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Marketing only works if you’ve got content worth marketing

November 2, 2011

Conventional internet wisdom these days would tell us that one of the most important things writers can do, even if they’re just starting out, is to network with other writers and thus expand their reach onto computer screens that they otherwise wouldn’t find themselves on. And from a marketing standpoint, that seems to make a lot of sense. So over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to do that, if only a little.

What I’ve been doing is finding new authors, many of them self published, and then downloading free samples of their books to read through and comment on. It’s a nice thing to do; and the idea was that it would, in turn, draw slightly more interest to what I’m doing over here. A problem I’ve had though is that, other than one collection of short stories, everything I’ve read has been – in a word – terrible.

This might seem harsh, but it’s the truth. The vast majority of content on the internet – especially”self-published content” – is really not that good. It’s as if many writers these days are more concerned with marketing their work than improving it. And so after downloading many books and stories, and reading some portions of them, I’m forced to set them aside and do nothing else with them. It’s been a complete waste of time.

I truly believe that if you write great stuff, you’ll find your audience. And even the worst books published by major houses these days are generally better that much of what appears in what we would call the “self-published” market. Thus, while thousands of writers these days feel that the future of publishing is completely on the internet, I tend to disagree. For those of us readers who still like to read things that are, well, good (which I would submit is most of us), finding books in a bookstore – or through the recommendations of other readers – is still exponentially less risky than sorting though millions of unproven internet e-books.

In short, it seems that I’m a book snob at heart; and the potential of becoming a writer isn’t going to change that. So for now, I’m done reading stuff simply to network and indirectly market my own writing. I’ll just concentrate on ensuring what I write is good enough that people will want to read it. The rest will eventually take care of itself.

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