I just want to be clear, I was framed. Allie should be the one writing this post. She has an actual grasp on the hows and whats of marketing.
Me, I just run from it.
Which, I suppose, makes me typical for my breed. Authors are not by their nature known for extroverted outbursts of “Look at me!” They tend to be much more comfortable hiding in the back of the room, nibbling on appetizers so they don’t have to talk.
Writing tends to be introverted work. You sit alone, in a room, maybe with music, maybe silent, and you focus. You focus until you give yourself a migraine. Then you hope that the pain is worth the hours you spent stringing words together.
I hope that gives you a solid idea of how crazy writers are, because as a group, that’s the one thing we have in common.
Marketing, on the other hand, is boisterous and attention getting. It's firm handshakes at the front door. It’s the white teeth of confident smiles and the charisma of the extrovert. Everything an author tends not to be.
Which is why the marketing department tends to be its own thing. When you’re a tiny outfit where everyone needs to wear multiple hats, doing the needful sometimes means doing the stuff you’re not good at.
The good news is that there are tools for this kind of stuff. Google is your friend. There are mailing lists you can sign up for. There are free webinars out there for people to get the general idea of what’s going on. If you are an indie author, these are the tools you’ll need to get into the game.
I was the introverted author who thought that she could just make do on the strength of her writing. Time and time again it is not enough. My first book’s sales relied on people that I knew. Now, that isn't everybody. A few sales that were international, so I’m certain that there are some people I didn’t know who bought my books. It’s not like Amazon tells you who they are.
The reason for all this work is that there are so many other books out there. So many people who are all clambering for people’s book money. Not just the books that are coming out year in and year out (and there are more all the time,) but older books. People still read Shakespeare. People still read Jane Austen. Those books are household names, they don’t need a marketing department any more. As a new writer though.. it’s a must.
Time to suck it up.
There are many ways to forward your Marketing strategy. One way is to get email lists. This is one of the most important things you can do. Then, you can keep in touch with your fans, without the fear of a gatekeeper like FaceBook. Everyone thinks that FaceBook is a forever thing, but two years from now, some fifteen-year-old coding guru is going to roll out the new hotness. When that happens, everyone’s going to abandon the old and busted. New world, new rules, and lost revenue.
In the next two years though, FaceBook is the place to go. They have invented ways to make money off of doing what their website can do, because that's commerce. They will make you pony up for the privilege of using their site. But then, so will everyone else, so that’s just commerce. (This is another reason I don’t grok Marketing. Paying money for “what should be free” is a difficult concept. You need Marketing though. So, you will need to spend money.)
Just be aware, there is no sure-fire marketing. There is only consistent marketing. If there was sure-fire marketing, people wouldn’t need marketing departments to keep on top of all the latest trends. However, without marketing, no one is going to hear about your book.
Time to get your extrovert on, or to pay your local extrovert to help you.