I forget what I was Googling, but I found a very unique press release that caught my eye: “Serial Killer Starts Blog Ahead of 2MCH4YA Book Completion.” Yes, a serial killer featured in the upcoming novel, “taRNished,” now has a blog.
The blog is an example of what I’ve been thinking about a lot when it comes to book marketing: the power of personas. The only thing I wonder is… is this really going to work?
The power of persona marketing
Persona marketing isn’t new. I’ve heard tales of TV characters who have penned actual, real books and sold them on the backs of their fictional, TV prestige. But the internet, and especially Facebook, has amplified the potential for personas.
You could try marketing a book by starting a Facebook Page about a fictional character or a Facebook Group about a fictional organization. On the off-chance that you’re an author who knows how to market on Facebook in the first place.
You could also elect to do what the author of taRNished, Willie Stewart, is trying to do: create a blog for your characters to express themselves. It’s a good idea. It’s a cool idea.
But is this going to work? Is this going to be worth it?
When artists become their own industries
A lot of artists who choose to use the Internet to claim their fame have had to become their own self-marketers. Authors who self-publish have had to figure out how to start marketing their own books to break through the noise. Because, in a virtual world of virtual noise, your only choice is to make your own noise.
Stewart is taking some big risks. More than that, he’s making a lot of work for himself.
That’s what I’m concerned about: at the end of the day, I think that there’s a serious chance that writers with these great marketing ideas could exhaust themselves in the act of promotion, for little to show for it.
The alternative, of course, is even worse: doing nothing to promote the book and selling no books.
Stewart will have to gauge the blog’s success not just by blog views, but by people that end up buying the book after it comes out.
First, he’ll have to start a blog that people want to read. That’s pretty hard in itself. He will also always have to find new content to write about, from the perspective of a serial killer.
Then, there are the technical entries. What if the killer dies at the end of the book? Will the blog serve as some kind of prequel diary? Will it keep going as the serial killer goes on a rampage that lasts for eight books? Or will it simply end its life as a promotional channel and start collecting dust?
The big challenge
Meanwhile, he’ll have to actually finish taRNished.
The fact is that if you want to self-publish a book, you have to do a whole lot more writing and creating than just write the book. You have to be prepared for the monumental task of marketing and prepare yourself for the very good chance that you won’t become a millionaire – or even a multi-thousandaire – for your efforts.
Becoming your own industry is tiring. That’s why agents and publishers exist. I worry sometimes that, as we reflect on the future of books, we forget that the oft-maligned “middleman” performs a very important role: helping writers focus their energies on books instead of marketing.