Authors feel loved when people buy and enjoy their books enough to post reviews. Being appreciated for one’s hard work makes all the years of hunching over a laptop and gathering research worthwhile. I have a book coming out in May, so over the weekend my beloved manuscript rode off by email to the formatter and the cover artist. Sure, I’m so excited I want to tell strangers, but other than enthusiasm, well, marketing is not my strength.
For lack of a fairy godmother to make marketing happen with a wave of her wand, I must slog on to gain knowledge about the process and the best practices of marketing in the publishing world. Okay, so more hunching over a laptop, lots of reading, and a willingness to fling one’s soul into the abyss of a rapidly changing industry will be my lot. And then there is the fear factor.
Sending one’s book into the world feels like watching a toddler run across an icy lake. In a snowstorm.
I feel out of my depth. Writers by nature can be introverts and marketing skills come more naturally to extroverts. Nonetheless, I forge ahead in baby steps. Part of the marketing process involves finding comparables–books similar to mine in style, content, subject matter, or genre. Style is the toughest to identify. If a newbie author claims to write like Lee Child, or John Grisham, the claim comes off as hubris. I know which authors I would LOVE to be compared to, but that’s for readers and reviewers to decide, right? Then I found a website that samples a person’s writing and identifies which famous author has a similar style. It seemed an objective, outside opinion based on linguistic analysis, so I gave it a shot.
From a two-chapter sample of my upcoming book South of Justice came this assessment:
Wait. What? WOW. Yeah, baby!
Who am I to disagree with their fancy programming? I can live with that. My mother might even agree. For grins, I then submitted a three-chapter sample of my next book, North of the Killing Hand, and this is what the analyzer came up with:
I could boost my ego all day with that kind of thing. Another of my favorite authors! Vonnegut’s lean sarcastic prose and quirky characters kept me up many happy nights. As much as I would be thrilled to have my style compared to Vonnegut or King, will the similarities boost my sales into the stratosphere alongside Cat’s Cradle, or The Stand? Please, oh, please!
A blog is the only forum I feel comfortable sharing the computer analysis of my style. Back in the real world, perhaps I should stick to finding works similar in theme, content, and genre. A much easier task. The hearty Beta readers and critique partners who patiently endured drafts of South of Justice identified my works as suspense with elements of romance, crime/redemption theme, and a strong female protagonist.
So as I lurch through the process of preparing this paper-and-electronic offspring to face the big world, know that all prayers are greatly appreciated. In the long run, readers like you will decide the value of a book, because no matter what the reviewers from lofty, high-brow media report, readers rule the industry.
In all the marketing information I’ve read, the most powerful marketing engine is word of mouth. My prayer is that my writing moves hearts, souls, minds, and mouths in a positive direction. Readers rule!
If you would like to read the first chapters of my books, click on the BOOKS tab above and choose a title from the drop down menu. Please leave a comment too, to start that word of mouth rolling. Feel free to share on Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, and tweet away, because the next book in the series is on the way.
Bear with me as I await that first look at the cover art. This is kind of like giving birth and counting the newborn’s fingers and toes. Will it be amazing? Will the cover reflect all the beauty and potential inside?
If you would like to be notified when the next book is published, add your email to my newsletter form on the bottom of the page. Expect to be notified:
- To ask for your help in choosing cover art from artist’s drafts
- To announce when the pre-buy link for a book is available, because the bigger the volume of sales that first week, the higher the book will rank. (High rankings influence buyers to take a chance on new authors like me!),
- To get notice when a pre-publication discount is available, and
- To notify you when a book is published.
Spread the love, spread the word, and this newbie author will keep writing the rest of the 4-part series. I’d so much rather write than market, but I will market with the resources and skills I can muster. Wave if you see me wearing a sandwich board at a major intersection.