Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Marketing that Goes Too Far

Getting to your audience is a vital part of developing your writing career. You can write the best damn book in the world, but if it's not getting into the hands of people who want to read that stuff, you'll crash and burn. That's why writers need to develop some method of promoting themselves (websites, con appearances, newsletters, etc.). Sometimes it can go too far, though. Or just be so transparent as to be annoying.

Case in point is the recent re-release of a book originally published by a small press: The Expected One. Riding on the last gas of the DaVinci Code hype, the marketing for this book takes things one step further. I don't know how the story came out (publisher put this info in a press release? author created her own press release?), but it caught and spread to the point that even the booksellers were using it as a marketing ploy to get folks to buy the book. This novel is about the modern-day descendent of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, which puts it right in the Code pack, but the publisher or author or both are trying to distinguish it by making it known that the author herself thinks she is the descendent of Mary Magdalene and Christ. Maybe I'm too cynical for thinking it, maybe it has nothing to do with selling books, but I heard this and thought about how I could hype my books with similar tactics.

For all of my SF books, I could claim to see the future, and that my books are basically transcriptions of my visions. For all of my fantasy novels, I could claim that they are loosely based on my experiences in my past lives--you know, sort of like a Million Little Pieces semi-fictional memoir.

Nah, too much effort to try and keep all the stories straight or be ready with an explanation any time I might slip. Too much effort. I'd rather put that energy into writing really good stories that don't need gimmicks to sell.

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