Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Marketing: you're doing it wrong

To many authors, marketing is a four-letter word. And among those who hate it, plenty have thrown in the towel all together. The most common complaint I hear is that nothing works.
"I tried marketing techniques X, Y, & Z and still couldn't get anyone to buy my book."
And therein lies the problem. You shouldn't be trying to get just anyone to buy your book. That would be a complete and total waste of time. And while we're at it, you really shouldn't be trying to get people to buy your book.

Now you might be asking, "Um, Sarah, isn't that what marketing is?" Well, yes, but mostly no. Let me explain.

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Hopefully, when you wrote your book, you had a reader in mind. You may have thought that fans of another book would really enjoy yours. Or maybe readers looking for a new book in a genre with a twist, or a certain character as the lead. You could even have several different kinds of readers who should be excited for your work. 

These are the people you want to market to. And once you find them, the hard work is over. If you've done your homework, these readers won't need to be convinced to buy your book. They won't need a clever contest or snappy interview to seal the deal.

These are your readers and your book is exactly what they've been waiting for. 

Once these readers become fans, that's when they spread the word to others who need more convincing. That won't happen because of a creative guest post from you. That comes from readers talking to other readers.

So stop beating your head against the wall trying to convince readers to give you a try. Instead, focus your efforts on finding the readers who are desperately looking for you.

12 comments:

  1. Sarah, That's real interesting. Of course it makes sense to market to people who read your genre. What good does it do to tell that to anyone without telling them "how" to find these people.
    I can tell you how to get rich. All you have to do is find a way to get rich.

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    1. I've actually talked about identifying and locating your target reader in the past. Narrowing it down just to genre probably isn't specific enough. You'd be hard pressed to find a reader that's read everything in their preferred genre.

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  2. I'm trying to find a way to connect with fans of The Walking Dead since the Touch of Death series was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me. I'm not sure how to go about doing that though, other than talking about The Walking Dead on my social media.

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    1. That's a great place to start. Also, check out the network's page and see if they have a message board for fans. If you want to go big, send a copy to some of the stars of the show. Let them know about the pitch comparison and that you thought they'd enjoy it.

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    2. Ooh, I never would have thought to do that! Love it! Thanks, Sarah. :)

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  3. Great advice. I'm about to write a novel now for Nano next week. Marketing is one of the tough things to do, but now I see, it isn't so tough.

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    1. It's still pretty tough. :) But it doesn't have to be the task that drives you crazy.

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  4. Terrific post.
    As subtext, I like the notion that you shouldn't necessarily write 'because it's inside you and needs to come out' (I hate that phrase)... but rather should write your story with an audience in mind.
    I love the photo. Considering printing it out and putting it next to my computer. Is it yours?

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    1. Yep, unless your writing a memoir just for you, you need to know who it's for. I made the picture on quozio.com so I don't own the image, but it's fine to print it for personal use. The quote is my words, though I'm pretty sure I've heard a version of it from somewhere else.

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  5. This is helpful. I'm actually excited to begin marketing--ah, but I gotta sell the book! Lol.
    An idea I had, is to match the subject matter within the book. Say, the book is about a child herbalist-- one could show kids how to make the tinctures, make the perfume, all by hand, foraged in the woods. Even recipes shared on young reader sights -- or peddling from door to door--OK, maybe NOT that last idea.Thanks Sarah. :)

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  6. That’s a nice point. I would have to agree that there are markets for genres where the readers are always looking for something to add to their reading list. If you really want to be successful as a writer in terms of book sales, you have to tap that market. If you have written a good story, chances are they’ll notice you. Convincing people to buy your book seems like a hard sell and sounds desperate.

    Katrina Hayes

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  7. Thanks for these tips, Sarah! Marketing can be daunting, and there are a lot of things to consider before you actually implement it. But with these tips, I’m sure they’ll think otherwise. And in my opinion, marketing is your key to success once you found the right formula. Cheers!

    Jean Bridges @ OnPage1

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