So, there you are: a newly published writer. You’re full of hope, swollen with pride over your accomplishments, and setting out into a new frontier. Congratulations! Hope the train ride was fun. Because as soon as you step off into illustrious Author territory, you’ll see the bleak and unforgiving landscape of The Market stretched out before you.
It’s cold out there. Cold and lifeless. The only thing that survived the e-Publishing A-Bomb is one gnarled cactus and a field of pointy lava rocks. And a crowd of ducks. What, what? Yes; in the haggard, post apocalyptic wasteland that is the publishing world, it’s just you, your book, and hundreds of identical, squawking ducks.
Those ducks are the other newly published writers with their novels tucked under their feathery wings.
Did I mention you’re a duck, too? Yes. You are a starving, post-apocalyptic refugee duck.
I’m not making a Twitter joke, here. There really are swarms of books out there just like yours, fresh off the press and desperate for the cool fishpond that is An Audience. An audience sustains a writer much in the way a pond sustains a duck—there’s refreshment, shelter, and tiny breadcrumbs of praise for your accomplishments that are more tasty than herring. But, let’s be honest, once upon a time the world was a lush wetlands, maybe dominated by an evil overlord or two, but now that the place is opened up to everyone, it’s hard to find a drink of water.
Before this metaphor gets any more ridiculous, let’s just say: Marketing a book is hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re self-published, small press published, big press published, or bar napkin published; connecting with readers who want to read your book is, at times, an insurmountable task. Oh, sure, there are tools at your disposal—social media, reviews, book signings, ads—but I hate to break it to you. They’re all horrific.
And so starts our umpteen-part series The Horrors of Dark Marketing. Strap on your Geiger counter, dust off your webbed feet, and join a fellow duck on this awful journey into the wasteland. Because what good is squawking if we can’t squawk together?
Do ducks even squawk? I dunno; this desert heat might have gone to my head.