Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Look at Marketing for Writers


Writing. Reading. Creating....Marketing?

Um, one of these things is NOT like the other. Or is it? Why is the word "marketing" so scary? Why do we as writers (or, at least some of us--myself included at times) think that marketing is beyond what we're capable of?

Let's start with a definition. We're writers, we like words, right?

Oooo, that may be part of the problem. Words like "promoting" and "selling" don't feel creative (at least not to me). They sound more like work or self-promotion. What if we took a step back and first asked ourselves a few simple questions:

1) Why do I create?
2) What do I create?
3) What makes my creations different or unique?

The answers to those three questions are quintessential to marketing. It's easy to start to see dollar signs or people only out for opportunities and networking when we talk about marketing, but for Christ-followers I boil it down to this:
Marketing means showcasing your unique, God-given talents in a way that points to the Creator, not the created.  (tweet this)
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Woah, I took it there, didn't I? I know, we try to make marketing this business-y thing (which it is) but we forget that, without creative inspiration from the Lord, we wouldn't have these great ideas in the first place.

Plus, as this quote points out, this life isn't just about us. It's about how God will use us and our talents, for His glory! How exciting is that?

Now, take a step forward with the thought that you are now sharing the beauty of God-given talent with others. It's not about you, it's not even about your product, as much as it's about owning up to the fact that you can point to the Creator through the act of marketing. Okay, back to the business realm (without forgetting what we just discussed, of course).

 The Other Side

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Marketing does require a type of self promotion, but the key thing to remember here is how you package your marketing ideas and materials. Your audience is who you're trying to reach with this. It will take some creative brainstorming and often help from professionals for materials or even print copy, but it can be done well without feeling overly "sell-focused".

My number one piece of advice for all forms of social media and any marketing you will do is to showcase who you are (this is technically your business). You establish your brand and then you promote, discuss, and talk about everything in reference to that brand (we'll talk about branding next week).

This looks like: 

Blogging: Choosing a theme that matches (or is complimentary) to your genre.
Facebook: Your author page interacts with you audience through fun posts in relation to your topic, shared posts from authors in your genre, questions that delve into a personal nature, giveaways focused around your novels/topic.
Twitter: You follower popular authors in your genre, retweet them, create tweets that focus around your genre, and post personal tweets in relation.
Instagram: Posting pictures of your life, your interests, and maybe your writing in line with your brand.
Guest Posting: Picking blogs that support your brand (ie: Historical blogs that offer guest posts if you are a historical author).

In all of these realms of social media, make sure you are consistent (to an extent) with the overall look and design of your platforms. I'm not the best example of this since I have varying passions of writing and photography (for example almost all my social media is @eahendry but my twitter is @eacreativephoto...*sigh* the perfectionist in me wants to change it but I probably won't ha!). But the more uniform you can keep your online presence, the better established your brand will be.

Flickr by asenat29
The last thing I'll say is marketing for writers a matter of balance (tweet this). You will easily find there is a bit of discrepancy between you and your brand. That's understandable since you aren't selling something tangible (aside from a book, of course). Plus, books cycle through very quickly in today's market and by the time you are talking about one, the next one is lined up and ready to go.

 

Marketing you will never go out of fashion or print. If you take time on anything, focus your effort on establishing solid connections to your readers. It's there that you'll strike marketing gold!

Your Challenge:
  • Write out your answers to the questions above
  • Tweet one of your favorite quotes from this blog
  • Comment honestly: do you struggle with marketing? Why?
(Don't forget to use the hashtag: #ttmediachallenge when posting!)