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Guts and Bolts: An Immodest Proposal

As you’ve probably noticed, this month we’re looking at non-fictional books quite a lot. This turned out to be a really spectacular Josh-1marketing opportunity because, in looking at non-fic books, I discovered that they are the Holy Grail of book marketing how-tos. Do you disbelieve me? Let me take you on a tour through Wonderland.

Sunrise on LagoonCovers Beautiful as a Blazing Sunrise…

…are for garish movie theater lobbies, not for important works of non-fiction.

This is so obvious I’m not sure how I missed it. The key to covers that will entice and entrance new readers is to have as little actual art as possible on them. Make them lovely, Corinthian faux-leather with the title stamped into it with the most conservative font available. Make the title as utilitarian as possible. Some might call this boring, but we call it solid and trustworthy. We don’t need to do flashy magic tricks to get people to look at our books. Those who want us, will find us. We are here, waiting patiently for our inevitable sales.

Promotional Copy to Stir the Heart and Soul…

…are for lesser works like fiction.

Similar to the cover, there’s no reason to try and hoodwink unsuspecting new readers into getting interested in our topics. We are not a speedboat dashing around demanding attention like a hyperactive five-year-old. We are a yacht, plodding along with dignity of a stately dame. Fascinating word choices or clever turns of phrase have no place here. We are an information sandwich, only mayo and white bread need apply.

Advertising? No. No, thank you.Carney

We are not carnival barkers bellowing disarming pitches at passing rubes in hopes they will step into our sideshow and ogle the freakish two-headed calf of our prose. We are a beautiful cathedral full of blessed frescoes and haunting, ethereal melodies. Oh, perhaps we’re tucked off the beaten path and maybe a frowning clergyman waves potential readers away from the delights within. But we will not resort to hucksterism. Merely building the beautiful edifice will, eventually, bring people to it.

My Proposal

Stop wasting your time on so-called “marketing.” True authors, important authors, create important works that speak for themselves. The people in the world who would find you interesting will discover you strictly through the gravitational pull of your work’s power and importance. Take to heart the non-lessons of non-fiction! Submit to non-marketing! Enjoy the legitimization that poverty and lack of sales gives to authors of importance.

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