The Vandal blogIt’s a horrid thing to say but authors are having to become their own sales and marketing department these days. I’m not just talking about independent authors here as even those represented by agents and publishers, big and small, are out there now doing their impression of a good old fashioned ‘Snake Oil Salesman’. (Yes and saleswomen too, but I didn’t want to associate women and Snake Oil.)

It’s only now the very few elite and established bestselling authors that can devote themselves entirely to writing and not have huge amounts of their time allocated each day to the ‘get your hands dirty’ flogging of their books.

I know in my case, I now spend more time promoting my books than I ever do writing them. From social media interaction, blogs, reviews, emails, articles, website updates through to advertising and publicity, monitoring promotional campaigns and basically just getting my name out there. This is not to mention keeping track of the various outlets for my books and ensuring that any mentions and reviews are responded to in a timely manner.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy most of the tasks I have to do each day. But not as much as writing. Perhaps I should employ Tom Waits to do the Snake Oil on my books for me. So go on, step right up!

Step Right Up
By Tom Waits

Step right up, step right up, step right up,
Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
That’s right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
You need perfume? we got perfume, how ’bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar
We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
They come in all colours, one size fits all
No muss, no fuss, no spills, you’re tired of kitchen drudgery
Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
Going out of business sale
Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
Don’t settle for less
How do we do it? how do we do it? volume, volume, turn up the volume
Now you’ve heard it advertised, don’t hesitate
Don’t be caught with your drawers down,
Don’t be caught with your drawers down
You can step right up, step right up

Complete lyrics here.


Books By Derek Haines
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Today’s Author – The Snake Oil Salesman
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3 thoughts on “Today’s Author – The Snake Oil Salesman

  • 27/06/2011 at 4:22 pm

    This is so true and selling a book about how you sell your books is getting to be a sure thing. Unfortunately, I'm a writer because my interpersonal skills are shall we say, limited?

    If I'd wanted to be a salesman, I would have been one.

  • 27/06/2011 at 5:36 pm

    "I'm a writer because my interpersonal skills are shall we say, limited? If I'd wanted to be a salesman, I would have been one."

    Willie you hit the nail on the head on both counts. Our time should be taken up working on our next project, not having to do all the work that a publisher should be doing. :)

  • 28/06/2011 at 2:32 pm

    Perhaps you need a Virtual Manager gentlemen. I think you just gave me an idea….

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