I hate marketing

There, I said it.

I don’t want to be that guy joining forums, groups, discussions just to pimp my wares, a naked ego clothed only in my latest’s back-cover blurb and a Smashwords coupon code. Drive-by marketing is obnoxious, transparent, tiresome at best. And what with Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” dust-up, the last thing I want to do is use ResultSource

I know advertizing and promotion is essential; a good book never read is the same as a bad book. The question is how to carve out the time to invest rather than impose? To locate places of genuine potential interest rather than spin up the hype where it’s unmerited? And contribute genuine support to other members of those online/physical communities?

Time is a precious commodity. With everyone already busy enough, it’s tough to maintain already established connections. And it’s getting more difficult to wade – to even want to wade – through the sludge these days. With ‘The Barrow Lover’ up next, I’m seriously struggling with how I’m going to honestly and earnestly promote it.

Any thoughts here?

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.

The Tortoise and the Hare

When it comes to the Internet, Marketing, and Social Media, I confess I just can’t keep up. Facebook, Forums, fan-clubs, other authors’ sites, cross-linking, reblogging all take time and energy… and there’s only so much of them in a day.

Even more, I’m not sure I want to keep up. I’d hate to end up one of those people who thinks they have to fill every empty space with their opinion. Or view everyone I meet through the lens of my agenda.

I know I need to market and advertise. There are internet friends I actually like and want to be connected to, but day-to-day is always in my face and there is stuff to do, constantly. So I have to prioritize. Discriminate. More to the point here, writing is work, and learning to do it well is a lifetime endeavor. My question to myself is – which is it going to be?

Some dead white guy ( I think it was an American President, in fact) once said “Take your work seriously, not yourself” and it has always resonated with me. I’ve always wanted my glass work and my stories to stand on their own. You don’t need to know me to appreciate them; they’re a product, sure, but they’re separate entities. (arguable point, but that’s the way I see it)

That Tortoise and Hare fable is another reference for me. (a disabled guy) I realized long ago I’ll never letter on the Varsity team or throw down suave smooth and sexy out on the dance floor. Hell, stairs are a challenge. Instead, I’ve got to focus on what I can do – not what I can’t. At the end of the day, if I have to choose between the frenzied pace of Internet Marketing or the long-haul, labor-intensive task of writing, I’ll choose writing.

After all, my work will be here after I’m gone.