book promotionIn this morning’s links, there was a great article from Digital Book World which talks about the role of the writer in today’s marketplace. Marketer Rob Eagar asserts that there is no such thing as an “author” anymore. Rather, there are “people who write stuff they want other people to buy”—aka salespeople. He makes the often-made point that if you want to be financially successful as a writer, you can’t ignore book promotion. In his words, “you cannot afford to separate selling from the writing process. As you learn the craft of writing, you must also learn the craft of selling.”

Fair enough. I’ve made this point myself on more than one occasion, to mostly silence and crickets chirping, because many authors have this misconception that anything which takes time away from the ‘writing’ is outside of what they should be expected to do. But here is where I loved Eagar’s article: he refreshingly looks at just what this book promotion entails specifically:

“Selling your book means writing effective newsletters, blog posts, short stories, free resources, social media posts, word-of-mouth tools, magazine articles, etc. If you’re truly a writer, then these types of promotional activities should be in your wheelhouse.”

Bravo, Rob Eagar! I love this little paradigm shift. If promotion can be achieved by writing more stuff, than isn’t that exactly the role of the writer? Shouldn’t writers learn not to fear these activities as much as they do now?

I’d love to see something on Coursera or iTunes which teaches this sort of promotional writing not in a huckster-ish sales and business context, but in the context of just another genre of writing, with rules a writer can learn to follow the same way they can learn to follow the rules for mystery writing, or romance writing, or science fiction.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. I agree that salesmanship is a part of being a published author these day, but it should come after the novel is completed.

    If a novelist writes novels only to please the most people, those will be seriously shitty books because they will please nobody. Novels or any creative art by popularity committees don’t work.

  2. I think people might be over emphasizing the importance of marketing. I’m going to read about 120 books per year plus or minus a dozen depending on length and complexity. Marketing will not enable me to read more.

    But what you have are the authors Billy Bob and Sally Mae vying for a slot to be read. Behind them are a few thousand other authors.

    How much of a difference will Tweeter, Facebook, and Blogs make? To me, nothing. A review on the NYT or NPR, for example, might have a better chance to get me to pick Sally Mae over Billy Bob. I care about the book, not the author on social networking waving his hands or gyrating her hips for attention.

    Authors need to write good books, not engage in good marketing. One way or the other I will discover the books to fill the 120 slots every year.

  3. Boo, a pox on social media and the people who use it. The internet is full of sickos and bullies who want to act out those Kobo “fantasy stories” mentioned elsewhere here. This is not good for antisocial paranoids like me who want to avoid the weirdos on Twitter and Craig’s List at all costs. Anyone know of a good PR company one could pay to facilitate fake “friendship” in the writer’s stead?

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