For the last few weeks I have been contemplating how to market my works. Of course, I wander through the local bookstore studying how each book markets itself, Also, I analyze everything else I see on line and in person for patterns. I think back on the famous authors of the past and wonder how they achieved their renown: how were they marketed and how has their fame spread since.
It occurs to me that readers are as fascinated by the lives of their favorite authors as they are by the characters in their novels. My favorite author is Hemingway. Hemingway’s life fascinates me at least as much as that of any of characters. His life probably fascinates me more than that of any of his characters, because there is more to learn about it. Frederic Henry (For Whom the Bell Tolls) is interesting, but his life has none of the detail that his author’s does. Henry is shallow by comparison. None of the characters of any of Poe’s works have the same depth and complexity of his own life. When authors of biographies market their works, they have to show how fascinating their subjects are just as novelists have to convince their readers of how fascinating their characters are.
Therefore, I am beginning to believe that to sell my works, I need to sell myself, my story, just the same as I would that of any of my characters. If my readers find my characters interesting, they will naturally want to find out more about me. This is not blatant egotism; it’s simple fact. Readers are as fascinated by the lives of their favorite authors just the same as they are fascinated by the lives of the characters of those authors. Instead of writing the same standard bio notes for readers on my website and elsewhere, I will start writing those bio notes the same as I would the bio of a character: bringing out my own flaws, contradictions, ironies of my life, and so on to demonstrate how complex I really and hopefully attract readers who find my life so compelling that they have to investigate the characters I write. Writing a autobiographical note, then, becomes another chance to show how well I can write and to give potential readers another sample of my work.