I really like this post by Rob Eagar from the Writers Digest There Are No Rules blog, especially this quote:
Marketing isn’t about striking it rich with every activity you do. That’s an unrealistic expectation. You can’t expect perfection, but you can expect success. Therefore, your marketing goal should be to build a “body of work” that generates momentum over time and draws readers to you and your books. Think of the process like building a large magnet that begins to consistently attract people. Your objective is show up where your reading audience congregates numerous times and in numerous formats. You want people to think, “Everywhere I turn, I seem to bump into this author’s material, advice, stories, or resources.” Does it take a little more work? Yes, but this magnetic approach also produces larger results over a longer period of time.
I should print this out and read it every day, because I recognized myself in a lot of what he wrote here.
Have any of you done any of the following?
- Sent out a few query emails, then stopped after you received a few “no” responses or “no responses”?
- Written a bunch of blog posts, then slowed down to a crawl when you noticed you weren’t getting a lot of comments on your posts?
- Released a couple of novels as podcasts, then followed up with…nothing?
- Groused about how no one ever asks you to be in their podcast productions, even though you never announced you were available?
- Wondered why you don’t get invited to be on con panels, even though very few people know about your books?
Yep. I’m guilty on all counts.
I had a very eye-opening experience at Dragon*Con last summer. I was hanging with Starla and Scott Huchton and their friends, and at some point in the conversation I mentioned something about one of my podcasts. Starla said, “I keep forgetting that you’ve podcasted novels, because you never talk about them. Ever.” ZING! Those books are on my mind all the time, but apparently I’ve done precious little to make others aware of them. If Starla, who is an active participant in the podcasting community and a sought-after narrator (see her fine work in Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge) doesn’t think I’m promoting my work, then clearly I’m not.
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but this year I have to make a schedule for promotional activities and stick to it. That means writing down a plan for regular blog posts (and interesting topics) at the beginning of the month. It means a numeric goal for queries each week, both for my fiction and my freelance work, which has slowed to a crawl. It means becoming a regular poster in the Facebook Podcast Community and letting the folks there know that I want to play roles in their podcasts. It means getting assertive about telling people that I want to be on panels and do readings at cons.
And when I do all that, I have to keep this Writers Digest blog post in mind. Not everything I do will have an immediate payoff, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. I go to the gym four or five times a week, and though I don’t yet fit into size 32 jeans or have the physique of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, I keep going because I know it will pay dividends in the long run. So it is with promotion. Every activity helps build the brand, which will hopefully make people interested in listening to or reading my books.
Next Dragon*Con, I want Starla to say, “I’m f**king sick of hearing about your books.”