How-To Discussion of Promoting and Marketing Novels and Written Works

Discussion in 'Writing' started by juzzza, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. zachariah

    zachariah Speaks fluent Bawehrf

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    Way to ruin Dark Side Of the Moon for me, guys! That's the one album I haven't listened to yet. Thanks.

    This is what you want, pragmatist:
    HTML:
    Here's is that quote I would like to quote - 
    
    [quote]Doughnuts, not donuts. Nobody ever made a nut out of 'do'.[/quote]
    
    Which I think you'll find illustrates my point perfectly.
    Which would show:

    Here's is that quote I would like to quote -

    Which I think you'll find illustrates my point perfectly.
     
  2. pragmatist

    pragmatist pragmatist

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    Thank you KatG and Zachariah.

    Let's give it another go.

    Quote:
    Understood. I didn't actually use the word 'invasion', I used the word visitation. (I hope) And then usually add 'and the military interaction that follows'. I hope it does have some humour in it, but it's not written as a comedy, it's written as an adventure story.

    The aliens being telepathic in Independence Day had gone right over my head, I never even thought of that. Although there are a couple of get-out of jail free possibilities.

    1) The aliens can communicate between themselves telepathically and put their thoughts into the head of another species, but can't actually read that species thoughts.

    2)Their telepathic abilities are very short range. Imagine if the aliens had football, and stood in a football crowd, they would get a headache pretty quickly.

    Battle for Los Angeles, you're quite right, I had forgotton exactly how that ended.

    By the sound of it, I think the orginal plot line for 'Cowboys and Aliens' sounds better to me.

    You're right again, I did enjoy 'Skyline', I sat and thought I really can't see how these guys are going to pull this off, it got closer and closer to the end, and I thought surely not, it can't go that way, but it did.

    I will check out 'Monsters', thank you.

    quote:
    Yes I think it does, Many thanks Zachariah.
     
  3. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    There you go on quote boxes. Sorry for the spoiler, Zachariah. I guess I thought it had been out long enough.

    It's the plothole the size of the truck. Not that they worried about that much in Independence Day.

    That would work except that they have the alien reading a human's thoughts, putting thoughts into the human's head and controlling the human's mind, thus speaking to other humans.

    Since the aliens use telepathy for a lot of their communications, this would be kind of inefficient. Even so, once the guys are in the mother ship and deal with the air traffic controller, that they aren't the right species should have been pretty easy to determine.

    We still love Independence Day in our household because of the brilliant Saturday Night Live sketch they did when Bill Pullman was hosting for the show. In the sketch Bill Pullman's Independence Day president is running for re-election after the alien invasion and his opponent is a version of Bob Dole, who was running in real life at the time, played by Norm Macdonald. Pullman's president says something about the average American and Bob Dole growls back: "The average American is dead!" So that's a saying in our household, especially in reference to alien invasion movies.

    All of which has nothing to do with promotion, unless we're talking movie promotion. So I'll segue. If you wrote a story because you were inspired to go in a different direction from movies you see or stories you saw, then there are times you can use that in promotion, as long as you don't make it sound like griping too much about the story you banked off of. For instance, you can say that you're telling the lighter side of alien invasions or that your story is the reverse tale of Independence Day or Bladerunner or whatever. Don't, please, do anti-Tolkien for fantasy stories. That's just highly annoying at this point and it will not give you any real juice.
     
  4. pragmatist

    pragmatist pragmatist

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    KatG:
    No chance of that, I wouldn't know where to start even if I wanted to, which I don't.

    I wouldn't try to apply any analysis whatsoever to space operas or fantasy stuff, they're all about escapism and un-realism, that's the whole point of them. They're a completely different 'kettle of fish'.

    'Star Wars' wouldn't stand up to any analysis, but sitting back with my fizzy drink and popcorn it blew my socks off, I loved it. If I were to apply some analysis I would say Vader and the Empire = the Nazis, the damsel in distress is from many a fairy tale, and the grand finale was a direct rip off of the old war film '633 Squadron'. In '633 squadron' a squadron of Mosquito bombers has to fly up a narrow fjord with guns blazing at them all the way along it, and bomb a small target at the end under an overhanging rock. I bought that and 'Star Wars' on DVD too. There were no terrestrial scenarios or equipment to analyse, 'Star Wars' just wasn't that sort of film.


    'Idependence Day' is a different type of sci-fi to 'Star Wars', it's semi-realistic sci-fi that mixes our current technology, fighter planes and nuclear weapons etc with alien technology here on Earth. So I think it's interesting to see what different people think would be the outcome. Come to think of it, the personal opinion of the people that write these stories is probably that we would get creamed, but they know they have to write in a 'wrinkle' so we, or the Earth itself can win. It's interesting to see what 'wrinkle' they choose. I bought 'Independence Day' on DVD too, I thought it was great.

    I have a particular interest in the possibility of aliens visiting the Earth for whatever reason, that's why I can't help looking at how hollywood handle it.
     
  5. AZimmer23

    AZimmer23 Things Fall Apart

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    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but is everyone here familiar with Ralan's Webstravaganza? It's essentially a site that lists many outlets (web and print mags, publishers, etc.) for selling stories, poems and art and includes pay rates, contacts and where to submit.

    My question is this. Is it bad form to submit a story to more than one outlet? I guess it could be embarrassing or even downright bad for a burgeoning career if two people want to publish a story. One gets it and one is irritated and may blacklist you.

    On the other hand, some publishers have such a long turn around and limited submission times, so only submitting to one at a time seems like making the mistake of throwing all of one's eggs into a single basket.

    I'm in a quandary here. Any advice?
     
  6. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I've never written for the short fiction market - so don't know etiquette, but in general I suspect each publiation will want an exclusive for some period of time (1 year, 2 years). With the rate of rejections, it may be that you need to submit to several simultaneously...but if someone picks it up you should write to the others withdrawing it from submission so they don't waste their time. At least that is a the approach I would take if I were doing it - for what it's worth.
     
  7. AZimmer23

    AZimmer23 Things Fall Apart

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    Thanks, Sullivan.
     
  8. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Publishers don't keep blacklists. They don't have time. They don't care enough about you to do it. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't piss off an editor who then doesn't have much incentive to work with you.

    The simultaneous submission issue is different depending on whether it's a short story or a novel. Short stories it's more usual, many magazines don't ask for an exclusive submission and magazines try to get back to submissions in a set time period of 1-2 months. For novels, simultaneous submissions are more problematic for publishers and they take longer to respond if they are accepting unagented material for a whole novel. But there are ways to manage exclusivity periods to keep them down to a couple of months. And there are some people who just do simultaneous submissions and they seldom get caught. With changes in formats and publishing schedules that are going on, procedures may change so it's best to find out what submission requirements a publisher is asking for.
     
  9. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Resources for book markting

    Similar to my post on resources for traditonal publishing (writing and sending query letters) this one focuses on marketing your book once you have a completed project. Some of these focus on self-publsihing, though the technique described can be used by any author. Everyone of these self-published author has sold thosands of books, and therefore you can trust what they are saying. I myself used similar techniques (but before reading these) so it shows that there are some formulas to emulate for success.

     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
  10. SteveW

    SteveW Registered User

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  11. Scorpion

    Scorpion Registered User

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    While they all sound great ... I think I read somewhere the most self-published ebooks sold are self-publishing how-to books, which probably just means people are exploiting the new trend. And as you say you used similar techniques, I'm wondering if most of the information isn't just common sense... Perhaps I'm being overly sceptical.
     
  12. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    The ones I listed are all novelists who sold a ton of fiction(most more than 100,000 copies) so no it's not "these" books that made them famous - it is their fiction and why I mentioned these. To be honest I don't know of any "big selling" books on self-publishing by anyone who doesn't have a track record, so while I guess there could be titles that fit the bill you are discussing, I've not bumped into them, nor are any of these fitting that characterization.

    Common sense? It depends...many things seem obvious once something points them out to you...but if you made a list before reaidng the books would you have come up with them on your own? Depends on the person.
     
  13. M. R. Mathias

    M. R. Mathias Banned

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    That's an interesting post. But considering that ANYONE can ad a book to Wiki that validation isn't so strong with me. I -as an author- may try and get hits, but I am after readers. I offer so much free content that getting hits is getting read. If a reader chooses to buy after that, I have done my job as an advertiser. Many do, many don't, but with 6 gazillion people on the planet, if you don't make a little noise you don't get heard.
     
  14. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    I'm convinced even a good internet presence isn't enough. So much of promotion is word of mouth, and without it, great exposure can still be worthless.
     
  15. Starchaser3000

    Starchaser3000 Registered User

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    I agree with this too. I think I have done more than enough blogging and blabbing about my book on the internet to the point that I don't want to come off as a self promoting whore. I have submitted my book to this years writers digest writing contest and I also have received some decent reviews for being an amateur author/novelist. So I do believe my work has some merit to it, but I accept that its not for everybody. So far I think I have done all that I can to promote my book without the help of an agent or a trad publishing house to back me up.
     
  16. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I think a lot of it has to do with 'approach' -The mere thought that you are worried about being a "promoting whore" says you might be thinking about it wrong.

    There's a big difference between a "hard sell" or even a little "buy my book" and approaching it as, "hey here's something you might be interested in, check it out for yourself." Pointing someone to a sample chapter shows a much different mentality then pointing them to a buy button.

    As to agents or trad publishing house "promoting your book" - the agent's tasks is to promote to publishers so there won't be any "external exposure there." The Traditional publishers are marketing toward corporate book buyers to get "distribution" so also not getting to the "end user" (i.e. reader). No matter how you publish it is going to be you, the writer, who builds the connections with the reader base.
     
  17. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    In my experience, even that soft-sell "here's a link to a free sample," is still frowned-upon, and those who do it are still considered "whores." I've had such postings, and even mentioning my book in relation to another subject, deleted by mods. Most often, any book advertising or promotion is segregated to separate categories that most visitors simply avoid.

    Just like so many other areas, consumers want to avoid advertisers, even when they are looking for a product; it makes it hard to sell anything, but especially online.
     
  18. Starchaser3000

    Starchaser3000 Registered User

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    I have had this experience as well. That is why I still believe a self published author can only do so much before their work might catch on at a later time. Even if what they have written meets up with the criteria of what is commercially viable, there are still obstacles that would require some time and perseverance to overcome. Plus not being an internet marketing and promoting wizard doesn't help matters much either.
     
  19. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I think it depends on a number of factors:
    • How active you are in the community
    • How helpful have you been in helping others
    • The exact wording of the post

    If you just fly-in and fly-out, sure that's not much different but if you are active in the community and people already know that you are part of the group then it works - or at least it has for me. As with everything YMMV.
     
  20. Josh Lemay

    Josh Lemay New Member

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    I didn't see mention of it, but I also didn't have the time to read the entirety of the thread, so I apologize if this has been discussed before.

    I think a more interactive approach to marketing is both fun and more interesting to the general populace. Things like contests, or just talking, having fun, Facebook status stuff, etc. People generally enjoy things like this, and while it's a bit more time consuming than just tossing up your website somewhere, or giving out a free book, or whatever, I think it has better overall results.

    Results are also probably a bit slower, but I'd say they are longer lasting, too.

    As a random example, I'm fairly small time in terms of writing. I don't have a huge presence or anything, but I did decide to hold a contest on my website awhile back. I enjoy playing online games, so I decided I'd give away gift cards for the games I play and mention it on the forums for those games.

    This was when I first started my website, so it was really really slow in the beginning. I had 80 and 86 total hits in the first two months. I started the contest at the end of the third month and still managed 554 views(around 300 in one day), and the fourth month skyrocketed at 1,277. After that my total views per month definitely rose, though it's not as high as when I held the contest. Still, I'm seeing about 3x more people per month checking out my site than I first had, so there's definitely something to that.

    And it was fun! People enjoyed it. I gave away some decent prizes, though nothing super expensive. No one minded me posting on the forums for those games because I was a player, plus I was offering prizes related to the games in question.

    I don't think this is the end-all-be-all promotional/marketing tool, but for me it was a lot of fun and I think everyone who joined in the contest had fun, too.