Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July ISWG: Marketing You and Your Book



Time to take a short break from marketing to do this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group post. 

IWSG July Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Just one lesson? Oh my. Well, I'm going to dig into this particular month's lesson because that's the one freshest in my head. 

You can pour yourself into writing the best book you can write, edit your heart out, subject your carefully chosen words to the eyes and opinions of others, spend a good deal of time formatting your work and picking the perfect cover, agonize over what you want to say on the back cover and swallow your heart as you click that publish button, but that's not the end of the journey. It's merely the end of the writing part. 

Now you're in marketing land. It's a strange and formidable place for dwellers of writing caves. A land in which we must seek out others for reviews and interviews, write guest blog posts, join facebook groups to promote our newly published book, go to events and talk to readers. All of which has little to do with that thing we set out to do, that thing we're comfortable doing, sitting in our happy place, creating worlds and playing with the lives our characters. 

Marketing means promoting yourself and your book. It's having to be social without a keyboard. In person. Where stupid things can flow out of your month unedited. Sitting on panels, doing readings, and offering advice to others like we know what we're doing.

It can cost money and there's no guarantee you're going to get a good return on it: Bookmarks, business cards, banners, book giveaways, websites, domain names, nifty little give away items to entice people to approach you, travel costs to events, table fees, paying to enter contests or get reviews from notable sources.

Time seems to vanish just as quickly as it does when you're lost in an awesome plot twist while you hunt down current and active Facebook pages and groups, blogs, and websites on which to promote your book. While you write promotional blog posts and answer interview questions. Hours slip by as you research events, contemplate travel plans, and connect with other authors about sharing expenses or their experiences with particular events. Entire days are swallowed at events where you may meet some wonderful readers and sell a handful or two of books or...you sit there with a smile pasted on your face, wishing someone would make eye contact with you or your books and you sell nothing. 

Marketing is that awkward place where you try to figure out ways to advertise your event appearances and book promotions without spamming your friends and groups you belong to every other day. It's asking without trying to sound like begging everyone you know who has read your book to write a review. It's endlessly trying to explain how reviews work with the magical Amazon promotion machine and how they can be as simple as "I really liked this book." and still be helpful.  

And somewhere in all this, you have to find a place where you can make peace with the book you've released out into the world for better or worse and start settling into writing the next one.

And so it begins again. 

Do you balance marketing with writing or only have time for one or the other? How long do you devote yourself to promotion before giving your attention to the next book?

19 comments:

  1. Hi Jean - it's the whole package isn't it ... and working out what works - but keep writing ... keep cheerful as you do whatever you can ... cheers Hilary

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  2. I know when the time comes I'm going to have to market my book. It's another something I'm getting anxiety over and I' not even there yet!

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    1. It's a whole new thing, but you can choose to do what you're comfortable with and ease yourself into the rest.

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  3. Marketing is the hardest part of the industry IMO. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. It sure is. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Marketing... Yes. I laugh when people are stuck in the book writing part of the journey and haven't yet realized it's only a portion of journey. Whew! It's a big, beautiful, diverse world of options, eh?

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    1. There are a lot of ways to go about it. I toyed with some pay ads this time around. Not great results for the money.

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  5. Marketing is still very unknown for me. I didn't do a whole lot for my first book. A Goodreads giveaway and a blog tour. That was it. I didn't, and still don't know a whole lot about it, but it is a topic I'm going to dive into again soon. Someone throw me a life preserver so I don't drown.

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    1. That's what I did for my first two books. Figured I would attempt to step up my game for the third since I have a fourth on the horizon.

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  6. Hahahahahahaha...

    I suck at marketing. After I have another book or two available I'll put some more effort into it, at this point I don't see the point to spending the time or money when there aren't really any "products" to advertise.

    http://www.cdgallantking.ca/2017/07/strangely-funny-iv-release-iwsg-july.html

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    1. I didn't do much for my first one either. I'd hoped my publisher would have a handle on marketing that for me, but it turns out that nope, that ball was mostly in my field. I've slowly eased my way into it with the next two books.

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  7. I agree with C.D.--I only have two short works out in the world so far, so I don't think putting a ton of effort into marketing will really do anything for me as yet. Writing the next thing is the important thing for me right now.

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    1. Yes, writing your next project is exactly what you should be doing. If you've got a blog and and author FB page going, then you're on the right track. Starting a mailing list early on is also a good idea. That's one thing I wish I'd started a couple years ago.

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  8. Oh, my, you've got an important one! Marketing is both awesome and scary - it's also difficult to figure out what works well and doesn't...because it depends on your genre and capacity. What is your best marketing practice?

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    1. I haven't hit on a magical solution yet, but I've been trying a lot of different things this time around to see what sticks. I'll have to do a follow up post soon on my results.

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  9. Marketing is that awkward place where you try to figure out ways to advertise your event appearances and book promotions without spamming your friends and groups you belong to every other day.

    I haven't done it yet-- but this is the part I dread about marketing.

    Damyanti

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    1. It's hard to put yourself out there. What's amusing/frustrating is that after two years of what felt like moderately heavy posting on both my personal and author FB feeds, some of my friends are only just now realizing that I write books. *shakes head*

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  10. Although I'm not a fan of editing, it's a necessary evil - LOL, I'm even less of a fan of marketing and it's even more of a necessary evil. Sigh....

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