Miami Splice: Medals & Marketing

Though it was not featured at any booth, the formula for success for self-published authors was hiding in plain sight last weekend at the Miami Book Fair.

Oh, it was easy to miss. The streets were packed with visitors sifting through novels new and old, nibbling roasted corn on the cob, and redirecting their kids’ attention from hand-held video games to colorful tents with serious books. Life-sized cartoon mascots turned aisles into obstacle courses. Music blared and skin turned from pink to red under the strong south Florida sun.

Delicioso fair food kept crowds from going hungry.

Off to one side, though, was an aisle marked Writer’s Row. It was there that self-published authors could have rediscovered a secret they probably already know. That is, there are no shortcuts in this game. Writing the book is only the first lap of the marathon. Nothing happens until you rewire your brain and switch from creative writing to creative marketing.

It is hard work, particularly for anyone who believes the work should speak for itself. Of course it should, but there are lots of loud voices out there, and it’s easy to get drowned out without a messaging arsenal that includes social media and plenty of personal appearances.

Six or so miles away from the fair, however, a little awards ceremony was underway that honored the actual writing portion of the marathon. Readers Favorite CEO Debra Gaynor was telling authors “what you do is important. What you do touches someone’s life in some way.”

It was nice to hear. Important to hear. A bottle of cold water at lap 13. And a much-needed pat on the back before resuming the race.

Debra Gaynor, Readers Favorite CEO

So thanks, Debra, for the drink, the medal and for hustling back to the fair and manning the booth that featured this year’s winning books. The most important lessons are the ones taught by example.

What lessons have the rest of you self-publishers learned lately?

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8 Comments so far »

  1. Debra Gaynor said,

    Wrote on November 21, 2012 @ 1:14 am

    Thank you Steve, I’m touched by your comments. I can hardly wait until next year.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    It was a great event, Debra. I’m still amazed the awards ceremony drew authors from as far away as England and Australia! As for next year, lots of work to be done between now and then!


  2. Brenda Ballard said,

    Wrote on November 21, 2012 @ 2:42 am

    To start saving alot earlier so I can attend next year!!

    Congratulations to all the winners!


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Short and on the money, Brenda. Thanks for dropping by, and I echo your congrats to the winners.


  3. Stuart Aken (@stuartaken) said,

    Wrote on November 22, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    Marketing: an alien world for most creative people, requiring different skills and attitudes. Would that publishers would return to their role in this one.


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    You’ve packed a lot into those two sentences, Stuart. My take is a little different. We know that technology has made it possible for writers to appeal to readers with no traditional agents or publishers in between. That’s great, but if an author chooses to be a self-publisher, the job also requires figuring out how to reach readers in a very cluttered market. I think it’s possible – as well as beneficial and a bit stimulating – to make a temporary switch from creative writing to creative marketing. Would love to hear others’ thoughts…


  4. Dixie Goode said,

    Wrote on November 29, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I tagged you here, in the hope that you would be willing to answer some questions about your next book? Hope you don’t mind. I started Bootlicker last night after finishing my NaNoWriMo commitment and as always, I love your writing.

    Dixie Goode


    Steve Piacente Reply:

    Absolutely, Dixie! Please shoot me a note whenever you’re ready to get started. ( Thanks for the opportunity and kind words.


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