“It’s a truth,” writes publisher and marketer Neil Raphel, “but it doesn’t have to be a sad truth. Marketing can be fun, if you approach it with the right attitude. After all, if you’re an author, you want to share your work with as wide an audience as possible. By doing promotion and marketing, you’re not selling out. [You’re giving] your book a chance to be read.”

Writing fiction for publication has always been a demanding occupation, of course, but nowadays, with the decline of newspapers (and book-reviewing) and with the demise of so many independent bookstores, it’s more difficult than it ever was.   For a new novel to gain traction in a crowded, fast-moving market, today its author is obliged to offer himself as an online presence, a personality, an entertaining purveyor of thought and opinion.

Curious would-be readers have an interest in more than an author’s fiction alone.  And, in fact, there is always a lot more to be said about fiction writing in general and about a certain novel in particular that may serve to intrigue book lovers.  Writers are usually happy to discuss a story’s themes, settings, plot devices, character development, and so on in response to readers’ questions, but, until only recently, occasions for such discussions have been few.  The Internet has changed everything.