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Guest Post: Marketing a Novel by Noel Farrell

I met Noel through an email that he sent me about possibly writing a Guest Post for Reads, Reviews, Recommends. He's blazing his own trail when it comes to marketing his novel, which I'm sure all of us will do at some point in our writing careers. So, I was intrigued, to say the least, and allowed him to hijack my blog for your reading, and hopefully, learning pleasure.

Here's a little something about Noel:

Noel Farrell is a writer and filmmaker living in Ireland. He has recently published his first novel, Booker's World, having decided early into his rejection pile that writers serve their work better by utilising the world of self publishing and building a platform for themselves that wasn't available five years ago. Here Noel writes about the book and how he intends to market it over the Internet in the coming six months.

So, without further interruptions to our regular programming, I present to you:

Marketing a Novel
by Noel Farrell
I'd made submissions before I began writing my novel, but mainly for my screenwriting work. It's frustrating spending many months on a screenplay only to have it rejected or indeed in many cases, not even acknowledged at all. I lost my job in the Summer of 2008, and it was then I decided to write a book. I'd looked into the growing possibilities in the self-publishing world and felt it was the best route open to me at the time.

The novel, a coming of age tale about a man who journals his way through the suicide of his best friend against the backdrop of the Irish recession took 10 months to write. After about a dozen submissions, I received six rejections and one offer from a small press. Having given it some thought, I decided to proceed myself as it meant retaining the rights. Over the next 4 months the novel went under a series of proof and copy-edits and was made ready for the printer.

I wanted to do a print run first to see all the hard work in a physical copy. I sourced a printer in Dublin and agreed a price with him for a short run. I eventually launched the book locally last month and made it available via my blog. The reaction so far has been positive. The fact that the character was born in a recession and the novel tackles themes like suicide and addiction which are both ravaging Ireland at the moment made the book both relevant and current.

I have written a blog under the character name since I began writing Booker's World. I always felt that as a writer who may have to self-publish I needed to interact with my readers. My advice for any new writer going it alone is to write a blog and keep it updated regularly. It's a personal interaction between a writer and their readers. I've made good friends along the way and it's nice to know that the book is now on four different continents now. I think writers like that kind of thing.

I'm holding off on the ebook version until the middle of the Summer. Without a mainstream publisher, digital publishing offers opportunity to writers that print simply can't offer. The market is huge, but competition is fierce. Writers need to find new ways of promoting and marketing.

I wrote a short novella last year and made it available as a free download on-line. It's 12,000 words long and is again a recessionary tale about a man who attempts a career in motivational circles via an on-line guru. I then decided to combine my book and novella by meeting up both books protagonists and created a web series.

Basically we have two guys who's lives have not quite turned out as they would have wished, but who are determined to plot a way forward together while making their own statement on the Ireland of today. A lot of the characters from both books appear in the web series and we shoot in early June. I've managed to attract some top talent to the project. I've built up a blog following and a Facebook following so I'm hoping the series will have a positive impact when it comes to pushing ahead with the ebook. I find readers come back for more because you can involve them. They know all that is happening with the writer and they have something to look forward to, be it through the blog, free downloads and the upcoming web-series which brings a visual element to everything.

It's an exciting time for writers. The ball is slowly coming back into their court. Readers don't want to be constantly plagued by offers to read your work. In my case, the personal interaction with readers is what counts. They come to know you and your work and it's an old cliche, but word of mouth has always been the best form of advertisement. Every writer would like a team around them, whether it be an agent, a publisher of indeed a great editor. That would free us up to do more of what we love, which is writing. Until those things fall into place the writer is responsible for everything. If writers believe in their work through thick and thin, they will get there. How fast? Well that depends on the lengths you are prepared to go. Creating the web series is a bonus for me due to my interest in film-making. It's a new angle, but with digital technology now open to everyone, don't be surprised if it becomes more popular in the years ahead as the Internet continues to impact more on our daily lives.

If you have any questions for Noel, please make sure to ask them in the comments section. He would be happy to answer them for you. Happy interacting!

8 comments:

  1. Noel - I'm grateful for your words because you have given me an idea to promote According to Luke. Your post seems to suggest indefatigable work and persistence, which are two things I have plenty of... plus having written a thrilling puzzle novel.

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  2. Noel,
    Best of luck with your series. How did you go about building a following for your blog?
    Donna
    www.donnabutler.com

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  3. Interesting blog. Self-publishing and e-books are the way forward.

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  4. It's so true, build that following and offer them something no one else has. I'm planning to have interactive book clubs on my site and other asides and teasers available only to those who have read the book. It's an exciting time in the industry and we all have to be forward thinking to keep up. Thanks for the great post.

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  5. I'm so glad you posted this. Having the ball in the writers' court for a change is quite a boon for us. I've published two books through the traditional channel, but am researching the e-book route, so appreciated what you wrote here. Thanks.

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  6. Hi Rosanne,
    I'm glad something in the article sparked an idea. I've looked extensively into the world of publishing over the past year and its a sin to see celebrity occupying shelves in bookstores with books ghostwritten for them. The big publishers are business orientated, and they have to be but on the other hand i would never take seriously any dismiss from them when their bottom line is money and made off the backs of names. It's a little like a film. To do anything at all, it has to have a 'face' attached. But things will change. The most important this for writers is to take the opportunities available to them, build up relationships with writers and maybe even get business involved somewhat in what you are doing. It's a changing world.

    Hey Donna,
    From Day 1 of writing the book i set up a blog under the character name Don Booker. I began writing posts on the blog, relevant to the type of book i wanted to write. it took about 6 weeks to know exactly where I was going with it. It was more a pro-active approach top prep, one that allowed me to write every single day and that is important for writers. I started a FB page and began requesting friends, but mainly concentrated on writing groups on Facebook. It seemed the way to go. Building up a following was slow at first but soon people like something you say and post it to their pages and it builds from there. I also offer writers an outlet to speak about writing and their work in the Authors in the Zone category. Not only is it good for the individual writer but it teaches me and others how others go about their work and the business end of things. I also use Networked Blogs to attract readership. In 16 months it hasn't done to bad, considering there was no product until just a few weeks agp.

    Thanks Fenella for the comment. there is nothing stopping writers any longer except the writer themselves. Be true to yourself and your writing by delivering the best you possibly can and who knows what the future holds for any of us.

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  7. 'Dumbing down the masses' has been a long term ploy in the big bad world of business. That's why models like Jordan, who couldn't string a word or two together, have ghostwriters and they make money from the name.
    I'm not against money by any means but when a writer does interact with their readers then the reader knows who and what stands behind the product. It's a lot of hard work, but then again so is any job, so best to put that effort into something you love doing as opposed to something you have to do in order to meet the bills.

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  8. Great post. The small press vs self-publishing debate is certainly an interesting one. I will have to check out Booker's World. I was named after the protagonist in an old depressing Irish tale, so why not read another?

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