Book promotion is a strange and thankless job online, and one writer shared some frank thoughts about this new work.
Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was novelist and scriptwriter Larry Doyle. Doyle (that’s his Facebook picture) introduced his new novel, Go, Mutants!–talking about his book trailer campaign, screenwriting, and gave some online promotion advice for writers.
Doyle had wondered about the usefulness of online promotion: “I can’t tell if it is translating into sales or not. I do know that on my last book, I Love You, Beth Cooper, it was MySpace. We were supposed to be all over that. I invited literally thousands of people to readings–and I do mean thousands. Of that, I only detected two people. One of them came up to me after the reading and said she’d love to buy the book but she was too poor. So I ended up buying the book for her. So that’s a net loss on my Internet marketing.”
He added: “The trick now is everybody is throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. I don’t even know that any of this works. But you do it anyway–to the point where, I saw Roger Ebert in an airport lobby and I went up and gave him a copy of the book. Why not?”
Doyle had some sobering advice for aspiring writers looking to transition to screenwriting: “You’re a fool. I think people think writing a script is like a lottery ticket and there’s some giant payoff. The truth of the matter is, right now especially, the total money market for writers in Hollywood has been cut more than in half.
He concluded: “That’s not me just saying that, it’s a study that the Writers’ Guild did. After that pointless strike we had, they cut way down on the number of scripts they were buying and they cut way down on what they were paying each individual writer per script. So it’s much less of a gold rush than it used to be. And, they’re not buying original scripts hardly at all. I haven’t seen a script they’ve bought from an unknown in the longest time.”