We’re back with Linda Lavid again, author of On Creative Writing, a how-to writing guide, among other novels and short stories. Lavid is a pro in the field of e-publishing; so we at Your Plot Thickens decided to quarry her knowledge with an interview about the subject.
On Creative Writing, which is available in e-book form, is actually the first half of Lavid’s print book (and e-book) Composition: A Fiction Writer's Guide for the 21st Century. Composition has two parts: part one deals with writing fiction and part two, with self-publishing.
“I extrapolated On Creative Writing for marketing purposes," explains Lavid, "and placed it as a free PDF/TXT download from my website and several other free e-book websites. In the past three years, it was downloaded 50,000 times. I received e-mails from all over world thanking me for passing along some practical advice in regards to writing stories. Placing On Creative Writing, as a free download drew a lot of traffic to my site. The cost was free, and I did sell other books because of it."
This in part answers my other question -- why Lavid titled her blog, Confessions of a Shameless Promoter. I found this so ironic as, in my opinion, writers are some of the worst networkers out there. Writers tend to be introverted, self-critical folks (takes one to know one), who have difficulty in social situations. Hey, I’m not saying all writers are like that, but, let’s face it, many of the best writers I know are eccentric and aren’t exactly people persons.
But as Linda Lavid has demonstrated, it’s important to network to get known. I mean, you do want people to actually read your book, right? And if you think the marketing team of your publishing company is going to do all the work for you, you’re sadly mistaken. They will dedicate about a month of their time to sending out press releases and getting you interviews. After that, you’re on your own. And if you've decided to take the self-publishing route... You'd better learn to network!
Lavid explains that, though her blog's title is Confessions of a Shameless Promoter, the subtitle is: Tips on Selling Books and Artwork from a Reluctant Promoter Turned Shameless. "The operative word being reluctant", says Lavid.
It's rare to find a writer who's willing to go out there and market. After all, what we do is solitary. And I was quite reluctant in the beginning. Selling locally (bookstores, markets, fair, groups) helped me immensely in building my marketing style. Turns out I love talking to people and giving presentations. Who knew? These skills were then easily translated to the Internet...social networking, blogging etc. The key to marketing is figuring out how to make it enjoyable, then doing it relentlessly.In part two of this interview, we will discuss more issues regarding e-publishing.