Marketing. If you could see me right now you would see a guy who doesn’t want to think about marketing. Every time I think about marketing I wonder if I had chosen to go the traditional publishing route instead of going the indie route, if I would still have to market my books, or if my publisher would just do it for me and I could spend all of my time writing detective novels. I’ve been told that it would be much the same, and that I would still be out there peddling books, but then it is other indie authors who are telling me that, so I don’t know.
A friend has told me many times, in fact every time we talk about it, that what I really need is for Oprah to read my books and then recommend them to her audience. Then I would sell hundreds of thousands, if not millions of copies, become rich and famous, and then I guess live happily ever after. Great idea for a novel, actually, but while I’m waiting for Oprah, I probably need to continue to work on the marketing myself.
While the Oprah plan would be the great way to make money, so would winning the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. I wouldn’t have to do any marketing. I could just be rich enough to write books and not worry about it. I’m not counting on either one of those, though. Whenever I am working on marketing, I think about why I’m writing the novels in the first place. I mean, fame and fortune would be nice, but from firsthand experience, I think that anyone who writes books just to become rich and famous would be just as well served to play the lottery twice a week and save the time. I’ve been talking to other authors recently, and I’ve started looking at it from a more realistic angle. Sure, I’m not getting rich, but every month a royalty check gets deposited in my account. Not enough that I can buy a beach house in Nantucket, but I’m richer than I would be if I hadn’t written them. Sure, Oprah’s people are not calling my people, but there is the nice review of Lonelyfarmer,com that Michael Tidemann wrote last week that then got picked up by a half dozen or so newspapers around Iowa and southern Minnesota. So fame has not completely eluded me. Fame is relative, and while I’m not yet quite Oprah famous, I’ll take it for now.
So the question is, if not for fame and fortune, why write them? And the answer to that one is easy. Just last week I happened to walk into Café Milo for a cup of coffee. Café Milo is, of course, the coffee shop that I use as my inspiration for the fictional Filo’s Coffee Shop in my books. (As a side note, my books are for sale at Café Milo if anyone is looking for one.) As I got in line to order my cup of coffee, the man in front of me turned and said, “I really like your book. I’m reading the first one and I’m looking forward to the second.” That’s enough. For me, that is all the fame and fortune that I need. I’m writing them so that people can read them and enjoy them. Even if Oprah does discover me one day, that will still be what it is all about.