Watching traditional advertising all our lives, we’ve learned the lie that marketing = big splash.
Advertising, a small part of marketing, can benefit from a big splash.
We’re talking about marketing, your ongoing efforts to connect with people who’ll benefit from and appreciate your message. Like any relationship, it takes time.
More than that, it takes persistence and regularity. No friendship ever came from a single interaction, or meeting three times a year apart. Close connections come from regular contact and conversation. It’s work. That’s right, having relationships is work (you knew that) and marketing is about relationships, therefore, marketing is work.
You knew that, too.
Show up every day. That doesn’t mean blog every day, or do any one thing every day. Blog regularly. Weekly is better than monthly. Chat on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you hang out. Ping an old client or another author who writes like you. Give away a book at the coffee shop. One of yours, or someone else’s even.
Persistent regular activity is the endless dripping that makes marketing effective.
Depending on who you ask or where you check, each year between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published. That’s more than one every minute, 24 hours a day.
If you only take away one thing from Sue’s post and today’s, this is it:
#1. If you don’t stand out, agents, publishers, and readers will choose someone who does.
When Sue posted some of her thoughts from that blog post on other social media platforms, there were always a few who quibbled about how agents don’t necessarily require this, that, and the other thing. Perhaps. However, see large note #1 above.
A second note which seems, still, to escape far too many authors:
#2: Publishers do not do marketing. Authors do marketing. If you won’t, they’ll find someone who will.
This shatters the dream of so many authors who, apparently, still hope they can simply write their book and have someone else do the hard work of earning the money for them. After all, writing a book is hard enough already; I know this well and understand the frustration of those who, having typed The End are dismayed to discover that it’s just The Beginning.
If you’re still secretly hoping someone else will make this easy for you, see large note #2 above.
A third note:
#3: Reputations are hard-earned currency. No one is going to lend you theirs without good reason.
Yesterday’s post touched on the quagmire of guest posting. The entire point of guest posting is to share reputations, to find mutual benefit.
If you have a brand new blog about entrepreneurship, having Richard Branson write a guest post is a great idea, right? Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
What earthly reason would Sir Rich have to lend you his reputation?
Bringing it down to more realistic levels, what reason does mid-level blogger Jane Doe have to lend you their reputation, giving you access to their hard-earned network of fans? By writing a guest post for you, or allowing you to write a guest post for her, Jane is endorsing you, telling all and sundry “I trust and respect Billy Bo Bob Brain and you should, too.”
Why would they do that?
Flipside: why would you do that? If you have a worthwhile blog and a total stranger, entirely unknown, wants to post on your blog, why would you share your reputation with them? Do you really want to publicly endorse the views and ethics of a total stranger?
A final takeaway:
#4: If you intend to sell your book or use it to promote your business you are not just an author, you are an entrepreneur.
You may already be marketing your business. Your book is part of your business, and you have to invest the same marketing effort and savvy as you would any other new product or service launched.
A solid social media presence is vital to getting noticed as an author and should be in place long before your book is published.
One of the biggest mistakes authors make is thinking their newsletter is about selling. Marketing, which is what your newsletter is part of, is about building relationships. When you have good relationships with people, they’ll buy without you “selling” at all.
When you imagine that one person you’re writing your newsletter for, also remember that you’re not dragging a friend down the alley to mug them (because it’s not about money.) Instead, you’re chatting with someone who asked you to talk to them. Would you really say “I’m sure you don’t really want to talk to me, so I’ll keep this brief and infrequent”?