If you ever want to see time stand still, say the word “marketing” in a group of writers. It’s like someone started a game of “Red Light, Green Light” and forgot to yell “Green light!” after everyone stopped moving. And yes, plenty of the frozen writers do look like they want to flee the room. The rest look like they want to vomit.
There really is no need for a bucket or to run and hide somewhere. Marketing will not turn you into the ShamWow guy, or a used car salesman. But it will help you sell books, and that, last time I checked, was the point of publishing.
Here are three, basic, weep-resistant rules to remember about marketing for both traditionally and self-published authors:
The most important part of marketing isn’t your Twitter account, it’s having a well-written book.
Taking the time to write and revise (and design if you are self-publishing) your book is the single best thing you can do for yourself. If you have a quality product (Rule 1a: once you publish your book it stops being your baby and starts being your business), and get it into a few well-placed hands, word-of-mouth can do amazing things. Do the work. It makes a difference.
Marketing is just another form of communication.
You communicate in one form or another every day. You talk to your family, neighbors, co-workers, Tumblr friends, and your dog regularly. Marketing is communicating about one specific thing (your book) in whatever way you want. Semaphore your thing? Grab your flags and let ‘em fly. There are infinite ways to get a message to someone. The trick is knowing which someone you want to get that message to and where you can find them. Once you figure that out, communication becomes more of a collaboration, which is far less lonely and lightens your marketing load. Don’t think of it as marketing, think of it as talking about your favorite thing—your book—with friends.
Social media is not all there is to modern marketing.
In fact, using social media as your only way to communicate with your readers is a bad idea. Sure, having a Facebook group dedicated to your books can help, but thanks to Facebook’s policies, good luck getting all your members to see your announcements as soon as you post them. Same with Twitter, Instagram, and many of the other popular social media apps. You have no control over how your audience engages with you, and that’s going to cause you problems and sales in the long run. There’s no need to feel obligated to use social media if you don’t like it or don’t use it. There are plenty of other ways to reach out to your readers (which we will talk about in later posts).
Feel better yet? Marketing doesn’t have to be The Worst Thing Ever™. It’s just communication. All you need to do is figure out which style of communication you prefer, how to use it to talk to your audience, and have at it. But first, go write that beautiful story that’s been wanting to get out of your head. We can’t wait to hear about it.
In the comments below, tell me what your biggest fears are about marketing your book and how you can think of them differently. If you need help coming up with a marketing plan that works for you, contact me today!