To some published authors the notion of marketing themselves over and above the support (or not) that they receive from their publishers comes hard. It doesn’t seem natural. In the words of John Braine (Room At The Top) ‘a writer is a person who writes’.
But the natural order of things, whereby writers locked themselves away in some rural or coastal idyll and allowed the words to flow from writer central (that special place in the brain that generates the creative juices and is in touch with the greater you), is undergoing some remarkable and far-reaching changes.
Will publishers continue to hold the whip hand? Don’t get me wrong. There are some wonderful, committed, intelligent and sympathetic publishers and editors who are in love with books and with writers. But there are those that are less so. And publishing is going through a form of industrial revolution that may see it change forever. And author power may be about to manifest itself – the first million selling ebook authors have already arrived.
Savvy authors, whether published or indie (another new tag applied to writers borrowed from the music industry) now have to be marketers, bloggers, designers, PR consultants, and social networking gurus as well as novelists and authors, I somehow find it hard to imagine a Hemingway or a Lawrence or even a Spillane settling down to an hour or so with Twitter or MySpace or Facebook. Mind you, I could be wrong.
In later blogs I’ll tell you about the pitfalls I stumbled over as I grappled with technology, even though I have spent many years as a journalist, marketing consultant and editor. I thought I was pretty adept at keeping up with mass marketing technologies but I discovered I had a lot to learn.
I’ve only just come across an excellent site called CrimeFictionLover and something new to me even though it’s been around since the year dot, The Center for Fiction in New York – founded back in 1820 – It has established a new Crime Fiction Academy. The CFA is open to applications for workshops beginning in February next year. Tutors include the authors mentioned above, alongside several others such as Lawrence Block, Karin Slaughter, Thomas H Cook and Linda Fairstein.
This enterprising site is also running ‘New Talent November’ so get onto the site pronto. To quote the site: ‘Our aim is to bring you some gems to read by up and coming authors who you really should check out and our coverage will include reviews, recommendations and interviews with some of the hot new talent out there.
Because we also hope to bring you our regular mix of new release, news and features during the month, we’ve devised a simple logo that will go on each NTN story. In fact, it’s the logo you see right here. We’ll also prefix every headline falling under the New Talent November banner with the letters NTN.’
What does ‘new talent’ mean? Well, we’ll be looking at authors who are making their debut or have released no more than one novel with one of the big publishing houses. It will also include some self-published writers and those working for independent publishing houses.’
As long as we all still have time to write.