(Editor’s note: When asked if marketing his new book. Dolce Far Niente, is enjoyable, Paul Gentile, being completely honest, said no. Even though it’s become like a part-time job to him, he often has his wife Joyce help him out with marketing. He’d rather be writing, he says. Paul shares his thoughts below on the marketing process.)
Marketing has become a part-time job, and I really don’t enjoy it. I’d much rather write. Joyce is a natural sales person and enjoys that aspect. I call her my “agent” because through talking to people about my book, she has found speaking engagements and people to interview me. If it were up to me, I’d be on to the next book.
I found I had to start marketing before it was published, just to get it published. I went to the Internet to read about how to write proposals to publishers. I also found most traditional publishing houses won’t even take unsolicited proposals; you need to gain access through an agent. So I started sending proposals to agencies which I found through Internet searches.
Agents don’t want to take you on as a client unless they think your book is going to be a million dollar seller. Its big business and none of the big houses want to spend time on you if you’re not going to get on Oprah or if you haven’t done something outrageously gross and disgusting or saintly. You have to develop a strong skin and take rejection well. I don’t, so I tried to treat it as a challenge to see how many rejections I could collect and looked for the most cleverly written rejections. Most were your standard two sentence dismissals, but I kept them all.
Then one day, Joyce, my agent, was talking to Kathryn Wall, a writer of murder mysteries, who lives on Hilton Head, and Kathryn told her she had the same experience and went with IUniverse, a self-publishing company, finding them very good to work with. I tried them and we developed a very good relationship.
Of course, now I’m deeply into the marketing, because regardless of what publisher you go with, it will be up to you to do the marketing. Those books don’t just fly off the shelf on their own. I’ve gone door to door asking places to carry my book.
Another thing a novice writer should know is even though a book gets published, it’s not going to necessarily appear on bookstore shelves. For example, shelving decisions of the chains are made at corporate somewhere. Again, as with publishing houses, bookstores won’t stock your book unless a central buyer thinks it will sell. They don’t want it taking up space when big sellers could be in that space.
Through the editing process, IUniverse awarded my book the Publisher’s Choice award, which means it will be featured on the New Released Paperbacks table at a Pittsburgh, PA area Barnes&Noble store (Waterworks, Fox Chapel) through March. Otherwise, it is a situation where you can go into any book store and ask for the book at the desk. They will look it up in their computer, tell you they carry it, but will have to order it, and then get it for you in about a week or so.
These are some of the realities of publishing.
By Paul Gentile
To read about Paul's trip to Italy and his new book, visit http://www.boomthis.com/money.html?subaction=showfull&id=1204053763&archive=&start_from=&ucat=4&