"Ha," I said, with a wry smile. (I'm very good at smiling wryly.) "Is that a trick question?" Nevertheless, I wrote a reply, which I thought I'd share with you.
"What do I love about marketing? Besides being an author, I'm also a decent salesperson, so I don't hate marketing—but I do hate having to do it. Like most aspiring authors, I hoped to live the dream of having people flock to my book signings and clamoring for my next novel to come out. Sadly, that dream rarely materializes.
"Sometimes, marketing seems like trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces. With the advent of affordable and easy self-publishing, the market is now quite saturated with books of all kinds, and it's hard for one novel to rise above the rest. I'd much rather be writing than selling, creating press releases, posting blogs, or sending email newsletters, but I keep doing it, because every person's name added to my mailing list is potentially many more contacts who will not only buy this book but perhaps all my others, past and future.
"You never know where the best contact will be found. My greatest one came when I sent a book to a friend, who shared it with her friend, who gave it to a teacher who was currently unemployed, who sent it to another teacher who loved it so much she now starts her school year language arts program by reading it aloud to her class—and she shared the book with teachers in other schools, all of whom invite me to come and speak to their classes and sign books. You just have to keep plugging.
"I don't love marketing, but I love my books, and I know children do, too. If I want the books to become known and loved by more children and their parents, I have to keep selling."
It is a lot of work, all this marketing stuff. I'm not one who would just keep pouring the words onto the screen if I thought no one would ever read them. I don't write out of a compulsion to bare my soul, and I don't want to be recognized posthumously for works I never published. I'm a storyteller, and I write for you. Without you, the stories have no life. When you (or the child for whom you chose my book) read my words and communion occurs—along with the joy of discovery and of sharing in the lives of the heroes they care about—then the words come to life. That's why I write and, therefore, why I market.
And since it's been a while without an update: I was away from active writing while I took on two editing and typesetting projects for author friends. One of those projects is now complete, and the other is nearly so. Meanwhile, I've still been working on The Rift, and the readers in my critique group tell me they still like it. I've also come back to work on Bruce and the Road to Freedom, which is turning out to be more challenging than I anticipated. Freedom is not an easy concept, and it has different meanings for different people and depending on context. I think it will be an interesting and fun story, and I'm happy to say that some of the earlier characters who haven't been seen in a while will reappear.
I hope those of you in the southwest are enjoying this great "winter" weather. To those in the east: remember, spring is coming soon, and shortly thereafter, you can all point at us in Arizona with our 110° heat and put on a wry smile.