Fifty thousand dollars. A historical fiction novelist told me that’s how much she spent on her own marketing.
“Who else should you bet on but yourself?” she said.
The bet could have paid off for her. I saw her books at the Fred Meyer checkout among the usual magazines, like People and US Weekly. If her books are there, she’s selling a lot of novels.
Even though you may not have that kind of money, sometimes you have to bet on yourself. Because who else should you bet on?
This is nothing new for novelists. Jane Austen bet on herself with her novel Sense and Sensibility.
Income was important to Austen. As I wrote in an earlier blog “Jane Austen’s Search for Money”, she continually had to think about finances. She was unmarried and her father was dead.
She paid a commission to a publisher for printing of Sense and Sensibility. The publisher would recover his costs and she would get any profits after the commission.
She would also pay for any losses. She thought her novel might be a failure, so she made a financial reserve to cover the losses. This from a woman whose dress allowance was a mere £20 a year.
Austen traveled to London to correct the proofs at the publisher’s office. Her sister wrote to ask her if she was enjoying the sights of the city.
“No indeed,” she replied. “I am never too busy to think of S&S [Sense and Sensibility]. I can no more forget it than a mother can forget her sucking child.”
Austen knew another secret: If you do bet on yourself, do everything you can to be sure the bet pays off.