by Julie Glover
I've thought about marketing a lot.
I've read books about it, talked with other authors about what worked and what didn't, and tried various approaches. I've mulled over publishing industry changes, book signings and tours, internet tools, and social media. I've learned about Facebook ads, Amazon ads, and dipped my toe into the BookBub world.
One of the best sources for marketing information is this blog right here! Here's just a sampling of author marketing posts you can find on Writers in the Storm:
- Social Media Habits that Support Your Brand AND Your Life
- Using Amazon Categories to Sell More Books
- Want Authorly Superpowers? Build a Street Team!
- Exactly When Is the Best Time to Begin Your Book Marketing?
- Indie Publishing 101– Part III
- The Strategy that Leads to More Book Sales
But Here's the Problem...
I often make big plans and then don't follow through.
I might have a fantastic marketing strategy, all the tools I need to make it happen, and the budget to boot. I start with dollar signs in my eyes and visions of readers devouring my stories with satisfied grins on their faces.
And then I crap out.
Sometimes right away, sometimes much later.
Regardless, marketing is my least favorite part of being an author, and I'm not good at following through with big plans.
What's the Best Plan?
Many authors are naturally talented marketers, others are wonderful learners who apply savvy advice with success, and yet others are simply good at getting the required jobs done. Good for you!
But whether you're a sales genius or an embarrassing failure, I can tell you the best plan for you. After a lot of screwing up, I finally remembered that saying that the best exercise program is the one that you will do.
There's no point in telling yourself that you'll run a marathon when you hate jogging down the street. Nor should you take up ballroom dancing if you have vertigo and two left feet.
Remember how you told yourself at the beginning of a global pandemic that this was your chance to reacquaint yourself with the treadmill? And instead, you spent weeks perfecting your sourdough starter and cinnamon rolls? Surprise! Surprise! You followed through with the thing you actually wanted to do.
It's the same with writing. If you want to do it, you will. If you don't, you ultimately won't.
The best marketing plan is the one you will do.
Sift Through Advice.
You can save yourself a lot of heartache if you'll sift through all book marketing advice with this in mind. Ask yourself questions like:
- What are my marketing strengths?
Embrace those smart marketing tactics that tap into your talents. My coauthor and I have discovered that I suck at doing ads but I'm great at managing our Facebook group. We each play to our strengths.
- Which tasks do I enjoy doing?
What do you look forward to doing? Book signings do not work for many authors, but I know one who loves this one-on-one interaction so much that she becomes a sales powerhouse at signings.
- What marketing is desirable or necessary and what isn't?
Some things you have neither talent nor interest are still necessary tasks. For instance, you are not required to be on social media, but you must write a blurb for your book.
- Which required tasks should I hire out?
Don't like it? Can't do it well? Still need it done? Hire it out! Like you can get help with writing that blurb or hire someone to do your Amazon ads. Whatever needs doing—short of writing the book—someone out there can do it for you.
- What pace is reasonable for me to accomplish tasks?
Get real with yourself about what marketing will look like, given your personality and lifestyle. Not everyone can run the author marketing sprint. You may need to jog to your destination. And that's okay.
- What would success really look like for me?
Consider what results you can expect given who you are and what you'll do. If that image is not the success you want, revisit the points above. Reconfigure the plan until you have something that represents who you are, what you want, and what you will actually, honest-with-yourself complete.
In short—as my Gen-Z sons have often said—you do you. ("As if I could do anyone else," mutters their Gen-X mother.)
What marketing plan ideas have you learned that you will and won't do? What adjustments have you made or need to make?
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Julie Glover writes mysteries and young adult fiction. Her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® and is now on sale! She is also coauthor, under the pen name Jules Lynn, of the supernatural suspense Muse Island Series.
When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.
Images by StartupStockPhotos and Sabine Mondestin from Pixabay