Before I published my first book last month, every published author told me that writing the novel is the easy part. The hard part is promoting it. It hasn’t taken me long to see that. And it wasn’t a surprise; I knew that going in.
Although my non-writer friends say I can be discovered by Oprah or a big-time Hollywood producer (“you just never know”, they tell me), I don’t expect to get that phone call anytime soon. There are a million books published each year. Behind every one of those books is a writer like me, fighting to be noticed. We’re like addicts, searching for reviews, referrals, and publicity to give us that next high. So when I hear my friends’ optimistic musings, I just smile, thank them for their positive attitude, and go back to working on my promotions platform and continuing to build awareness one reader at a time. That’s the journey facing every writer or entrepreneur starting a business. We just want to get noticed.
But there is a powerful force that drowns out our voices. It’s insatiable. It’s unstoppable. And it’s intensifying every day. What is it?
It’s the proliferation of silliness, stupidity, scandalous behavior, and “rachetness” (or whatever you want to call it) in traditional and social media. People are now famous just for being famous or stupid. Broken English, talking ‘country’, or crazy slang has become the default way of speaking for people who should know better. Outrageous behavior is glorified. And when everyone is inundated with things screaming for attention, absurdity is what gets noticed.
We writers and entrepreneurs know it can take years of constant work to gain traction for our publicity efforts. We know this is a marathon, not a sprint. But when a silly video or Facebook meme goes viral in 15 minutes, I start wondering how we can make this unstoppable force work for us.
How about I post a video of someone in a thong, twerking with my book and reading my blog at the same time? That will get some publicity! Or what if a business owner creates a Facebook meme that shows someone screaming obscenities while using his product? Better yet, if he takes a screen shot of a real celebrity or a child actor and attributes some silly and obviously untrue quote to the person, people will toss and share that baby around like a Frisbee! Instant viral publicity!
Luckily, I have a friend who is also trying to drum up awareness for her business. She is a voice of reason and talked me off the ledge. That’s why she’s good at what she does. I had to remind myself that we can’t forget our niche audience for the sake of getting fast eyeballs on our books or products. Good things are built over the long haul, not in 15 minutes. So I commit to building my platform the legitimate way, one reader at a time. No twerking, obscenities, or silly stuff for me.
I just tell myself to be patient and keep the faith over time.
Even if Oprah doesn’t call me in the next 10 minutes…