Monday, November 28, 2011

What's all the hype for?

I watched an ABC Family TV movie the other night.  It was good, really good, probably good enough for Hollywood, but it made me think that this is the difference between traditional publishing and self publishing.

I am not saying that self published (SP) authors don’t have the same quality writing as traditionally published (TP) authors.  Let me repeat that, I am NOT saying that SP authors do not have the same quality writing as TP authors.  What I’m saying is SP authors don’t have, or get, the same hype as TP authors.  They don’t get the prime spot on the book shelf or the big add on Barnes & Noble’s home page.  They’re lucky if they even get picked up by a corporate bookstore.

On the other hand there are plenty of Hollywood movies out there that got tones of hype then flopped at the box office, but they did get the hype and that’s the point right.  The point is to get people to at least try reading our story, to get our book into their hands.  Not everyone is going to like our stories, but the more people who know about us the better chance we have at finding loyal readers.

Self publishing is a lot of work, you must self promote.  Lots of TP authors have to self promote as well, just like actors and actresses do.  But imagine the crowd difference at an event featuring the hunky guy from the TV movie or say, Brad Pitt.  Now you see what I mean!  Brad Pitt still has to show up to the event, but he doesn’t have to work very hard to draw a crowd, his agent, publicist and movie producers have done this for him.  Just like a literary agent, editor and publisher do this for the TP author.

Again I want to emphasize that I am strictly speaking about the difference in hype, not writing quality.  I love Amanda Hocking’s stories just as much as Richelle Mead, but I wouldn’t have ever read Ms. Hocking’s work if a friend hadn’t been arbitrarily scrolling through Amazon looking for something else.  Though, Ms. Hocking has created quite the following as I’ve recently discovered.

What it comes down to for me is I need help with the hype.  I’ve never been good at self promotion.  I’m great at praising and promoting others, but have never been good at the ‘look at me’ thing.  And you need to be good at that to be a successful SP author.  So it’s the traditional road for me, the road I know will eventually lead me to publication.

How about you?  Are you a good or bad self promoter?  Does it even matter to you so long as your book is bound and available to others?

BTW: I would choose to meet the hunky TV actor over meeting Brad Pitt, just saying.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really good topic to talk about!

    You covered basically my exact views too. I'm going traditional. I work at a bookstore and I see the difference of self published authors coming in for events or the number of sales their books got for us in comparison to traditionally published authors. Also, and this is less about hype, but self published authors and traditional authors overall don't differ in terms of how well they write, but something that does differ is that they don't have multiple editors looking at it and helping shape it up. I'm not sure if this makes a complete difference, but I certainly think it effects the reaction after you get the book into the readers hands. It's just more polished, not better writing.

    But whether it's self published or published won't necessarily deter me from reading one or the other, it just has to do with, like you said, the hype.

    Good post, Laura! =)