take on the crime genre; they see a business opportunity.


But still, I need to sell my book. I spend a lot time on Twitter just trying to get my name

out there, connecting with other people, and talking about books. Even though I had a

nice spike in sales on my release date, each day there are diminishing returns.


Sometimes I get desperate, and I post the cover of my book with a link to its Amazon

page. When I do something like that, I feel... Actually, this is hard to explain, so I’ll phrase it first as a question. Have you ever eaten an entire pie, one that was meant for a group of

people?


Maybe I’m revealing too much about myself. But if you’ve ever eaten an entire pie, you

know that a feeling of shame follows as you wipe those final, buttery crumbs from your

cheeks. You have indulged; you have thought about your own desires more than the

desires of the group.


So, yes, perhaps that’s a bizarre metaphor. But that is precisely how I feel after I post

some direct, desperate plea to find more readers, or rather to find more customers for

my book.


So there you have it. For those who have had more time than to read a haiku, you now

have this metaphor that marketing one’s own novel has the same emotional resonance

as eating an entire pie.


Now that you’ve read this article, I’ll confess that yes indeed I wrote it in the hopes that

someone out there in this vast web would actually buy my dark comedy crime novel

titled Deli Meat, which has received comparisons to the work of Douglas Adams.


Douglas Adams! The author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy no less! Douglas

Adams! The writer who deftly blended comedy and crime fiction in Dirk Gently’s Holistic

Detective Agency! Need I go on? Perhaps I’ve embarrassed myself enough.


Written by Tom Halford


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