So Much Noise! How Do You Sell Your Work???

How do you break through the clutter?

The problem with writing in 2010 is that there is simply so much “static” and “white noise” from blogs, tweets, Facebook status updates….that there is really no practical way to break through.

You write a book or a short story.

You self-publish. You have a product that you can now sell directly to the people. No middle man! The problem is that everything you do to advertise your book is as effective as ******* in the ocean.

The “experts” say that we, as authors, need to embrace social networking.

To that I say bullshit.

 Here's why I say that:

What good does a tweet on Twitter do? As an unknown author you’re not going to have 10,000 followers. Strike 1. And if you try to randomly add 10,000 followers yourself…there is still the problem of them not knowing you at all and thus not taking your tweet seriously. Strike 2. And how the hell does an unknown author “sell” a book to 10,000 strangers in only 140 characters? Strike 3.

But you make the effort and tweet your book to 10,000 total strangers. Mission accomplished? Not exactly because those 10,000 people are hardcore Twitter-users and received on average 300 tweets a day. Your 140 character tweet will briefly flash on the screen and then quickly be drown out by the other 299 incoming tweets from actual celebrities whom they know and are following.

******* in the ocean.

Well, what about blogging! Yeah, what about it? Anyone can write a blog….and the problem is that anyone can write a blog. So you create a blog entry and send it out into the world. But who is ever going to read it? Even with Tags your blog entry is still 1 out of 50,000 that were posted THAT DAY. Much like the tweets it quickly gets buried under the other 49,999 blogs with the tags: funny, book, writer, new author, please for the love of god buy my book!

******* in the ocean.

The problem with democratic technology like Twitter, Facebook and Blogger is that everybody gets to use it. Which is great, but creates the insoluble problem of overwhelming digital whitenoise. Inviting everyone to the party sounds like a great idea…until EVERYONE shows up at the party.

Imagine being at a party with 12 people. Your job is to sell your book to those 12 people. Pretty easy.

Now imagine a party with 12 million people. All jammed together in a one bedroom apartment. All talking at the same time. All of them shouting above the music.

“Wanna buy my book?”

“What? Did you say hook? I can’t hear you. And who are you anyway? I don’t know you! Stop spamming me!!”  


I’m open to ideas. How the hell do self-publishers sell our **** in this environment???

niceguyinhell niceguyinhell
31-35, M
7 Responses Feb 11, 2010

no idea, sorry. but u r right about the twitter thing, my older siblings and friends are hard-core with twitter, so they would never even read something about a book. i'm the only one crazy enough to do that! (catch my scarsim)

firstly, you're not just another writer. You think well and you express yourself well.<br />
I think the nature of the form is changing and those who understand and adapted to the changes in new media will ultimately prevail. I think the trick is to be counter-intuitive. The world has become so connected through digital technology, that we have lost touch with well, tactile experience. <br />
I daresay, Jules' blog (of Jules and Jula) was that she connected real experience with a serialized blog. She didn't simply whine and opine in her pyjamas, she took on a task that somehow resonated with people and wrote about it. <br />
My daughter is a Shakespeare nut. She's planning a tour of the locations of every Shakespeare's plays, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Scotland Egypt, She's going to take a small camera crew (flip cameras, if necessary) and she's going to record the journey. She doesn't need a publisher. She's going to blog about every experience and tie it back to the text of the plays, providing a rich back story and visual setting. Next she's going to connect the blog to various social networking sites. <br />
Starting with her group of 800 friends on Facebook, she'll disseminate the blog virally, Next she'll connect with theater companies and educational institutions with an interest in Shakespeare. <br />
If it catches on, she might write a book about her travels. <br />
Next, she might contact a travel company, leverage her email list and offer followers an opportunity to travel through the plays of Shakespeare. <br />
And when she finishes that one, who knows? Maybe Chaucer<br />
I guess the point I'm trying to make (and I do have one) is that the book is the last thing she's interested in. Instead of being a literary piece, it will be more like a recorded diary of an event. <br />
What will matter more to her and followers is the account of her experience, supported with video and diary entries detailing the making of the story. <br />
You have a rich palette of tools available to you. Writing is just one of them.

I sent my entire manuscript to a big-time agent in N.Y. through a contact I have. They took ti seriously, but turned it down, saying "We weren't confident that it would stand out in the market." I'll PM you more about the editing part.

As you may have noticed Eve, I am very self-involved. I had no idea you were writing a book! How much does an Editor cost? Lulu (my publisher) offered editing services but I didn't opt for them. Have you made contact with any agents or publishers yet?

So, niceguy, I'm sure you have looked at all the advice out there. I am in the process of hiring a professional editor for my book with the idea of putting together a tight book proposal for agents and publishers. Having read your book, I can see that yours was more amenable to self-publishing than mine. But, either way, you have to market your book. I am finding out that much of the book proposal is selling your book, comparing it to similar books, etc. <br />
<br />
I wonder about you getting your book to come up in internet searches more. You have a lot of topics in your book, so it seems like there could be a lot of potential there. Not that I would know how you do that, but I am guessing that you would.<br />
<br />
Another thought. If you could get a sample of your work to a published author who does similar work, and get a "blurb" from them. I found out that that is part of my book proposal process-getting "blurbs" from people who are known in the field I am writing in. As I go through this process and see other applicable ideas, I'll send them on to you. <br />
<br />
It is a labor of love--this whole sharing our writing thing. A lot of work and self-promotion.

We need to come up with an alternative marketing plan. We need to treat things like high school, I think. How can we be popular? Haha.

I have no idea. Niche markets and be searchable by specific key words? That's my hope. I'm busy writing my book now. I hope you figure it out for me by the time I get done.