Writing, at least for me, is rewarding. Since much of my effort involves real people or places, I also spend considerable time researching. That, too, is fun and satisfying. Marketing my completed material, though, is a whole other story.
I self-publish. Not so long ago, one who retained neither agent nor publisher (ie: published their own books) was cast aside as something akin to “not good enough”. But, that is fast changing. Even accomplished writers are beginning to walk away from traditional publishing houses.
Now, I am not suggesting that all self-published material makes for worthwhile reading. After all, anyone can self-publish – ANYONE. But, don’t automatically purge such material from your “to buy” list. Often the problem is locating what’s out there. That takes marketing and, without an agent or publisher, the author is the one spreading the word. For many writers, that is TOO MUCH LIKE WORK.
Please understand, I am NOT some kind of expert in marketing. My third book, House with a Heart, seems to be making some progress, though. With careful note taking from “how to” sites and books, I developed a plan that appears to be working. I might have even found a niche. What I have realized is that, aside from the “how to” stuff, there are three other aspects for marketing success – motivation, time and self-assurance.
Motivation: To motivate myself after publishing my book, I found an empty loose leaf binder, filled it with blank paper and marked the first page:
House with a Heart
On page two, I wrote an introduction – a message from me to me – to remind myself of what I had just accomplished. It began with, “This is the story of . . .” and would, I suppose, best be described as a synopsis. Following that I listed several objectives. Only then did I list the various “how to’s” garnered from marketing experts. Below each sub-heading (like: Who might be interested in this topic/story?) I left plenty of white space to pencil ideas in later.
Time: Really, who has enough of it? I’m retired, but for lots of reasons, retirement activities fill my calendar and make it hard to carry out some vague strategy. With my binder and outline in writing, I can begin to focus on elements of the plan during free moments. That way I chip away at the ideas and build a plan before actually beginning the process. It’s kind of like the overwhelming task our children had before bed each night when they were little. Required to put away each and every toy from the day’s activities, they often were simply overwhelmed. “Start by picking up one toy,” we told them. After several minutes of sheer torture for children and parents, the floor again appeared.
Self-Assurance: Now, there’s my downfall. In spite of a variety of sales experiences, starting with selling lemonade as a kid, I am NOT a salesman. I make my product available for your inspection. If you like what you see, maybe you’ll buy it. While others can hawk their product with seemingly great success, I sit (or stand) with a smile on my face, engage in pleasant conversations, and usually watch people walk away. At one book signing event the person next to me plugged my book to someone while I watched – silent and in awe. (Thanks, friend.)
Anyway, that’s my story this month and I’m sticking to it.