February 7, 2011


I’ve finished the “How To Market Your Books” volume I mentioned earlier (Blog: 2/1/2011) and was underwhelmed by the amount of useful information available. There was a pretty good list of resources and some scant information on how to set up a blog.  But for a writer many of the recommendations were off the wall: Hey! You wanna sell your books? Open a book store! 

Not only is this “How To” full of unrealistic advice but I’d also need to possess Superman’s gene code and Warren Buffet’s stock portfolio to implement many suggestions. If I’m “unwilling die for my book or parachute into Windsor Castle to promote it,” I’m told I’m not an author.

Hyperbole like this isn’t helpful and sets my teeth on edge. In reply, I’d say to the author of this book, that he isn’t a writer; he’s an entrepreneur. He frankly admits most people don’t make money from their works. According to him, money is made by franchises spun off from publications. But most writers can’t manage or don’t want to go into the tee shirt and plastic button businesses to promote their work.

Like many “How To” books, I came away feeling like a failure. I want an audience for my novels, but I don’t want to create an ancillary industry to achieve it.     

The only way to live with myself after reading one of these guides is to remember why I write: for the love of it. Like any pleasure — enjoying a good movie, having a good meal with a friend or a good conversation — the pursuit is done for its own sake. The gardener who enjoys his flowers or picks a succulent tomato from the vine, doesn’t think, “Tee Shirts.” In writing, as in all aspects of our lives, the simple act of enjoying what we do is the measure of our success.