Barnes & Noble's self e-publishing service, PubIt!, linked to a very interesting blog post the other day: The No. 1 Overlooked Skill for Every Author. The blogger makes the argument — and a very strong one, I think — that authors need to also be good at promoting themselves in order to be successful.
The most common place where a background in copywriting is helpful is with writing queries, of course, but there are other areas, too. Writers typically need to do a lot of marketing and self-promotion (websites, blogs, etc.) in order to sell books, find work, etc. In addition, self-published authors need to be able to write effective promotional materials — book blurbs, press releases, blog posts, websites, etc. — since they don't have a publisher to handle some or all of those things.
I couldn't agree more. I think there are a lot of self-published authors and authors published by small presses that really suffer because they don't know how to promote themselves effectively. A friend of mine has gotten two books published and is working on the third, but he'll be the first to tell you he doesn't do enough promotion. From what I've seen, I think this is pretty common.
It's one thing that I think will work in my favor if — or should I just say when — I publish something. Online promotion, especially written materials, are my background, so I feel pretty confident about my ability to do a good job of promoting my work.
I don't know if any novelists follow my blog, but if any do, I'd love to have you weigh in: How do you promote your work?