Not A Natural But Working At It
From reading these entries, you may "think" that I'm a natural at the marketing end of this business. I'm not. I don't believe that I'm the best writer in the room but I'm a determined writer. It's why I've been able to persist and build such a large body of work in the marketplace. By the same token, I'm not a natural marketer yet I understand that marketing is a critical skill to get out my work.
About a month ago, I attended a free day-long meeting with Mark Victor Hansen and Loral Langemeier. While about 250 people signed up for the event, less than 100 actually came. Those numbers alone show you the importance of showing up. I have heard Mark speak a number of times and I always learn something significant from his sessions. I had never met or heard Loral Langemeier and I was fascinated with her teaching. By the way, if you get a chance, pick up her newest book, Put More Cash In Your Pocket. It's straightforward advice about creating more income in today's economic times. I enjoyed reading it.
During her teaching, Loral said all of business (and publishing is a business) comes down to four basic skills: marketing, sales, finance (managing the money) and team (working as a team even if you are an independent writer). Ironically these four entrepreneurial skills are not taught in most business schools (Loral has a business degree). If you want to make more sales, then you have to be telling more people about your product or book (marketing). It's a simple principle but true.
If you want a traditional publisher to take your book proposal, then you need to be telling more editors or literary agents about your proposal. If you want to be writing more for magazines, then you need to be pitching to more editors and publications--naturally with the best crafted proposal and best crafted pitch of your idea.
If you want to sell more copies of your book after it is printed (and you should because you took the energy to put it out there), then you need to do more personal marketing for that book. It is the author who has the greatest passion for their work--so use that passion to fuel your marketing efforts.
While I continue to be committed to learning more about writing, I am also committed to learning more about marketing and improving my ability to tell more people about my various products. In each book, I look for several key "takeaways" which I can apply to my own writing life. If you are looking for it, you will find it.
This past weekend, I read Linda F. Radke's book, The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing. The title of this book might have put you off. You might have said, "I'm not self-publishing." Whether you self-publish or use a traditional publisher, you can learn something from this book.
Here's one quick example from this book. It includes contributions from other writers and includes a brief article from John Kremer and Marie Kiefer called Seven-Soul Searching Commandments for Self-Publishers. I want to focus on their seventh commandment: Ten Minutes Per Day. They write, "Are you willing to spend at least ten minutes a day for the next three years marketing your book? This is a commitment that you must keep. If you are not willing to spend ten minutes each and every day marketing a book, let someone else do it--someone who believes in your book enough to spend a few minutes every day marketing it. In just ten minutes, you can make at least three contacts per day. Write influential buyers. Phone key media people. Network with contacts that can lead to other buyers, media, and associations. Three contacts per day comes out to about 1,000 contacts each year. If you make 1,000 appropriate contacts, you can't not sell books. I know that's a double negative, so I'll rephrase it. If you make 1,000 contacts per year, you will sell books. In fact, you can't miss." (page 136)
Do you see the value in taking consistent and persistent action in the marketing area? I may not be a natural but I'm continuing to work at it--and you can do the same.