Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - the marketing conumdrum

(Jay Sherman from The Critic. Geek points if you remember the show!)

Last week for the IWSG, I shared my insecurities about marketing. I already knew many writers have the same worries about promotion, but it amazed me just how many had no idea what was working and what wasn't. Everyone just keeps pushing onward, hoping something might click.

Once upon a time, it wasn't an author's job to market their work. The publisher did it. Nowadays, the responsibility rests solely upon the writer. It doesn't matter if you're self-published or traditionally published. We now have to be both the artist and marketer. Most of us just aren't built that way. We prefer to stay hidden away in our writing caves and not have to deal with it.

But we have to get our work out there in front of readers. Painful as it is, we have to promote.

You can read all the articles on marketing you want and take a dozen workshops, but sad to say it, it might not help. What works for one author might not work for another. In fact, there are so many different ways to promote your work that very few paths will be the same.

And in the end, it takes a big dose of good luck to succeed.

So why do all that work then? If it's all about luck, there's no point in stressing over marketing. Goodness knows I'd prefer to write stories and not stand out on a street corner shouting, "Buy my book! Buy my book!" Because that's how marketing my books feels to me.

Here's the thing: each reader you reach increases your chances of being lucky. All it takes is that one person to set off a chain reaction.
 
Do everything you can to attract readers. Try it all at least once. It's immensely stressful, but in the end, your hard work will pay off.

22 comments:

  1. So true about how stressful marketing can be. (Depressing, too, tbh.) It often feels like I'm talking to a brick wall whenever I push myself to promote more...which then makes me fear I'm annoying people, causing me to hide instead. LOL. If only it were easier for all of us to find some of that luck that'd make marketing a tad less painful!

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  2. I read once that the best marketing you can do is what YOU enjoy. If you don't like leading workshops at conferences, don't do it. But if you enjoy writing your newsletter and blogging, do that. I have friends who spend every single weekend teaching Girl Scouts how to write and all week doing school visits... That's a lot like teaching, which is great if you like to do it. I'm finding ways to market that don't make me miserable. I figure we all have strengths and we should play to those to be most successful. Public speaking isn't a strength of mine at all!

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  3. Well, getting published is lucky, so why shouldn't successful marketing be the same?
    You don't know when that one reader who starts the snowball will pick up your book or why. But it can happen, so we keep trying.

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  4. True, one of those shouts might lead to a sale.

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  5. one day, maybe, I should try to do some of that marketing stuff.

    sigh

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  6. Some things will only work once, but they won't work at all if you don't try.

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  7. Marketing seems so scary to me! I am not the kind of person who likes to put herself (or her work) out there. Luckily I don't have to worry about it yet. I kinda have to finish the book first...

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  8. So true.. all you've got to do is try everything and hope for the best. Though, I do like the comment above that mentions doing something you actually enjoy. I think it comes through that it's just the daily grind, not anything you enjoy.. but when you're excited and truly so, it shines through. I'd rather be more interested in that excited person than that grinding person, which as a writer is also discouraging because if I stuck to the things I only like to do... my marketing options are slim haha

    You know which marketing trend I'm tired of? Endless, endless tweets retweeted and over and over in my feed about book sales that say nothing about the book except 'it's better than so-and-so according to me' and 'five star ratings' etc. It's gotten to the point that I mute these folks, as much as I hate to, or unlike them all together if they never interact with me anyway.

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  9. Lately I've been ignoring marketing, and my sales show that I've been ignoring it. Yet I still don't feel too motivated to put a lot of time into marketing when I have one novel and several shorter works out there. I'd rather write more and market them when I have more novels out. It just seems a bit pointless otherwise.

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  10. Although you may end up with a few more white hairs than the average Jo. Thank goodness for hair dye, eh? LOL.

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  11. Hi Christine - if you've written and published the books - you can't let them rust under your tears ... we all need to get out and do as much for ourselves as possible - til someone comes along and picks up that ball for us ... cheers - great post - Hilary

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  12. You're right, it all depends, nothing works the same across the board. I'm trying to market my zombie book and then pulled back locally because I was afraid my neighbors might not like the idea that in my story they all died. :) Oops!

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  13. Here's the thing: each reader you reach increases your chances of being lucky. All it takes is that one person to set off a chain reaction. << truer words couldn't have been spoken. =)

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  14. I am marketing challenged, and the more I worry about it, the suckier I get.

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  15. Did you sign up for the 30 day marketing challenge by Rachel Thompson? There are some good nuggets in there, and it will help me with my pending life upheaval. Sometimes it pays off. I don't think Boing Boing would have found me if I hadn't been on Twitter posting about my books now and then.

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  16. I'm a failure at marketing, and don't understand how some people immediately start selling and getting reviews, while others, like myself, mostly get congratulations. Different people have different kinds of luck.

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  17. Hi Christine,

    You've made some interesting, thoughtful points. Indeed, you have to promote, what with writing being such a fiercely competitive field.

    Perhaps, rather absurdly, I like being a well-kept secret, or something like that.

    All the best, Christine.

    Gary :)

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  18. Thank you to everyone for commenting. If I find the secret, I'll be sure to share it!

    Stephanie, that is the most awesome advice I've heard. I need to find out what I enjoy that counts as marketing other than creating pretty bookmarks. :)

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  19. Luck has something to do with it but not quiting is what really matters. If you quit, if you don't do any marketing you won't get anywhere with matketing. So you just have to do it.

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  20. I have to admit that I really hate marketing. But you're right: it has to be done, and trying a bunch of different venues to see which "sticks" is the best way to go. Or just get really lucky and get a BookBub ;)

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  21. The funny thing is I have no problem marketing someone else's book, especially if I loved it. I'm happy to talk it up. But my book...it's so much harder.

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  22. Marketing...it's a big ugly word. LOL And you are right there a ton of different ways to do it- one thing you can count on is no matter what you do- if you just sit back and do nothing...you gain nothing.

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