Fellow blogger, Lauri Kubuitsile, led me to this excellent article, “Should I Tweet?”  It’s not specifically about Twitter, but it is about the importance of marketing within the literary world.  Let’s face it — the job of a writer today is twofold: (1) write the best damned book you can and (2) become a marketing whiz.  I think anyone who has ever written a book and gone through the incredibly difficult process of actually getting someone to publish it will tell you that that job was easy compared to finding a way to market it. 

This article really hit home and I urge you to read it.  To be honest, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but it did confirm it.  And it assured me that, actually, this marketing hyperactivity really is nothing new.  It has always been this way, from Dickens to Walt Whitman.  But I have spent most of the past few months marketing A Clash of Innocents as fast as my little fingers could type.  It always feels like an uphill battle.  Nonetheless, I’ve come to know that regardless of how wonderful and proactive your publisher is — and Ward Wood is wonderful and proactive — it is the writer who must ultimately sell his/her book.  The fact that the two jobs require such divergent skill sets is unfortunate, but it doesn’t mitigate the truth of the situation.  We all know what it takes to write.  But what does it take to market? Here’s my list:
    * Creativity: Be as creative in your marketing strategies as you are in your writing
    * Nerve: Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers and don’t be shy about putting your work into the hands and under the eyes of everyone you can meet
    * Computer Literacy: embrace the internet and all its networking functions  They are the wave of the future, not to mention the present
    * Time Management:  Decide what works most efficiently for you and spend most of your marketing time doing that rather than using the scatter gun approach of doing a million little things
    * Realistic Goals: understand what you can realistically expect from your publication, in terms of money, career advancement, professional development, and then learn to be happy with it
    * Energy: It will take lots of it.
    * Honesty: Both with yourself and others. Be who you are and do what makes sense for you, as much or as little as that may be.  Everything else will then fall into place.

Can you add to the list?

(PS the photo above is me at the London Book Fair ’09)