Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG~The Art of Not Going NUTS While Learning About Book Marketing

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As I scan over this image, I see words I've never had to pay attention before. Pricing. Target, Market. I guess it hasn't been so much that I haven't paid them attention, but that I've avoided them. 

Thus #IWSG major fear - MARKETING

Now I know most authors have been in my position. Just sold your first book, thinking about edits, book cover, blurbs, etc... Not to mention you're pretty excited to dress, sparkle, and shine your first book baby.

But then your brain shifts. The reality gears between your ears begin to rotate and make an awful squealing noise. (Trust me, it's fingers-on-a-chalkboard worthy.) New questions form and coil into slithering eels of doubt that slink over all your gray matter.  

How will I enhance my website to promote my first release? What sort of games, gifts of services, and swag related to the story should I offer up? And then there's this monthly newsletter thing I can't avoid anymore. What do I include in that? How do I get folks interested enough to sign up to receive it?

What about the color palette for the book cover and image ideas I have? I'll need to prepare my dedication and acknowledgement pages soon - even those will tell people about me, who I am and what's important to me. Then there will be interviews. Promoting myself is as important as promoting my work. But I stink cheese doodles when it comes to talking about me. 

Holy make my head explode! I knew this would be a learning curve, but I fear I'll lose my sanity. Or what's left of it after having four kids.

How did you handle this stress? Any insight to offer?


The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.
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50 comments:

  1. The main problem with marketing (besides figuring out a plan, usually through trial and error) is that it cuts into your writing time just when you really, really want to write some more. LOL

    I don't talk about myself much, or I try not to anyway, other than the occasional tweet or post about a sale or new release. I also guest post about various topics and let the blog host tack on my book info at the end. Mostly, I get involved in other things and just interact with people, then let my book ads (through services readers have subscribed to because they WANT the ads) do the talking for me.

    IWSG #119 until Alex culls the list again

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  2. Hi Sheri - you've hit the problem of the month it seems .. marketing isn't easy - but as Melissa mentions it's getting on with it and trial and error ... good luck - Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement. I know it's doable. It's just the more I research the more I want to toss in the towel. lol Not really, but sorting through all the marketing information and advice can be daunting.

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  3. Ugh. Marketing. I suck at it. So I shall be watching you and see how you do it and maybe I'll be better next time :)

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    1. Haha! Seriously, you just quoted my brain. Over the past year, I've been trying (attempting poorly) to watch how others do it. #facepalm

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  4. The key is to sell yourself first, your book second. That's not always easy. Check with other authors and see what's worked for them.

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    1. That's a good point. It's the same advice I keep hearing about starting a newsletter. I'll definitely keep that in mind. At least it gives me a starting point. :)

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  5. You are sooo right! I hate the marketing aspect of this. If I'd have realized writing book would turn me into a salesman, I might not have done it. Ugh.

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  6. Oh, wow, there's so much to think about, huh? I wish I could offer advice, but I'm still trying to get published! Lol. But I know that whatever you do will be awesome! I've always told myself that one day when I do get a book published I'll hire Xpresso Book Tours or one of those other ones. I think they do a good job and you can do guest posts, interviews, and excerpts in advance and then they distribute them to whoever signs up. I'm all about making it easy! :)

    Good luck!! So excited for you!! If YOU need anything, I'm here for you as well. Hugs!

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  7. I'm still trying to figure out the whole marketing thing. Word of mouth is the best way to sell a book, but it's hard to get the people to spread the word. I think you have to pick what you marketing things work for you and try to make genuine connections with people. I'd also highly advise looking into ads as they spread word about your book to a larger audience.

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    1. Genuine connections seems to be a common thread here. My publisher is looking into getting some ads. We'll see what happens with that. I'm also interested in this whole 'street team' idea. Just not sure how it all works. I'm researching now....

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  8. Cookies and chocolate help get me through. And taking it one thing at a time. Marketing stresses me out a lot too. We just have to keep trying and hope it works. We can always change our strategies.

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    1. Yes! Food is a major escape, isn't it? I also delve in my share of wine. #lushville

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  9. I have been feeling the exact same way. For the past three weeks or more, I have been immersing myself in learning more and new ways to market. I've been trying out a few things, want to try a few things, and hope to try a few things...so far though, no impact. Nothing. *sighs*

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  10. When I get stressed about promotion, I go back to writing on my newest project. At least then I feel like I'm accomplishing something. Marketing can feel like walking on a treadmill. You do a lot of work but don't get any where.

    Susan Says

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    1. Now that's great advice and some I needed to hear. I've been so stressed over figuring this process out that my writing mojo has taken a major hit. Love the treadmill analogy. Perfect.

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  11. Great thoughts about marketing indeed, thanks for sharing that!

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  12. My head's ready to explode just reading your post! It'd be nice to afford someone to do it all for me and you, right? Marketing boggles me to know end. However, I'm learning a few things, but it all cost money. The easiest and cheapest way to get noticed is to have a lot of blogger friends host you. But that rarely give you many sales, it gets you noticed as an author. Interviews are somewhat easy, don't fret them. Think of Dedications as fun, and Acknowledgements will start to roll off your fingertips. Good Luck!!

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  13. Someone else is talking about marketing today! It scares me because even after you carefully plot and plan your strategic strategies ?? it can still be NOT enough. Sigh. I just stick with writing new things and hopefully will land an agent to help guide me through my next book!

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  14. I write a marketing plan for each book. As I complete each thing, I check it off the list. Sometimes I have time frames, other times, not.

    Blog tours are great ways to get noticed, and when I do them, I notice a spike in sales.

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  15. I think about why I started to write. Cause I was usually alone. Alone with my thoughts equals craziness and I had to start writing it down. But, alone was the key word. Now we have to be social and talk about ourselves ... in public. This is not working for me!
    But, we have to do it and we will all live through the experience.
    Great post!
    Heather

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  16. First, don't freak. Second, realize you can only do what you can do. Figure out a plan where you do one thing a day and call it good. Realize you could drown in the marketing, but you CAN'T LET IT HAPPEN.

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    1. You just took the ruler out and used it on me, didn't you??? LOL You are so right! I hear you. It's just a bit overwhelming when you start researching all it takes. I need to make a list of 'what I should do', describing each, and then create a timeline for getting it all out there. And another thing: I want to make it FUN! Fun for the readers and for the bloggers, but also for me. :)

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  17. Just don't let it overwhelm you! Take one aspect, work on that. Then the next. You know, like eating the elephant. (Although that doesn't sound tasty.)

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    1. I read your comment yesterday, but my only response was a visual of someone eating Toothbrush!!! You probably don't know Toothbrush, but he was the elephant on Zoboomafoo - a kids show my two oldest boys watched when they were little. And that stupid elephant was my 2nd son's absolute obsession!

      Yes, this vein of thinking just confirms my weirdness, but I honestly couldn't come up with a better response to you.

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  18. I haven't even started marketing as my books aren't published, but I've been selling myself like crazy and oddly... have gotten really into it. I've even shifted gears in college and in addition to my original nutrition focus... I'm adding marketing/communication!
    Seriously though, just let it go for a day or two and relax, and then you'll look at it with clearer eyes. Yes, it's a lot of work, but worth it I'd say? :) Best of luck!

    - Madilyn Quinn @ NovelBrews

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  19. I wonder if I would have ever embarked on this writing journey if I'd known what had to happen after I wrote and published. I'll never know because once I was in, I was hooked and marketing became a beast to deal with...daily!

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  20. Marketing can be a stressful time-suck and it's easy to end up with too much on your plate! I'll probably be blogging about it at some point, but I've found newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with readers. I don't do many guest posts or interviews any more because I've had mixed results and I was starting to run out of time to actually write! Really, the best thing you can do is write the next book. :)

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  21. I'm not very good at this whole marketing thing. I put my collections up on Goodreads and on my blog and...well, that was pretty much it. I definitely need to get better at this! Good luck to you! :)

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    1. Thank you. I think I've discovered that my biggest challenge will be how to keep track of all I plan. I know I can use a calendar and such, but I mean keep track of what form of marketing to release first and then second and so on. Not ever doing this before, it'll definitely be trial and error. I'm fortunate enough to have my publisher setting up a blog tour and signing me up with a few book sites and such. We're not near even talking about that stuff yet, though. I'm in the beginning stages of brainstorming the marketing and just found it overwhelming. I will definitely share what I learn in blog posts, maybe even a newsletter. :)

      Thank you so much for dropping by the Alleyway!

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  22. I felt overwhelmed by everything when my first book came out. But after a year or so, you get used to the promos and social media plugs. Don't think of a newsletter as a regular communication like for a church group or something. You don't have to send one a month. In fact, considering how busy people are, the fewer you send the better. If you send 3-4 a year, but make sure to include exciting freebies, then your newsletter will be a success. :)

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    1. Great advice, L! I hadn't thought of sending out a quarterly newsletter. Ooh...I like that idea!

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  23. First, I'm still catching up from a long blogging break, so huge congrats on selling your first book! I'm thrilled for you. (I know, I'm way behind and I'm so sorry.) Second, I haven't published a book yet, so no marketing tips here. But it does sound like you need an organized strategy. And remember you're only human.

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    1. Oh gosh! No apologizes necessary. We all take breaks. But thanks so much for the congrats. I'd received a few offers and had to take a little time to think about what I wanted, instead of mulling back and forth when I was with my agent. I'd still love to find another agent, but someone who really believes in me and my work; someone who wants a working partnership. Anyhoot, after extensive chats with a fairly new publisher and discovering their work ethic, dedication to great literature, and growth insights for the future were concurrent with my ideals and goals, I decided to go with them. Like I said, they're small, just starting out, but it's not like they've left me alone in this marketing thing. They will organize a blog tour and a few other marketing strategies. I'm really lucky there.

      But I have to do some on my own, which I'd want to do anyway. It is my work, and if I don't look invested in it why should anyone else. Thanks for reminding me that I'm only human. I often forget and then feel bad about myself when I fall short. Dang perfectionism. lol

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  24. Swag is pointless except for maybe bookmarkers. Ads for your email list should be at the front and back of the book. You offer something they can't get elsewhere for their email address. Ie, a free book, a free short story, something that enhances the book, ie, if there's a diary mentioned in the book, the diary. I offer free books, since I have a lot of them. You should publish a newsletter at least once a month. I'm now going for 2x. You can always talk about what you're reading. Sign up for some other newsletters and see what other authors do. That's what I've done. :) As for the rest, you play it by ear and keep trying new things.

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    1. Love your suggestions! Great point about swag. I've often wondered what the real purpose is with it. I mean, maybe a bookmark you send as extra or something. Hmm... I'll have to think about it and keep my eye out for what others are doing. The biggest advice I keep hearing is getting a newsletter out. I've been looking into designing one. Thanks for sharing what sort of content I could include. Even though I do receive other author's newsletters, I was sort of paralyzed thinking about what I would include in one of my own.

      Part of it's probably that it's taken me a while to get to this point and I'm actually here. Still feels weird to not say to myself, "Yeah, I'll have to figure that out when I sell a book." But instead say, "Hey, you need to figure this out now."

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  25. Its making me dizzy just reading all the questions. I think I'll just pull the covers over my head . . .

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    1. I know, right. That's exactly how I've been feeling. To be fair, though, reading some of the comments to the post has made me see the light at the end of the marketing tunnel. A flicker of light, but that still is light.

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  26. I wish I had some advice but I've yet to figure all this out! I have a feeling you will knock it out of the park though once your release day comes. Good luck and enjoy all the excitement!

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  27. I wish I had advice, but I think book blog tours, a little social media sprinkled here and there, and some book fests are places to start. I'm not big on getting swag so I don't focus on that one, but sometimes I wonder if I should.

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  28. Gosh, I wish I had some insight, but honestly I usually go pecan--or maybe cashew--over the marketing necessities. It's something that has to be done, so there's no use fighting it. The best way to do it is to find the aspect of it that you enjoy and focus on that... and get help. Help always helps :)

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    1. I like that you mentioned focusing on an aspect of the marketing scene I like. That's a great idea. I'm sure doing so will shrink my tasks down to size. Kind of like writing the novel in the first place, breaking it into doable chunks instead of viewing the 80,000+ as the mountain it really is. Oh, and I'm glad you said 'help', because I totally plan on reaching out to folks.

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  29. Not that I want this spread around, but at WiDo we have authors who do NO marketing and have bestselling books and others who've done a lot for very little. You do what you can but at the end of the day it all depends on the readers.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Good thoughts to ponder. I guess it's like everything else in life - it's all about balance, controlling what you can, and not worrying about the rest.

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  30. Oh goodness, yes. It can definitely be overwhelming at times. Have a list of things you need to do--but take it ONE bite at a time. Plot it out month by month, what you need to do (being organized helps). Then you won't get to your release and panic 'cuz not everything's done. Hopefully! lol

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  31. To be honest, I find most of the words in that image quite scary and "business-like"! I think you need to be comfortable and have fun with whatever marketing you do, otherwise it won't come across well - but then you also need to push out of your comfort zone in trying new things, so it's quite hard. So far, my blog tour was the biggest thing that worked for me, but you can't have an infinite tour!

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    1. Exactly! I think if we (I) take the 'business-like' fear out of the equation I'll perform with a lot less stress. :)

      You're going to laugh, but you just gave me an idea. It will have to be probably at least a year after my book's release, but I think it would be fun and lots of other authors who've released books within that same time period would probably like to join in. Hmmm... I'll have to develop my idea, though.

      Thanks!

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  32. I found all of it stressful for my first book, but I don't find it as stressful now. It's never easy, but it gets easier with experience. My first newsletter took forever to compose, but now I can write and send one in a short amount of time. The same goes with contacting people and setting up forms for promo sign-ups.

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    1. Leaping over the 'experience-first-timer' hurdle sounds like it's the most stressful. Makes perfect sense. It's the same thing in anything in life. We need to experience a certain something in order to gain the wisdom we each personally need to learn. I know my first newsletter will take me forever to compose. Forms, docs, and such won't be too bad. I've done a lot of that for Writer's Alley, so I think I feel a bit more comfortable in that corner of the marketing arena.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Medeia!

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