Have you ever sat on the beach and watched the surfers. They spend a lot of time sitting out in the ocean waiting for the right wave to come. They've learned patience and how to recognize when the timing is right. They try a lot of different waves because you never know when a wave is going to break just right and be a big one. Surfers also know that you can't wait for the right wave sitting on the beach and then rush out to try to catch it. They know you need to be positioned out in the water, ready to seize the opportunity when it hits.
Marketing is a lot like surfing.
They try a lot of waves and so should you. What worked for one author may not work for you. At the same time an idea that flopped on your first book might be the key to success for your third. If you only ever go after the waves considered a "sure thing". You might miss the one that rockets your book in the public eye.
Surfers have patience. If they rush at a wave before it's ready it will roll under them. If they wait too late it will roll them. Same goes for a marketing campaign. If you start talking about your book a year before the release, readers will be tired of hearing about it by the time the book comes out. But if you wait too long to contact bloggers, they won't have time to review your book to hit that first week rush.
They are out there in the water with their board in position. You never know when a new opportunity is going to come along or a message is going to hit just right to catch on. You can't sit on the beach hoping the right wave comes to you. Go out in the water and find it.
You can't just sit out in the ocean, splashing around. You need your board in position. Get your website cleaned up, Have promotional materials written up and ready to be sent to the right people, make yourself easy to contact. And get your head in the game. Keep your mind open to the unique opportunities that might come your way.
Surfers have amazing balance. While riding a wave they are constantly shifting their center of balance to keep their board flat and their head dry. As an author (and owner of your own small business) you need to find the balance in your life. Make time for marketing, but keep new words flowing. Focus on your business, but don't forget to take time for yourself and your family. No one said being an author would be easy. Then again, nothing worth really having ever is.
Surf's up, dudes.