Getting down and dirty on the internet

What every aspiring author wants to know: Marketing!

This is a topic that strikes fear in the hearts of many an author. We tend to be introverted, skittish creatures. Marketing feels like whoring ourselves on the internet, tarnishing our “art”, exposing our vulnerable creative core.

But it’s necessary, unless one wants to write for oneself. An author craves an audience. If the audience doesn’t know about it, they can’t fall hopelessly in love with one’s story.

At the request of the marketing department at my esteemed publisher, I have set myself up on the requisite social networking sites. We are all told as aspiring authors to build a platform before we get the call. Get your name out there! Network like your butt’s on fire! Promote your author brand!!!

I would like to issue a statement: I am not a brand. Author Maureen Johnson said it much better than I could in her Manifesto. Please read it. It’s funny. But most importantly, it reminds us of what we all forget about the internet: it is made up of people. You and me and my mother and dentist and third cousin once removed. I don’t want to hear sell, sell, sell anymore. I dislike being sold to. I will not try to sell to you. If you pick up a copy of my book because it looks interesting, yay! If you decide it’s hopelessly wonderful and share it with all your friends, yay! If you check it out of the library, yay! I love creating the Hearts of Darkness world, dragging my characters through their most hopeless soul’s night, finding redemption and love along the way.

I hope, of course, that you like the trilogy as much as I do. But all I have control over is the words I put on the page. It would be easy to get sidetracked into networking, building a social platform, and evangelizing on the internet. Whole months go by without writing, just blogging, commenting, tweeting, and “liking” away. I’ve been there. I blogged a lot. I pretended I was “working.” My word count on my manuscript stayed stagnant.

Finally, I took to heart the words of the most esteemed grand dame of romance editing, Kate Duffy: “Get off the internet and write.”

It was amazing how all the distractions lifted away, forcing me to face the dragon of my own blank page. We fought. I won. No one else can write your story for you. You can’t sell a story you haven’t finished writing.

So it is with great hesitation that I once again join the ranks of the socially networked to market my book. I will not let myself get carried away this time. Writing comes first, marketing a distant second. My focus is joining a community of readers.

Here is my new blogging schedule that I hope I’ll stick to:

On Manic Mondays I will talk about WRITING.

On Wacky Wednesdays I will talk about READING.

On Fractious Fridays I will answer four QUESTIONS. (Please send me your burning questions about life, the universe, and beyond.)

Let’s get this ball rolling!