Oh, I bet I could get myself into a lot of hot water for this kind of headline–from fans and the show’s detractors alike–but I can’t help it! This paradigm shift of an HBO show (based, rather loosely at times, on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling book series) changed the way we watch television … for better or worse. It ramped up the intensity of on-screen cruelties, particularly against women but sparing no one in the end, and has sparked some of the most interesting conversations about human nature and power that I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening in on–and yes, it has spawned its own raft of political memes during the current American presidential election season.
Game of Thrones isn’t the only pop culture machine to be churning out this kind of material … but it’s the show that everyone seems to be watching. Or have an opinion about, as it were. (A very very strong opinion, at that.) So why do I love it–and what could Game of Thrones possibly offer a self-publishing author in respect to marketing acumen?
It’s all about consequences.
The similarities just about end there, but that’s plenty of food for thought. Just about every five minutes, some character of other in the Game of Thrones universe makes a decision along the lines of:
Cersei Lannister (above) often serves as the show’s mouthpiece for raw human instinct: strive, dominate, circle the wagons, protect family, etc etc. But the best part about her character’s storyline, and the narrative arc of the television series as a whole, is in the nature of action and consequence. There’s no escaping the laws of physics: what goes up must come down, that sort of thing. It might only take fifteen minutes of screen time for these actions-and-consequences scenarios to play out … but sometimes it takes five, or six, seasons to unwind the implications and effects of a decision some character made years back … and that George R.R. Martin probably made to write into the story over a decade ago
Which is … kind of like life.
And is kind of like … marketing!
Here’s the self-publishing parallel: it’s vitally important to consider how you plan on marketing your book, even before publication. (Actions have consequences!) You have an opportunity prior to publication to make decisions that can either help or hurt your marketing efforts after publication … sometimes long after. And I guarantee you don’t want to be sitting in a room somewhere (in front of a roaring fire, with perfectly styled hair, and a mug of honeyed mead or whatever they drink in Pseudomedieval England With Bonus Dragons) thinking:
Which isn’t to say you should constantly battle to outpace regret. There’s no such thing as a mistake-free life, just as there’s no such thing as a healthy parent-child dynamic in the Game of Thrones universe! But you’re not a character in a niche television drama. You’re an author, dangnabbit! You’re not blind to the benefits of foresight … and you’re not trapped in the midst of a story you have no control over. Every decision you make, from start to finish, drafting to publication, will have long-term consequences. You can predict these consequences by being the most informed, educated, and responsible author you can be. In a world of traditional publishing, this conversation wouldn’t be possible. But in the world of indie, hybrid, and self publishing–it is. You are in control of your book’s long-term success! And …
You are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|