Sunday, August 21, 2011

When to Start Marketing OR Should I Look for an Agent/Publisher

To market or not to market, that is the question.

My plan was always to start marketing the series after the second book was ready for public consumption.  Since I am over half way to completing book two, it's time to rethink that plan.  I'm not saying I am going to throw the plan out the window, but the time is approaching when I'll need to get serious about marketing to garner some sales.


I need to start looking for a publisher or agent.  That brings in a whole new set of problems (I could have said challenges, but let's be honest, challenges are problems).  Do I want to start getting rejection letter after rejection letter hoping that someone, at some point, will see the potential in the books/series?

See, that's the rub when you get down to it.  Self publishing is easy from the rejection perspective.  If you write a bad book, it'll just sit there largely unnoticed.  Even if reviewers don't like it, no one has to know because their reviews will sit there along with the unnoticed book.  Those bad reviews would hurt personally, but an author could always pass off those bad reviewers as uninformed amateurs.

I've been fortunate because all of my reviews thus far have been somewhere between good and excellent.  However, getting rejections from people "in the industry" would somehow seem official.

Harkening back ('harkening', only a real writer would use that, right?) to my youth and baseball playing days, I was pretty good.  I thought I was better than that until, in my late teens, a "real" coach took me aside and explained to me that coaching was a rewarding way to continue to enjoy the sport.  In other words, from an expert, my ball playing days were over.  I didn't believe him until several other "real coaches" showed their agreement by sending me home before lunch.

My brain tells me that rejection really isn't that bad.  Heck, in my non-writing profession, rejection is part of the game.  Clients say "no", bids get sent back, and negotiations fall apart in the last hour.  Plus, I was single for a few years and not every woman said, "Yes!"

Writing, though, that's different.  Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is.  The dream of writing books that people want to read ranks right up there with playing baseball for a living.  Do I really want someone who knows the game to tell me that my fastball/character development skill isn't good enough for the next level?

You don't know whether or not you are good enough until you try but, after all is said and done, the radar gun doesn't lie.  You've got it or you don' you really want to find out for sure one way or the other?

What say my fellow authors/reviewers?  How do you deal with these things?



  1. This is a great thought provoking post and i agree with you on just about all points. Rejection is a scary thing, hell writing a book is a scary thing. Everytime I write one i stare at the xomputer and think "I'll nevwr be able to fill all these pages with words- words that are good" but you know i tackle one page at a time, just like rejection. As a writer i have had to make some choices just like every writer faces-- and i am not saying my choices are right because there isnt a right answer here. I got picked up by a traditional publisher but i thought A LOT about going indie. Rejection is tough, i've had way more rejection than anything else. I'll admit ive had at least 100 no's. Yup that many. I only got one yes. That yes outweighed those no's. Did those no's hurt? Yup. At first i would be sad and wonder why i ever bothered trying to write but for every no i sent out at least two more queries. Im stubborn. :)
    After the first ten or twenty no's i started to laugh at the mail. I would think "here's another" but i never gave up because i wanted that yes wayyyy more than those no's. It was my dream. Still is.
    About marketing- i am venturing into these waters myself and my book isnt due out til winter. I say its never too soon to vreate a buzz about your book. And if you start looking for an agent/publisher you can at least say that my first book did this well and heres how i am anticipating the aecond. It might give u some clout because agents and publishers like someone that tjey know will sell- its a safer bet-especially on a new author. See what i mean?
    Now of course these are just ramblings from a writer. Lol.

  2. All I have to say is: I've forwarded this post to my niece, who is a writer. This is something she'll be facing someday :-)

  3. Ok, from a reviewer's POV, here it is....
    If you decide to go the agent/publisher route and should get rejected.
    I say screw 'em and seriously keep doing what you are doing.
    I've told my story a dozen times about how I stumbled upon indie's and what keeps me reading them.
    Just because you MAY not get picked up, doesn't mean you suck.
    There is SO MUCH undiscovered talent out there as far as indie writers go and it really saddens and shocks me that so many of these wonderful writers have gotten rejected!
    I don't know what the hell is going on with the publisher's and agents and what they are thinking, but it is totally their loss.
    The more I delve into the Indie world, I can really see a revolution starting.
    Indie's have no one to report to, complete rights to their work and catch a little bit more profit.
    Yeah, their books may not be on shelves (yet) but they are still making money.
    The decision is ultimately up to you, of course.
    But no matter what route you go, I will always be a supporter and read your work....well unless you sell out completely and totally forget about your fans....;)

  4. I think you have to remember that publishers are not looking for good books and good writers; they're looking for something that will sell. They seem to judge that by what has sold in the past. So if your book doesn't fit neatly into a category and they can't say "it's like Dan Brown but with Pixies" or "the next Artemis Fowl" or whatever, they will reject it because they simply can't afford to make a loss, especially in these economic times.
    It depends what you need. If you need validation, and your book can be simply categorised, then it may well be worth going that route - but if they have you pegged as a midlister they're not actually going to help with the publicity very much anyway, probably.

    If you want to be published by someone else, I'd suggest going for a small publishing house as they will still be passionate enough about it do put their heart and soul into it; larger ones are there to make money and earn kudos for themselves, or at least that's how it looks.

    I'd wait till you have 2 or 3 books out before making that choice, maybe, as Lexi Revellian (who has sold literally tens of thousands of her books in the last year alone) was saying that the best marketing you can have is to bring out a second - I should imagine that doubles again with the third. By all accounts, it takes nine or ten books on the shelf before you have any chance of cutting down on the day job, but each successive slot on the shelf doubles your exposure.

    I think starting the ball rolling now is probably a good thing, esp if you're nearing the point where the book's going to be released. I'm doing a couple of short stories which I'll release for free, so that people can get a taste of my world and my writing style...still in editing but will let you know if that proves useful...

    Mostly though, I suspect that doing just what you are doing is the way forward - guest blogs and interviews, chatting on the forums and just keeping your web-presence going. I'm getting a bit experimental with that, so catch me later and will tell you what the results are so far!!