I Am the Tortoise

by Catherine Boivin


Here’s a pickle for you: I’m an author who doesn’t like marketing.

Yes, laugh all you want; I thought it was pretty funny, too. Here’s a girl who’s written a novel (supposedly with the intention of having it read), but who cringes every time she has to self-promote. It’s the introvert in me, it’s my dislike for manipulation, my distrust for profit-driven activity, my annoyance with constant demands for my attention, my income, and my time. I truly dislike 90% of marketing out there.

Like I’ve said to my beloved Mr. Houdini, “as long as one person reads my book and loves it, I feel I’ve done my job.” And that, folks, would possibly get me the award for most ridiculous sound bite ever at a marketing conference.

“How,” I’d be asked, “will you ever sell more books to more people with an idea like that?”

And they’d be right: I might not sell more books to more people. But writers write for different reasons; some want big sales and big audiences, and others, like me, write because we love to write, and because we love to read.

As a reader I know full well the joy of finding a new book that takes me to a new world, so as a writer, part of my joy is knowing that I might bring that same excitement to another person.

My goal is to get my book in the hands of the right person, the person who’s going to love it, be inspired by it, and maybe even share it with people she loves.

I want to create something that will be cherished, and I want to build relationships with those who will cherish it. So you see? If I’m honest with my goals as a writer, I can’t avoid marketing altogether.

Quality product and relationship-building: I might not have a degree in marketing, but colour me surprised if those aren’t two of marketing’s keystones. If I want to share my joy, then I need to get that book off the virtual shelves of Amazon and into the hands of readers who’ll love it.

Back we go to my pickle: how to market for the marketing-averse?

That’s when I piped up to my beloved again: “What I want is an organic form of marketing, like organic food. Natural, real, desirable. Marketing that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years, but you end up with something honest and appealing.”

“Kinda like slow food?” he asked. “Only it’d be slow marketing.”


Slow marketing. One Google search later, and I found like-minded business people.

You want to know what slow marketing is? The manifesto on this site says it all, as does their nifty tortoise diagram.

It’s my new mantra: this is the type of writer and publisher I want to be!

My craft and my individual readers are the only two things that matter to me; focus on those, and time will bring the only success that truly matters: happiness.

photo credit: Julie Jordan Scott

About the Author: Catherine Boivin is a Canadian author of young adult fiction who loves to know her readers. Drop by her website and say “Hello!” at www.catherineboivin.ca

  • http://melaniekissell.com/blog Melanie Kissell

    You might be the tortoise, Catherine. But if you recall the story, it was the tortoise who won the race. :)

  • Facing Cancer Together

    I realized last evening at a writer’s event that the “success” of publishing a novel (in many people’s minds, whether writer or reader) is in the amount of sales made. Publish to be sold – conviently forgetting Publish for pleasure. Strange ways, eh? We write for pleasure, why not publish for the same? ~Catherine