It’s All About the Marketing

When people discovered Iceland they found it to be beautiful and welcoming. Being selfish as only humans can they named it Iceland and sent some of their number far and wide to tells of its name and location so others would steer clear. They did this to keep the place all to themselves.

Roughly the same time another group of people landed on a barren rock half covered in ice. They had to scuttle some of their ships to make shelter and have heat. A lucky group got to leave in the remaining ship. They promised to send others to help. Granted those being left behind did not believe this promise until they heard the marketing plan. This barren rock was to be called Greenland in order to dupe others into traveling to it. Once they landed their ships could be quickly scuttled for more shelter and heat.

This place called Iceland brought forth into the world a person known today as Lief Erikson. During his voyages some 500 years before the famed Christopher Columbus he landed at various places in what we know as America. Once they found grapes and wheat his people built a settlement so they may better enjoy the fermentation of their labor. He even rescued some other Icelandic people who had shipwrecked there. True to Viking tradition they decided to tell only their people of this wonderful place when they returned with grapes and timber.

Christopher Columbus on the other hand told everyone of his great discovery. We all know how that turned out. Not so good for the indigenous peoples. Odd, when most people hear the term Viking they think of ships, pillage and plunder, but when you look at the actual history of what happened after Columbus “discovered” America you gotta believe they were amateurs at it.

This little marketing through history lesson offers a great analogy for today’s writing and publishing industries. Far too many people are hurling unedited trash up to Amazon and claiming to be published authors. In effect, they are merging the Greenland and Columbus marketing methods. This leads to the numerous complaints from consumers about the endless low quality of eBooks.

Sadly, some really great writers follow the path of Lief Erickson. They toil away tirelessly on works shared only with close friends and family. In short, they only tell their own people about them. Some continually claim their work isn’t good enough even though it is better than 90% of the stuff being sold today, including the stuff being sold by traditional publishing houses. Others simply don’t want the fame or hassle associated with publishing.

In truth the world will never know what these writers chose to deny it. Oh, some will eventually get published after their death. Someone tasked with going through the person’s things will stumble on their work and decide to sell it. This happens quite often in the world of erotic literature. Before you go dissing the entire category of erotic literature actually read “The Canterbury Tales.” If that were published today it would be on the erotic literature shelf.

What is the point of this little tirade?

Before you publish in a manner expecting people to pay for, learn the business of publishing. I’m not talking about the mechanics of hurling unedited trash up to Amazon hoping to dupe millions into buying, but the actual business of preparing a work for publication. How many of you know that there are multiple types of editing and that each book needs most of them. True, fiction doesn’t need the same level of technical verification that a book on science or architecture needs, but it does need _some_ technical verification. You certainly don’t want to have characters inhabiting a building a decade before it was actually built or long after it was destroyed. A simple Web search will put your readers resoundingly off. Likewise technical books rarely need plot editing because they are discussing the mechanics of things, not spinning a yarn.

Once you have learned the business of publishing, then, and only then, have the courage to publish. Too much courage too early leads to a lost battle. Save your marketing for a really good product.

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