Marketing vs Manipulation

Finishing up Shift Tense, worrying about Query Packets vs Self-Pubbing, sketching out another set of Clar1ty Wars stories, looking over two other novels I’ve started/outlined, I’m confronted once more by the challenge of Marketing my work.

I understand advertizing – getting your product and/or services in front of those who need them. I deal with that for my glass studio. It’s pretty basic however: a nice website, a small Super Media ad, and relationships with commercial plate shops and contractors. Mostly, I rely on word-of-mouth. I strive to do quality work, to spec, on time, on budget. I’m not the next Louis C. Tiffany or John LaFarge, and it would be enormously presumptive to bill myself as such. That’s not a lack of confidence or unbelief – it’s a healthy sense of proportion.

Art glass is a niche, luxury item. Stained glass repair is an esoteric trade. Very obscure. Plenty of people don’t appreciates the beauty and potential of custom architectural glass. They certainly don’t need it like they need a plumber or car mechanic or a new pair of glasses. It’s not for everyone and I’m fine with that.

Fact is, it’s the same with my Biblical worldview Spec-fiction. Speaking of niche… ‘not for everyone’ is an understatement. But I also sense there’s an audience out there, and I’d like to get my work in front of them.

My question is how can I do that without crossing the line? (or bankrupting myself) What ways can I expand my readership (and sales) without treating those I encounter like a Wallet to be squeezed or a PR person to be exploited?

I’m not a hype person. I believe in my work, recognize it has strengths and flaws, but it’s not the most daring, inspired, avant-garde thing to explode on the Evangelical scene. It’s not going to usher in a world-wide geek revival. While God might use my art to minister to someone, I’m not going to drape sanctified phrases like “ministry” and “calling” all over it, (as if that contractually obligates God to get me on the NY Times best seller list) or consecrate it with a pretentious pen-name like “Voice of God”.

Steven Pressfield just re-posted an interesting article HERE. My take-away line?

Looking back over a long career in a number of fields of writing, if I ask myself, “Steve, when did your work get its most efficient exposure?,” it was when I did absolutely nothing and the work spoke for itself.

Oh, I’ll be contacting every review site I can find. I’ll be asking some folks – maybe even nagging a little – for Amazon Reviews. I’ll buy FaceBook and Good Reads ads, commission illustrations, take all the press I can get, and generally talk my next release up as much as possible. In the end though, the notion of allowing the work to speak for itself resonates with me. Wishful thinking and hype won’t make it what it ain’t, and maybe my sales won’t be through the roof, but I’ll sleep better knowing I didn’t extort or deceive the people who are gracious enough to read my books.

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