I bought a book awhile back that I’d hoped would be helpful. Instead, it’s just depressing me.
Not depressed in a clinical sense, of course. But it’s proving to be more of a “downer” than a help. At least, that’s my initial response. It may prove useful once I digest it more.
So what is this terrible tome? And why would I read a story if it depresses me? Well, it’s not terrible; it’s good, in fact. And it’s nonfiction, not a story. It’s a wonderfully practical, informative book titled Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing & Publicity by Rob Eagar.
It’s obvious the author knows his stuff. He’s not only successfully put this knowledge to use for himself (he sold me a book, didn’t he?), but he’s helped hundreds of others increase their book sales. He doesn’t speak in generalities, leaving you to wonder, “Sounds like a good idea! How do I implement that?” Rather, he gives specific recommendations in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. He lets the reader know exactly what steps he or she needs to take.
And that’s what’s depressing.
I was dealing with everything pretty well until I got to Chapter 5, “Start a Wildfire With Your Author Website.” Specifically, the part about how it must be professionally designed so as to make the best possible impression, which will likely cost anywhere between three and six thousand dollars.
Okay, I can’t refute the guy’s logic or his experience. I understand what he’s saying, and the reasons he gives this advice. But I’m not paying thousands for a website. As a matter of fact, I’ve elected to ignore another of his dogmas: a free blog does not count as a professional author website.
Chapter 13, “Create Newsletters That Get Results,” was just as depressing. I have a strong aversion to newsletters. I don’t want to receive them. I don’t sign up for them, and I don’t feel comfortable asking other people to do something I won’t do myself. Not to mention the fact that I cringe at the thought of taking the time to create the blessed things, especially on the monthly basis he recommends.
Yeah, yeah, yeah — his methods are proven. Books don’t sell themselves; it requires effort. And the money spent is an investment, which (theoretically) will pay for itself in book sales. But first, you have to have the money to invest. And moreover, the whole promotion thing goes against my grain.
One thing he says that I DO like: be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself or your marketing efforts look like someone else. Implement the tools you’re most comfortable with and that you’re capable of handling. (Which, by the way, is why he suggests employing a web designer; most writers aren’t capable of pulling off a professional-looking website and will come off looking like amateurs.)
My musings on this subject range far and wide, but I’ll spare you. Let’s just say that, although I’ll continue reviewing his suggestions, I only plan to implement those that seem practical, reasonable, and fit the “be yourself” criteria. Which means that, apart from the supernatural intervention of God, my books will never sell like wildfire.
So be it.