Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Book That Speaks For Itself

Oh, marketing. Writers hear a lot about marketing. Make yourself a brand, get out there early to build your name, have contests, get followers, get blurbs, make countdown meters, master change avatar campaigns, networknetworknetwork.

But I'm not going to talk about that today. Because honestly? None of that really matters if you've ignored the most important marketing tool of all—writing a book that speaks for itself.

Sure, the other stuff can help, but when it comes down to it the best way to get your book out there is to write a really spectacular one. One that people can't help but share with their friends. One that has readers shoving it into the hand of everyone they know. One that doesn't need the other marketing stuff.

I truly believe, when it comes to marketing, this is the first responsibility of every writer. Writing and crafting the book should always be the main priority. The other stuff is just frosting, but what good is frosting on a cardboard cake? It is my goal, every time I sit down to a story, to write one that is solid and compelling enough to stand on its own. More than anything, I (and I'm sure all writers) want to create a book worthy of reading.

I never want to feel like my book needs a blurb to sell, you know? I don't ever want to be in a situation where my marketing efforts don't feel like a supplement, but a necessity. Because ultimately, a good book will eventually find its readers, regardless of how much marketing frosting is piled on top.


  1. Ahh people often mistake marketing for advertising and that's where they go wrong. Being able to put ads out there is nothing if there isn't a product to sell. And marketing is what creates that product. Of course, the other stuff helps, but not without that key ingredient.

  2. I admire you because you always seem to be focused on the writing first, Natalie. I'm the same way over the long run, but there are definitely days when I spend more time shopping blogs than I do alone with my pages.

  3. Honestly, I'm a bit dismayed by (what I perceive to be) pressure to, as you put it, networknetworknetwork.

    I don't have much time to write and what time I have I spend writing, revising, editing, not branding myself or whatever. I understand the need and I admire people who've become adept with it but I just hate it and I know I suck at it.

    The book is my brand. Ideally, each book will have a different brand because I don't want to write the same book over and over again.

  4. Could not agree more! I mean, did JK Rowling tweet or have FB contests? No. Stephenie Meyer? Nuh uh! (Although I hear she was very active on MySpace and on blogs in a connect-with-fans kind of way.) Suzanne Collins? Negatory.

    Book Above All Else. I like it. :)

  5. You're absolutely right. Once someone risks reading your book, if it's fabulous the word will get around.

  6. This, I totally agree with. I've always felt this way, and it's because, mostly, I'm bad at this networking stuff. I've tried Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and some other forms of networking, but I failed at each one. They're just not for me, and so I'm hoping my book will be enough.

    Thanks for the post.

  7. Thanks for this post. Sweet and simple. Just what marketing should be. Sort of....

  8. Agreed. All the marketing in the world can't beat the enthusiasm of a fan.

  9. I do read the blogs and magazine articles about marketing, but I have been focusing more on writing. I figure that if and when I do get an agent, he or she can help me promote and sell my book. My goal is to write the kind of book that people will want to keep reading, as in they'll finish it in just a few days because they couldn't put it down. I've read several books like that; I can't even remember what their blurbs were, but I remember the reasons why I kept reading the stories.

  10. Nothing compares to word of mouth - I buy almost ALL of my books off of recommendations.

  11. You bring up a GREAT point... I've actually met several writers who are great networkers. And then I read their manuscripts... and they're awful. Unedited, uninteresting, and not worth reading.

    Movies do this. Some have a huge first weekend, then fizzle out completely (because they stink). Some start small, but then blow up because of word of mouth, earning billions because people talk about this movie we just HAVE to see.

    I want my book to be a reading HAVE TO. I want people talking about it with their friends, saying, "You HAVE to read this! It's the best book I've read all year!" I want them checking it out from the library and then getting their own copy because they want to read it again and again.

    Now I'm off to revise. Thanks for the inspiration!