Imagine two men dressed in nice suits standing in the middle of a crowded room, we'll call them Bill and Jerry from Event Planners Inc. Working as a team, Bill and Jerry planned this well attended event and wisely understood each person in attendance could be a potential future client.
Bill was the shy, silent type. He forced a few smiles and managed to gain eye contact with a few people. He'd known his weakness as a shy person for a long time and really preferred Jerry to handle the hobnobbing. Eventually he constructed the perfect excuse to escape the room and hid in a quiet place, content the big turnout demonstrated good work.
Jerry wouldn't classify himself as a social extrovert. Small talk tripped his speech many times and he forced himself to smile for photos despite an overbite. The numbers for Event Planners proved the importance of making a strong appearance. He prayed before each event, boxed up his introvert and set it on the shelf for later, and walked through the crowd as if he had the best news ever to share. He shook hands, stumbled through conversations, and laughed with those around him.
Bill and Jerry are like many writers. Their favorite moments come when they hide in their office and plow through the work. Jerry has learned, though, it is the meeting with the people who are potential clients that stirs business.
Good business product + meeting with potential clients = increased sales.
Lets apply this to writing.
Bill The Writer loved to hide in his study and write. He was willing to socialize with the family or church friends, but mostly preferred the comforting seclusion of his office. His editor reminded him to promote his book after the last low sales figures came in. Bill had more important tasks to be done. If he spent his time on promotion, who would write his books? Bill ignored his editor's request, assuming the publisher would pick up the slack, and set new records completing his next book. He polished the best proposal he'd ever written and sent the package off to his agent. One year later his agent emailed. 'I'm sorry. There isn't a house willing to take this book. Truly it's your best. Your last editor refused to even look at it. Did you work on the marketing as they asked?"
Jerry The Writer, was as allergic to being an extrovert as the next writer. When his editor raved about his recent release and recommended new ways to market, Jerry took a deep breath--scared to try the new ways. He spent each morning in prayer asking God to give him the strength to follow through with marketing.
At first, he forced himself to spend one hour a day setting up marketing strategies. Jerry set up a Twitter account and learned how to use hash tags to find his audience. He scheduled one week's worth of tweets, one per day, using Hootsuite. He then used the remaining hour to build his audience with retweets, mentioning others, and sending direct messages. He set a timer to insure he didn't go over the hour. The rest of his work day he spent writing.
Two weeks later his confidence helped him to add a face book personal page and an author page. It took a little longer to set these up since he wanted to maintain the twitter project and not exceed the one hour. Jerry tweeted his new page to followers on twitter and watched the number of likes grow.
Knowing there were many other avenues of marketing, Jerry devoted some of his marketing time to reading new marketing strategies posted by Amanda Luedeke from Chip McGregor Literary Agency every Thursday and Edie Melson's blog on marketing trends, how to and not to. His market ideas grew.
Not wanting to tip the balance scale, Jerry made a schedule for the week. Sometimes his work (crit groups) happened at night, sometimes in the day. He set realistic goals for writing each week and forced himself to meet the goal. He budgeted time to spend with his daughter and date nights with his wife. The Superbowl, fishing, and vacations were naturally written in ink as well. Of course, the first block of each day remained reserved for God.
One day Jerry's editor emailed him. His book sales had increased proportionately for a new author. He asked when Jerry would have his next book finished.
The inspiration for this post came from attending Amanda Luedeke's marketing class at ACFW this last year and from subscribing to Edie Melson's blog and Chip McGregor Literary Agency blog.
Amanda Luedeke wrote "You can do it" many times in her new book: The Extrovert Writer. Although marketing is a Goliath project, we can turn it into doable steps and succeed like Jerry the Writer.
Edie Melson's guidance is tailored for every level of experience. I have successfully followed steps given on her site many, many times. It sure feels good. :)
A caring word for you:
1. You can market your book.
2. Marketing increases sales.
3. BUT your book needs to be well written.
4. Do not rob your family of essential time with them. Do not let them rob you of God's call to write. Balance.
5. Do not let social networking vaporize minutes from your day. Set a timer. Be rigid.
6. Stay healthy. We need professional photos that show we take care of ourselves.
Let's share ideas to help each other-
Do you have a marketing question or idea? Amanda Luedeke and Edie Melson will be stopping by today to answer your questions.
What social media to you prefer for promoting your work?
What source do you learn marketing skills from?
photo by freedigitalphotos.net
Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.