This started as a normal update on the ins and outs of marketing books and rapidly took a turn to weird. Consider it an essay. About marketing.
So, I’ve got two novels available and a third in active edits, but I’m still finding my audience. Fair enough. I’ve working in digital marketing. I know (sort of) how this works. (See Rules for Being Online and Theory of Twitter)
But then I start getting tangled up in my methodology. And then I get tangled up in the word “methodology.” I won’t follow this tangle any further.
But fundamentally, I want to try to do this on my own, from scratch. No smoke and mirrors. I currently have minimal budget other than my time. Sounds great. What could go wrong?
Know your readers/customers/audience: well, since I don’t have that many yet, I have my imaginary personas. They are helpful only to a point.
Know your self: working on this one. Silly, fun, kind stories about the complicated, mixed-up, inconsistent nature of who we are.
Content Marketing: this blog post, email newsletters, videos that I haven’t made, podcasts I haven’t recorded. Provide real people with interesting content, and they will connect to me and to my books. Sounds great. But takes time. And hard to not judge this content even more than my original fiction writing.
And again, none of matters if the books aren’t selling.
Social media: damned if I’m going to pay for any services to get followers/likes/strokes. I’ll use a service like Hootsuite to help me time my own content, but I’m not going to automate anything. Everything will be touched by me. But then I start get sucked into the numbers game. The ego stroke. The sexbots. The drugs. Well, not the drugs. But the whole world is bizarre. And maybe I’m being stupidly stubborn on the manual management.
And at some point, none of this matters if books don’t sell.
And I start crossing paths with people who seem mean. I want the friendly marketing bots to come back. Come back, friendly marketing bots. Make me feel better about myself without being a scary person.So far, I’m sticking to my principles of touching everything. Even the sexbots.
Advertising: costs money and requires copywriting skillz I lack. Brief experiments did not have the return on investment (ROI) I wanted. But I know about ROI. So that’s something.
Giveaways: sure, I have some books on hand. But shipping costs money. Although I always have Little Free Libraries. And my Goodreads giveaway actually was really fun (and I think may have helped with sales). I should try again.
Events: a little tough as a friendly introvert, since writing a blog post is always an alternative. Also quickly costs money since I feel strongly about beer and wine being present at events. Maybe I could find a beer and wine sponsor? Someday I’ll have to actually talk to a book store as well. But they are as scary as some of the grumpy people online. Chase my tail in circles.
Publicity/PR: well, shoot, I have no idea how to do this. I talked boldly about press releases and outreach and press kits and blah blah blah. I read the advice of writing marketers about press releases and interesting pitches. I did none of it. Perhaps this blog post will push me into taking action.
I’m also not sure how much to believe the writing marketers. A lot of the advice seems like it’s from the 1980s and was never updated. An easy solution would be to have a conversation with a few reporters about how they find stories. But they seem scary.
Sits down with bourbon and pouts. Clearly, I need to talk to people. All sorts of people. I have learned to order pizza over the phone. For my spouse’s travel hacking hobby/obsession/awesomeness, I talk to credit card companies. I give professional presentations with a minimum of stress. I write scolding emails about appropriate information management techniques and code documentation. I can learn how to do this.
And I’ll always have the social media sexbots. They want me. I know it.
Writing this blog post was cathartic. I was going to say oddly cathartic, but I think catharsis was exactly what I was looking for. So, moving forward…
- Take advantage of local friends’ expertise and classes. Meeting with people and attending a one day small business class on marketing later this week. Pulling all my marketing thoughts into one primary document in preparation for marketing class.
- Focus on the Portland angle right now. I have had this vision of finding a worldwide audience right away. But my story as an author (and within my books) has a strong Portland bent. I might as well us this. I am passionate about this.
- Use my current (small) profits to run some online advertising campaigns and see how it goes. Amazon and Goodreads seem like the most promising…I think.
- Reviews, reviews, reviews. Keep chipping away at this.
- Content marketing is great as a baseline, but gotta keep moving forward on items 1-4.