Writer or Salesperson?
Couple recent experiences drove home the notion that successful writing these days isn’t so much due to good prose as slick promotion. A recent Writing Conference standard “Ten-Minute Pitch” where you get a hasty sit-down with a real ‘literary agent’ had a friend discussing not her books/stories but her online presence. Then, a local seminar by an indie author was all about full-time marketing and not an ounce about craft.
No more ‘Can you write?” but “Do you FacebookPintrestTumblrTweetBlogGoodreadsAmazonPromoBlogTour?”
I know as much effort and creativity go into marketing a product as the making the product, (maybe more) and I get that advertising/promotion is important, but it feels like shill and gush have priority over plot and character. Save recommendations from friends, family, known-authors, my trust factor for ads and 5-Star reviews is waaaay down lately. Is it just me getting grumpy in my dotage, or is there some validity in this assessment?
I’ll end with today’s serendipitous post from Seth Godin “Marketing Good”–
Marketing good is the McMansion that looks good at an open house but isn’t particularly well built or designed for actual living.
Marketing good is the catalog of gimcracks and doodads that entices the casual shopper but sells stuff that ends up in a closet.
Marketing good is the cover of a magazine decreed by the number crunchers in the newsstand sales group, not the editors and the readers they care about.
Marketing good is sensational or edgy or somehow catchy, but is a service that never gets renewed.
As you’ve guessed, marketing good isn’t actually marketing good, not any more. It’s just junk.
Second and third order recommendations and word of mouth and the way we talk about the things that are “good good” is the new marketing.
Your initial response rate, newsstand sales or first episode ratings are a measure of old-fashioned marketing prowess. Now, we care an awful lot more about just plain good. Or perhaps, if you really want to make an impact, great.