Upcoming Phoenicia author Marly Youmans, (Thaliad) who already has a number of notable books to her name, has an interest in marketing in the brave new online world. On her blog, she's recently published a "conversation" with marketing guru Seth Godin, in which she quote some of his pronouncements and comments on them. Here's a sample, but please go read the whole thing!
SETH: I think it’s a fading of the power of a published book to influence the conversation. When anyone can publish an ebook, anyone will.
MARLY: Nevertheless, Seth, I still believe that there a secret world tucked inside our big, fat, hyper-materialist, and often-tasteless world--a world of people who care about beauty and rightness and all the golden things handed down to us by the Gawain poet and Shakespeare and Herbert and Austen and Dickinson and Dickens and more. And maybe that hidden world is enough to sustain a lot of us who are seeking to make something worthy."
SETH: An author starting out today needs to pick herself, establish a niche, become truly the best at it and relentlessly and generously give it all away as a way of leading and making a ruckus.
MARLY: ... Seth, I find that writing the strong, beautiful book I always dream of writing and that having a position of humility before the great masters of the past is more to me than having a niche and so gaining numbers. I like “increasing readership”: yes, I do. But I love the tradition and the burning image of the strong, beautiful book more. And if I must choose, I choose the image and the masters.
...Give me "a great book" over making "a great living." I have that choice, and I choose. The attempt to write true books is labor and play in the vale of soul-making.
The conversation ends with a critical question:
MARLY: How will we know when books are great, Seth? Tell me that? When everybody has an e-book, and Babel is a nest of clamor, how will we find those voices?
One answer to that is "right here." Thanks for this thoughtful look at marketing and writing today, Marly.