Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9/21/2011 Writing Wednesday

Hello and thanks again for your patience. I know it's late and I'm sorry, aside from still being 8-5, I also had a schedule conflict and brought me home later than normal. So then, let's get right to business shall we?

Today I'm going to attempt to give marketing advice. Please keep in mind that I am still learning this myself. It's something that is incredibly hard, stressful, time consuming, and can feel a bit silly at times. The reason for that is because you are literally putting yourself out there for everyone to see, they're going to watch you hold your work out on a silver-plated (let's be realistic here, if you're doing you're own marketing, chances are you aren't a millionaire) platter. Today there are a lot more options than there were even say 5 years ago, which does make it a bit easier, but only in the sense of access, it's still something the rather self conscious (i.e. me) are going to have to push through.

First let's talk about the easy parts: social networking. Chances are you're already a part of it, whether you have a Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or so forth, you've already seen the effects of social networking and the incredible amount of power it has. I had both a Twitter and Facebook account before I was published, so simply posting links saying "LOOK AT THIS!", the only issue that I had (and...still kind of have) is that it's mostly family and friends that follow me. Not like that isn't fantastic (I love you guys!) but the part that makes is reaching people you don't even know. Now, Smashwords does help with this a bit because they give you links to places like Stumbled Upon, Linkedin, Digg, Google's...thing, and other such places right there on the book's page. The part that makes social networking work so well is that is runs on word of mouth, especially Twitter, someone likes something, so they retweet to their followers, and their followers do the same, and so-forth, it's like magic.

Now for the harder part: the real world. This is hard because it's more face-to-face interaction, and this can be really scary at times because people will ask you to explain your book to them, and when you explain it's going to sound absolutely crazy/stupid to you. This is normal, at least in my experience. Admittedly I've gotten better, but it still feels incredibly awkward, especially when I have to explain to someone what Steampunk is when they have absolutely no idea in the first place. The other part that I find awkward, and this may just be me, is when people ask me about my process. They ask me questions like "How do you go from writing on your break, to going back to work, then picking up right where you left off on your next break?" and I realized today I have no idea how to answer that question other than, "I don't know. I open the notebook, remember where I was at then get to it?" It's just weird.

Anyway, back to marketing in the real world, the point is to try and sell your book without coming off as needy, crazy, or arrogant. This is really hard, because you are going to run into people who just simply don't care. It's nothing personal, they just aren't interested, these people can be co-workers, friends, even family, that's fine. I asked people at my work if they had an e-reader, expecting to get a lot of positive responses, and I think I've found one or two people. These are people who ALL have smartphones. One of the things I plan on trying out is a business card, it's not advertising the book itself, but more this particular blog, that has as many links to my book as I can fit onto it without looking too desperate. My plan with them is to say, leave them when I pay for food somewhere, just with my tip, or on the wall at a Panera or library, just random places. That way people I don't know can see it, stop by and hopefully get to where the book is located.

The point about marketing is to not give up. It's hard, and sometimes feels incredibly strange or not normal, but it does help. Something else that works is to put links to your other works in new ones so that people can just click over to one of the other things right after their done. It's so convenient.

Again, I thank you all for your patience with my late posts lately. I very much appreciate it. Please stop by Friday where I'll have links for another book up. I'm sure you can all guess what it's going to be! (Marketing tip, shameless self-advertising is ok too.) Have a good next couple days!

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