by Tom Starita
Type, edit, scream, delete, type again. Repeat on end for almost five years. Send out query letters and emails, silently curse or scream into a pillow when you receive rejections. Repeat on end for almost five years. Decide you want to control your own fate and self publish with Infinity. Receive a package in the mail containing your book the next day. Laugh, cry, celebrate.
If only that was true.
What you thought was the ending was actually only the beginning. The past five years was the easy part. Now it’s time to get your book into the hands of the masses. If the idea of sitting down and completing the novel that has lived inside you for as long as you could remember wasn’t daunting enough, figuring out a way to make a tiny dent in the market place would drive a sane man back to the office and forget this silly notion of writing.
Here’s the problem: you know how to write. That much is obvious. If you didn’t, there is no way you could sit down and come up with an idea worthy enough to become a book. I’d be willing to bet you’re pretty damn good at it as well. The problem is we are writers, not marketers. Of course I’m going on the premise that you don’t work in marketing. If you do that defeats the majority of what I’m saying.
What do I know about marketing?
So what do I know?
The power of networking.
Whenever I try to envision the task ahead, I think of the movie “Castaway.” For the majority of the movie, we watch Tom Hanks’ character try to get off the island. The problem is escaping the powerful surf surrounding the beach. If he can get past that final crushing wave, he’ll wind up floating in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is full of possibilities and hope, where some stranger can come by and scoop him up. In this lousy analogy, our book is Tom Hanks. Or maybe we’re Tom Hanks. We’re definitely not Wilson, I know that much. Regardless of who represents what, there is only one important question to be solved. How does our book get past our family and friends and out into the vast Pacific, where anyone can come by and scoop us up?
The first step is to build your raft.
This is the moment when you cash in those favors your friends, family, and co-workers owe you. Remember that long Saturday you spent moving your cousin into his five-story apartment without an elevator? How about that time your co-worker screwed up his part of the team project and you took the heat from your manager? What about those Friday nights babysitting your nieces and nephews so your sister and brother-in-law could have a night to themselves?
It’s time for them to pay the piper.
All they have to do is buy and talk about your pride and joy. Perhaps leave your book on the coffee table the next time they have friends over. Or bring it with them on their commute to work, so fellow travelers and their co-workers can see your tome. Naturally they’re going to tell everyone this is the best book ever. If they don’t you might want to look into getting new friends.
All right, you built your raft. Your friends and family bought your book and have been telling everyone they know about it. It’s time to set sail and reach the Pacific.
Can I tell you how fortunate we are to be writing at this point in time? Never before has a person had the ability to control his product. Never before has a person had the access to thousand of eyeballs across the globe…for free! Next time you sit down to type, think about sending a love note to Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, because those two men have granted you powers that no author in the history of the world has ever had.
Of course I’m talking about social media.
Facebook and Twitter are a godsend. Those two sites have given you the opportunity, for free remember, to advertise your book to everyone you have ever met, and grant those people the opportunity to tell everyone they ever met. You want to talk about reaching the Pacific Ocean on your flimsy little raft, that’s how you do it. There is no better feeling than seeing someone you never met “like” the fan page you created on Facebook. Actually I take that back, the only thing better than seeing someone you never met “like” your fan page is seeing one hundred people you never met “like” your fan page. That’s just nirvana.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t offer some words of caution. Don’t be “that guy.” We all know that guy, everyone knows him. This is the person who floods their social media with a thousand different posts, game requests and other mind numbing activities. If you post about your book every hour on the hour for a week straight you’re going to find yourself either blocked or deleted. Not a good thing. The goal is to temper your enthusiasm just a tad. Maybe post about your book every couple of days. Learn how to parcel out the information.
Am I saying if you follow all of the above you’re guaranteed to be the next big thing? Of course not. Will my simple words of advice however get you one step closer to reaching your goal? I’d like to think so. Then, after all the writing and marketing and everything else the scariest thought will pop inside your head, if it hasn't already,
“What if they don’t like it?”
And that’s a whole other post.
Tom Starita has two passions in life, writing and the New York Mets. Both have taken years off his life. He spent seven years teaching high school religion, six months as an office manager and is currently in sales. The only goal he ever had was to be published. His dream is to spend the rest of his life lounging in a pool with a book. Tom loves to laugh, loves to make people laugh and most of all loves his beautiful wife Kristina who he calls Lady. They currently reside in Weehawken, New Jersey with their dog, Tzatkiki.
Image courtesy of abcdz2000