One of the hardest parts of writing (for anyone besides yourself and maybe your mom) is promotion. I don’t care who you are, or what kind of writer you are, eventually, no matter how much of a tortured artistic recluse you are, you will meet that brick wall known as Promotion. Abruptly, and at high speeds, and more suddenly than you’d think.
The things we believe of writers are many, varied, and highly fictitious, even when we are writers. The number of writers who live the life of Richard Castle can be counted on one, maybe two hands. They are amazing because they are outside the norm. In reality, most of us, even the brilliant ones with the wonderful stories that change lives, will never see either that kind of money or that kind of fame. Incredible fame and incredible wealth are incredible because they are so rare. This isn’t to say that we can’t be making a decent living off our writing…just that we, like 99.9% of the rest of the world, won’t be in the top .1%.
So why, then, do we as writers, cast our net of promotional efforts as far and wide as the reaches of only the most luminary (and luckiest) among us? The majority of writers don’t make more money than God. They don’t have more fans than God, either. Most writers are simply more persistent than the industry is cruel (and good Gods, can it be cruel sometimes). We stick around, whether you want us to, or not. But where we burn out is in pursuing those who do not wish to be pursued by us.
No single author is going to appeal to everybody who reads, and we waste our time in pursuing promotional efforts aimed towards readers who are Just Not That Into Us. It can really drain your soul to create an online presence that is so widely focused that it is inoffensive (not a totally bad thing), but at the same time uninteresting (a very bad thing).
The hard truth is that while you’d like everyone to read your book, you don’t want everyone to read your book. You care about the people you know would love your book. The people you are writing for (and one of them is you–how many of us got into writing because nobody was writing exactly what we wanted to read) who are looking for the kind of stories you write. No, you will not find them all the first time out, or even the second, fifth, or ninth. But you don’t have to cast the net and attempt to pull in the entire population. Bait your promo hooks with the kind of bait to appeal to the people who want to be caught by your type of hook.