Having just published my first novel, although not my first book, I am struggling to understand the new Internet Age of marketing and social networks. My first book, produced in 1994, seems so easy in retrospect: I delivered a manuscript (the hard part); the publisher saw it to print, wrote a description of the book in its catalogue, distributed it via conferences and bookstores and the usual academic networks. The topic was unique, and the book sold remarkably well for a university press book. It's still in print—and it still sells.
I suspect life wasn't that neat for fiction writers even then. Many books produced, not enough space in the stores—small fry like me probably got shoved spine out on a shelf somewhere, and with Amazon.com in its infancy, remaindered or pulped before we had much chance to build an audience. Yes, they had bookstores then (try to find one nearby now, unless you live in a city). But Facebook? Goodreads? Pinterest? Blogs like this one? Nope.
So here I am, years later, with a brand-new novel, trying to figure out how to let people know it exists. I have a Facebook account, and I post regularly on Pinterest. I've started this blog. My publisher has a site and a Facebook page. I signed up for Goodreads, although Goodreads seems to have lost track of that fact, so I can't log in to check the status of the board I joined. Even this blog is my second attempt (my first, through Google Apps, let me post comments but no one else).
And I have no clue whether any of this is working. Have I sold a single book to someone who doesn't know me personally? If I link this page to my author page on Amazon.com, will anyone read it? Or is everyone promoting and no one buying?
If you have ideas or suggestions, please post a comment!