June 17th, 2014

Veronica Mars types on a Mac

Changing the way I spin on the web:

          “I’ve been thinking about it.”

          “Did it hurt?”

          “Little bit.”

-- The Notorious Ian Grant

          Hey, look at that: a surprise sneak peak at my upcoming novel. And also a good intro, because, like Ian Grant, I’ve been thinking about things … and it did hurt, a little.

          I’ve self-published two books, and I’ve had a book and a short story collection released by a small traditional publisher.

          They both have disadvantages, one of which is you don’t get a lot of help in marketing. If you’re going for traditional publishers in the hopes you can just leave everything to them and go on to your next book, forget it. Unless you’re a big name, the publisher’s cut of your work goes toward editing, set up costs, cover design, and other things that don’t include sending you on a multi-city book tour. (Including profit.)

          What’s the best way to market your book? Everyone knows, but no one agrees. One thing most do agree on, though, is that one of the best marketing tactics is to keep writing good books. (Notice the “good” part.) Better still from a marketing standpoint is to write a series, since people like to revisit their favorite characters, if done well.

          So, how do you balance your time, as a writer, between writing your new book and marketing your last one?

          I dunno.

          But I’m trying some steps in that direction. First of all, I’m going to delete my “Storm Chaser” and “Storm Chaser Shorts” Facebook pages, which were, after all, an experiment to begin with. I’m considering keeping my “Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights” page, as it has more of a community aspect and relates to local history and firefighting in general, in addition to the book itself. (Or maybe I should give that job over to Tanner Lock’s excellent Albion Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page?)

          But in general I’m going to concentrate my efforts on my FB fan page, which is Mark R Hunter (as opposed to my “private” page, which is Mark Richard Hunter) It seems pointless to put extra effort into individual book pages, especially since Facebook recently has made changes that make it less useful to writers seeking new readers.

          On a related note, I have two twitter accounts: @MarkRHunter and @StormChaserbook. With the ease of Tweetdeck I’ll probably still cross post writing and weather related stuff to both, but otherwise the Storm Chaser one is going inactive.

          Finally, I’m going to change how I use social media, a little. Many writers spend a lot of their online time connecting with … other writers. Thanks to that, I’ve developed some amazing friendships, a support system I never had as a beginning writer, and great ideas.

          But writers can’t sell books just to other writers.

          For one thing, most writers are poor.

          So I’m going to make an attempt to diversify my posts a bit more, talking about things other than writing. Or maybe things that aren’t about writing, but that relate to the things I write about.

          See, if I can make those things interesting and/or funny, people might read them and say, “Hey – I should check out his books!”

          Meanwhile, by streamlining the process a bit, I’m hopeful for enough time to get out at least two books a year, and maybe some short stories or other writing, all going toward my eventual goal of world domination – um, writing full time.

          My main goal will be to put out the best work I can, in the hopes of making the readers think I’m confident and talented, and worth telling others about.

          It could work.