Marketing. We talk about it so much and find so much on the internet but still new authors struggle with how to go about it. It’s intimidating, horrifying and can, at times, be confusing.
NaNoProMo day 30 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers a great roadmap on how authors can go about their marketing. Beth Barany shares some steps you can take to make marketing your book a bit less daunting.
Why Market Our Books?
We writers want to be read. Otherwise, why would we publish our work? Well, it is so gratifying to hold the book and see it on the shelf. But it’s the readers’ joy in reading is what it’s all about. Otherwise, why publish?
To be read, we must market our books. How to do that can be overwhelming and feel like a big black box you can’t open because: There are so many choices out there on how to market There is so much advice on the “right” way to market that clashes — confusing! and You may be afraid to actually to do the work because of well, many reasons. (I’ll address this aspect more below.) To bring some clarity and offer an overview roadmap, let’s start by defining our terms.
Beth Barany, How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap
It’s something that’s hard to swallow but true. We are all going to fail at something. It could be from something simple to breaking a key off in a door lock or something big like a failed book title.
The beauty is, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you choose to keep trying. This is the difference between a failure and someone who fails. The failure stays down and quits fighting while the one who fails keeps getting up and trying new things.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
It’s perfectly fine if your first trial fails. It’s supposed to!
As an author, I am constantly learning to accept there are projects that may not see the light of day for one reason or another. The beauty of it is, it’s okay. Odds are you’re not going to have a perfect first draft. As a matter of fact, it’s most likely going to be horrible, however, the most important thing is for it to simply exist. You can’t edit a blank canvas but you can edit a bad first draft.
We see it all the time. New editions of books, remakes of games, character designs updated after years. These are people who realize that they’re allowed to edit or fix something. They developed their skills, honed them and got back in the saddle. Whatever you, never settle on your first draft of anything being your magnum opus. It won’t be. It’s not supposed to be.
The Wright Brothers went through many stages of the first planes which failed miserably. J.K Rowling wrote her first draft on a napkin and received multiple rejections on Harry Potter before it got picked up.
Allow yourself to fail. In the long run, it is the ultimate teacher and can make something turn into something else you never thought of.
Starting is Hard….
“The hardest thing to do is to start.” — Stephen King
He was right. Beginning anything new is terrifying. You may fear not having enough money, enough time, giving up something like binge watching Netflix, feeling you’re too advanced in age?
If this is you (because it was and sometimes still is me) ask why you’re terrified? Then weight the pros and cons. What do you have to benefit from being willing to fail? What do you have to lose?
Then remember: “I’m not alone. Others have failed before and become great. I can do this too.”
Every single success story from Apple to Pixar, from Harry Potter to Twilight, have experienced failure. The difference, they didn’t quit. They took the hits and got back up.
To quote a very amazing rat: “Change is nature, dad and it starts when we decide.”
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So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?
In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.
What Is Failure?
The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.
According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:
A lack of success
or an insufficiency
You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success).
Why Does It Terrify Us?
Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly. Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.
History Is Made on Failure
No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures.
Why It Is More Valuable Than Success
This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature.
Why We Need Failure
We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise.
The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane
Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television.
“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House
Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?
Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:
Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar
Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor
If you’ve been on social media, and I know you have, for any amount of time, you have probably come across the 80/20 Rule at some point.
This little rule can change so many things if applied correctly.
Now, I think anyone who sells anything can agree that getting posts bashing a reader over the brain with “Buy my…” can not only result in massive brain hemorrhaging but also send people running as fast as they can to the “unfollow”, “unlike”, etc button.
Why is this?
Because in marketing, people want to be seen as valuable. They want to feel like the services they’re being offered fills a need that they have. Truth is, they may not even know they have it. They want to feel like they’re being invested in and appreciated.
We need to focus not on what people are giving us but what we are giving to them. We need to focus on how they feel when they’ve invested their time and money into a dream they know little about.
“If I know how to make you feel good, then odds are, you will keep coming back.” Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Founder of Shake Shack
So what is the 80/20 Rule?
Put simply, in terms of posting on social media, it’s focusing 20% of the content on one’s own product, service, etc while focusing 80% on your readers. Whoever they may be.
You can do this by sharing articles about topics close to your heart, adventures in starting up your business, inspirational quotes and retweeting and commenting on their content.
Social media has made it so easy for us to just spam our streams with me, me, me. The truth is it’s not a “me” market, especially as an author, artist, etc. Getting in the mindset of a market of “we” can make a world of difference.
“One of the best ways to let people know about your book is to not talk about it yourself, but to let readers know about it in other ways, and get them talking.”
In her blog, titled How To Develop and Perfect Your Book Marketing, she offers some helpful resources and advice on how to enhance your marketing and turn you “me” view into a “we” view. I would recommend reading her blog for any a
The truth is, in the end we’re all living beings with jobs, struggles and times when funds are tight.