In "7 Lessons in Self-Publishing I Learnt in the 7th Grade," Mainak Dhar takes the reader through a journey as to how to get a being's work out there, come hell or high water.
He opines about putting your best foot forward, making things visually appealing and using social media and kindle. But he skips the most relevant part, which is to pen something so relevant and piquant that it jumps off the page and hits the reader in the forehead as if a bull's-eye were painted there.
Mark Twain didn't use social media. Neither did any of the Bronte sisters or "Harry Potter" author, J.K. Rowling. Even though I am no fan of the series, I know the whole story about how she brought her baby to a café to keep warm while writing the first book. The initial publication was small because no one including Rowling expected it to take off like it did. The rest, being the stuff of which publishing and movie history is made, has made her one of the richest women in England. And it's not because she and her their publisher engaged marketing scheme per se, it's because she wrote something with enough mass appeal that success had no choice but to follow. The same for Twain and the Bronte sisters or anyone of that ilk. It was in the craftsmanship, not the marketing.
Dhar included links to his online books with pictures of the covers no less and his photo at the end, leading the reader to the way like road signs to a gala event. I clicked on the link "Vimana" and perused the opening lines.
West India 13000 BC
"The old hunter cursed his son for what would have been at least the tenth time that day. He needed help to carry back the deer he had killed and with the darkness soon to be upon them, he wanted to get back to the relative safety of their group before the Sun retired for the night."
Now, I am no fan of science fiction, but I did get through Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" in high school and still remember a certain passage that scared the bejeezus out of me. I got through the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last summer without depositing it in the library's return bin days early, but I know that it's going to be hard for me to get through something with phrases like "for what would have been at least the tenth time that day" without wondering why it wasn't at least like the eleventh time, dead caribou and retiring suns.
Dhar, however, was happy because after enough of this stuff, his book "Zombiestan" ranked near the top 1,000 on Amazon. Had that been me, I would have thrown my computer out the window and enrolled in a vocational training program.
Of course getting the word out is important and that's why we advertise, but in the end, there's no substitute for quality and never has been, never will be.