Marketing Monday – Promotion In Trying Times
I follow a lot of authors on twitter, and it’s never more than a few tweets before I see someone promoting a book. But that was before November. Now, I mostly see random bursts. I nearly have to go looking for someone promoting a book that is already out. And this is over a month later.
The unofficial rules of book twitter have been hammered out over several tragedies, and basically says don’t promote during these times. But if all times are trying, how do you promote yourself at all? Here are my thoughts on the matter…
Remember Media Matters
The day after, I saw so many “books matter!” tweets. I didn’t buy in, despite actually believing this down to my core. At the time, it felt like something I was telling myself to justify things. But I thankfully found my faith again, and that was thanks to two things. The first, I remembered the joy that it brought me. That even if everything was literally the worst, a book, or a show, could grow its own happiness within me. And that gives us the willpower to face things.
And second, is the one that has really moved me. I want you to think of messages in Fahrenheit 451 then combine that with sound waves. If you can’t visualize them, watch Cymatics’ Science Vs. Music video.
Thanks to analytics we can track data and it often looks like sound waves. This merging has left me with one logical conclusion. Communication vibrates along digital strings the very same as sound. Therefore, art is the act of playing the universe. Your story, whatever it is, can cause ripples of thought at any time.
Don’t Assume Your Book Will Save The World
Promotion runs the risk of egotism. I think that’s the number one reason people are afraid of it. While it might be tempting to say, “Everything is awful! But my book will fix that!” I ask you not to.
Reading a book is an individual experience, and while fandoms might make it look like it’s a collective one, each person will get different things out of it. So don’t promise that your work is exactly what someone needs. Because we all need different things. Even when we do need the same thing, we do so at different times.
If you want to reference what is going on, or ignore it completely, be self-aware. Instead of promising a solution, offer what you directly have. For example, “Here’s my space opera about lesbians who team up with aliens.” Maybe that is exactly what someone needs as a reminder that everything isn’t awful. The point is, let the reader find the meaning they need within your words. Your novel won’t save the world, but it can save the day for someone.
Fiction Is More Popular Than History
Did I just KO a history major? Someone check, we need them.
I can think of several topics that I first learned about because of fiction. Sometimes without even knowing the reference. It’s a one-two punch of the availability of fiction and bias in education.
The Lion King had historical references I did not pick up as a kid.
Assassin’s Creed had real people that I had already written off as bad guys.
Hell– Assassin’s Creed had real people that I wrote off as bad, only to have a different fictional story make me second guess.
Writer’s are not in the business of writing history, but it does calibrate our focus. Consciously, or not. When we promote things, we have to ask ourselves what contextually am I saying. Is your book dystopian? Ask yourself how it will read now that it didn’t when you first wrote it. Is your book romance? Ask yourself how it will read now that so many people are scared. Those questions will reveal the relatability of your work in the promotional here and now.
I know those aren’t simple answers, but these are not simple times. These are the days where your words can reach nearly anyone in the whole wide world.