Monday, August 14, 2006

Red Flag

As our question of the week deals with publicity and marketing, I feel a red flag raise in my head. These topics are easy obsessions for me, as I imagine it is with many authors. I’m not na├»ve enough to think marketing doesn’t matter or that all you need to do is create a great book; in fact marketing is something I’ve learned to embrace in the last couple of years.

But it’s a dangerous embrace, because it’s so easy to become too focused on it and lose yourself. Promotion is like an abusive lover, always claiming there’s something more you can do and that somebody else is doing it better. As authors embark on more and more elaborate schemes to get their work noticed (like this), the quest to become a household name can become a neurotic game of prestige and fame. For myself, I sometimes fear I may let it overshadow the more important things that I am trying to accomplish. I have many thoughts on this topic, but I must cut this short. I am WAY behind schedule on my work, which I have to begin thinking about promoting.


Anna Alter said...

This is always a really interesting subject that I think we all must struggle with.

It just seems like the kind of thinking that you engage in when you are figuring out how to position a book, what hooks or what particular groups might take interest and how you can reach them... that thinking to me could not be farther from what goes on when you are writing or painting, it can be creative in its own way but it is so far from "birthing" a book...

Sometimes it seems like that kind of thinking takes over, and if you spend too much time thinking that way you start to wonder why were making the book to begin with. It starts to inhibit your creative impulse.

Of course with publishing the way it is you HAVE to think in those terms at least part of the time, and sometimes I really enjoy it, but it seems to me to be really important to limit it, not to get too caught up in selling yourself to the point where you start to believe your own hype.

Libby Koponen said...

"Promotion is like an abusive lover, always claiming there’s something more you can do ..." Well put! And the horrible thing is, there always is more you COULD do! How do you know when you're doing enough, too much, not enough for you? You can't go by the results because it really can't be measured, you neve know what resulted in what! It seems to me that you (Grace) have found a really good balance.

This is hard, especially if you're not good at switching from one task to another...I work best when I am focusing on just one thing. What about you? How do the rest of you switch the channel in your brain?