To Market, To Market


To market, to market to buy a fat pig;

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;

Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,

To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn’t been killed it must have died.1


Sometimes, writing is about keeping one’s hands too busy to clutch a tray of brownies, a bottle of absinthe, or some other self-harming material. At other times, writing is about creativity, as such, or, more specifically, about expressing ideas or articulating feelings. Still other times, writing is about attaining goals, that is, it is about getting a short piece or a book-length project published.


Assuming that most wordsmiths have entire picnic hampers’ full of notions about which they intend to write, and assuming that their dear ones encourage them to contribute, accordingly, to contemporary literature, it’s not material or motivation that separates published writers from aspirants or that delineates “making a name for one’s self.” It’s not opportunity, per se, either, that rubrics writers as “successful” or not. Too many presses, agents, and contests embrace all manner of scribblers (especially if there is a profit to be made from entry fees- yes, I’m cynical). Rather, in the publishing world, retailing prowess splits “accomplishment,” “recognition,” and “profit,” from “cursed with unfavorable outcomes.”

As Megan Morrison shares, straight-out, in “Book Marketing Basics: Advice for Authors,” pushing, on the part of wordies, is the key to selling books.2 Analogously, weigh that Bill Gates’ goods often trumped those of Steven Jobs for the singular reason that Gates, not Jobs, was more interested in responding to the market than in building the most parsimonious or otherwise most outstanding technology. Ponder, too, the heaps of “beach reads” novelists, who enjoy fairly stable incomes, in spite of plots, which time and again are tosh, and in spite of characters that are reliably two-dimensional. 

When conceptualizing major oeuvres, irrespective of what drives them, initiators are well served to remember that small houses issue, on average, tens of titles per year, and that major houses issue, on average, hundreds of titles per year. Add to those sums compositions that enter the souk via self-publishing or via hybrid publishing routes, and it becomes clear, even to the uninitiated,  that something has to be done to set apart one’s merchandise from others’ offerings. Basically, getting a creation in print does not constitute a wrap-up. On the contrary, publication is a prelude to further activity. 

The above verity leaves countless inexperienced writers gawking at the nothingness found in  early morning and twilight skies; they‘d long believed that getting a book to contract, let alone distributed, meant that they’d finally “arrived.” It’s inconceivable to scores of them that presses, large and small, expect their authors to carry the brunt of responsibility for promoting their stuffs. 

It’s equally mind-blowing to many newbies that no matter the commercial achievement of their writing, their publishers might subtract, from royalties, some or all of the costs that they incur selling such masterpieces. In any case, contracts ought always to be carefully reviewed. Moreso, expectations ought to always be clearly established as to who is pushing books and as to who is paying for that publicity. 

Folks with industry experience comprehend that gaping, unabashedly, or otherwise, during dusk and dawn, at the trails left by broadcasting’s gatekeepers, is both expensive and unconstructive. Whereas people of letters can usually fashion alternate realities, as a whole, they have little sway over the here and now. Faring well as an author means taking action as a professional who will prop up his or her work. Writers are obliged to build platforms, i.e. visibility, and to use oodles of other channels to stage their wares to be effective. 

In the least, authors must employ the same strategies to sell their books to readers that they employed to pitch them to publishers. Namely, authors must set aside: multiple synopses of and excerpts from their opuses3   as well as must set aside lists of prior publications and interesting sound bites. These data can then be used, on an as need basis, for interviews, blurbs, and more.

Furthermore, efficacious authors acclimatize their fans to preordering their titles. Those preprint sales, in turn, aid in juicing writers and their publishers in formulating further promotional efforts.

Of course, the aforementioned modes of managing profile-raising are challenging for introverted persons. Often, writers are introverted. Writing is regarded as a cerebral activity that is regularly performed in quiet, isolated places. Contrariwise, promotion is regarded as the province of socially confident creators and as a pursuit carried out in noisy, public venues. Think of poetry readings. Mull over book signings.

Nevertheless, some fabricators, who are reclusive in nature, anyway find instruments for talking about themselves and about their goings-on, and find instruments for doing so for sundry audiences. What’s more, in the past, as in the present, a per cent of scribes neither generated in silence nor toiled in inaccessible locations. They parties wrote poetry while cooking, diapering, and mopping, or penned plays in loud coffee shops. Noise cancelling earbuds and headphones didn’t exist, were unattainable, or were undesirable. Notwithstanding those limits, they completed writing projects. 

Beyond categorically dovetailing author data to their audiences, adjusting vending tactics to prevalent whims, and making themselves accessible to their readers, ink slingers can increase their sales by increasing their sales. More explicitly, this tautology functions because current books publications amass future book sales. Whereas writing fourteen books calls for actualizing fourteen distinct advertising endeavors, trafficking those books helps to ensure the sales of a fifteenth one. Each title helps sell subsequent titles since each title helps to forward author awareness. Granted, sometimes, a subsequent title becomes nothing more and nothing less than an additional elephant upon which to chew.4 Overall, however, the more popular a writer is, the more popular that he or she will be. 

The process of writing (the stages, not the technology), has not changed significantly over centuries. The process of vetting books, though, has radically transformed. Authors no longer write and then let their publishers sell. They no long sell just their books, either. In this day and age, authors sell their personae along with their words. 


1. John Florio. A Worlde of Wordes. 1598.


2.     2.  Megan Morrison. “Book Marketing Basics: Advice for Authors.” 20 Nov. 2015. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2018.


3.     3. Carolyn Howard-Johnson. “Use Book Excerpts to Promote Your Book.” Book Baby Blog. Retrieved 30 May. 2018.

4.  I am referring to the idiom, “eat an elephant one bite at a time,” which means to realize ungainly projects via a series of steps.