‘The marketplace’ is an impersonal thing. That’s no accident, nor is it particularly desirable.
Our society has grown up around ‘the market’, but it’s healthy sometimes to step back and see what that means and what its pros and cons are. Money, as an invention, empowers human beings in many ways by freeing them from the interpersonal relationships needed to live and grow when commercial exchange was based on a simple bartering of goods and services with each other. Using this thing called ‘money’, individuals can step away from the communities into which they were born and where formerly they might have felt trapped or restricted, and move on to new places, doing new things. What’s gained is a tremendous amount of freedom; what’s lost is precisely those close relationships and necessities which can bring about meaning and worth to life. So we end up with a dispassionate and distanced society of disaffected and disconnected souls, striving to sell things to each other but never really getting to know one another.
All is not lost, though. It’s possible to break down the giant, faceless ‘marketplace’ into components with which we can have relationships.
As authors, instead of trying to sell our books to some kind of corporate monstrosity which we can never meet or understand, we can discover the creature within the labyrinth — the potential reader, who is much like us, and is actively looking for what we are offering. Isolating who might be our readers is the key to changing the nature of what we do as marketers: instead of ‘selling’, with all the negative imagery and emotions which that idea evokes, we can learn to share what we have with people who we know will love it.
Your book is like a character in a story. It has things about it which will endear it to readers. If you can draw in enough attention using marketing to pull the reader along, he or she will end up buying your book and becoming enthralled in the story inside it. In fact, you could say that your book has two stories: the internal one that you have laboured long over and are overjoyed to see in print, or in a form which others can access; and an external one, as it sets out on a quest to find its readers in the world at large.
You thought that your storytelling was done when you finished your manuscript: but the second story, the outside story, at that point had just begun.