A Marketing Handbook for Writers: Part Twelve - Shouting is Exhausting


From earlier articles, you’re probably starting to get the idea of concentrated incompleteness.

In my book How Stories Really Work I use the term ‘vacuum’ to describe this, as it has a mental and emotional pulling power like that of a real, physical vacuum.

Incompleteness on whatever level and in whatever field creates in us the need or tendency or desire to have completeness. You can immediately see a thousand examples in fiction, and, as I have said, incompleteness is largely the foundation of successful fiction.

But all of this also applies to marketing your books.

The ‘completeness’ you want from readers might at first seem to be that they buy your books. That’s what you’ve probably been striving for, and the failure to achieve that is probably your greatest frustration. But to aim for a sale only would be to miss the target.

The truly legitimate and authentic target for all authors is to produce fulfilment in readers.

The reader in question may be just you or a small group of similarly-minded people as in literary fiction, or it may be a much larger audience, as in commercial fiction. But the aim is the same: you want the reader to experience a sense of completion, of a hole filled, a want satisfied, a yearning fulfilled.

The aim of every marketing campaign must be fulfilment, not sales.

I’ve said that the purpose of marketing is to produce motion towards acquisition, but that acquisition doesn’t end with the physical book in the reader’s hands, it ends when the reader is satisfied at the end of the story.