Since I’m new to all of this – the business of book marketing – I’ve come to notice that there are a lot of people out there earning a living providing consulting services to authors. Many of them – authors themselves. Others, marketing gurus offering free downloads to materials that for the novice are truly helpful. These “loss leaders” lull you into a daze as you provide your email address and join, what they promise to produce for you, an expanded mailing list. Finally, you think, someone who understands this crazy business. Someone who can offer a little direction.
And you reach out for that lifesaver. Hey the water is cold. You’re floating about, banging into all these apps – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – grabbing on for dear life and hoping they will carry you along as you find your readers in the big bad ocean. You try to put on a happy smile. If little Shirley Temple can manage to be a delight in the face of any number of catastrophes during the Great Depression, surely you can manage to swim a few laps. But you’re not little Shirley. That toddler was a triple threat. She could sing, dance and act. You can only swim – and the doggy paddle at that.
And then, a bright light opens up. You see a ship on the horizon. It’s a group of fellow authors, as inexperienced, as put off by all the noise, also struggling – but they’ve managed to commandeer a ship and are sailing in your direction to help. Peers who understand the challenges – and can point you to the best resources.
Oh. That’s why you’ve signed up for those groups on Facebook. That’s why you’ve been networking with those Twitter folks. Reading the blogs of others. It’s becoming clearer. You get what you give. If you want to be successful – you need to ask for help. People need to know you. And then, you need to be helpful to others.