Do You Cringe When Authors Market Their Books?

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by Pink Sherbet Photography

Do you sometimes get turned off by writers who try to market their books online or at conferences?
For instance:

  • An author who shares engaging updates on social media, but where 1 in 10 of those Tweets or status updates includes a reference to a book that they have for sale.
  • A blog post (such as this one) that offers useful tips for writers within a community website, but then references a book they wrote on the topic.

What if, right now, I linked to a $5 ebook I wrote on how you can sell more ebooks and suggested you buy it? You just cringed, right? Don’t worry, that link only takes you to a picture of My Little Pony.

What is it about money that makes us question someone’s intentions? What are the “rules” about if and when you can actually inform people that you have a book you wouldn’t mind they check out?

Tad Hargrave has an interesting way of looking at what marketing is, the following is from a talk he gave in the UK:

“I find that a lot of people are in this situation where they are good at what they do, they have spent a lot of time and money learning to do what they do, but they haven’t necessarily learned how to articulate it or market it. If I had to sum up marketing in a sentence, I would say that marketing is about establishing the value beyond the immediately apparent. This is one of the core challenges in marketing: how do we take what is good on the inside, and make sure that gets seen and understood on the outside.”

He lists four reasons that marketing is valuable:

  1. Even if money isn’t your primary goal, good marketing will provide a solid financial backbone to your career.
  2. We don’t need more stuff, there is so much great stuff already out there. The trick is to get people to know about the things that they would genuinely like. We need more people with cool things to be better at marketing them, instead of the people who are selling stuff that literally kills us becoming the great marketers.
  3. If you are successful, you inspire others. If you are able to sustain yourself financially with your writing, that gives others even more hope that they should continue down the path of honing their craft. I go to a fair number of writing conferences, and the sessions that are always packed are those where an author is speaking on how he or she sold 100,000 books or made $1 million dollars in the process. Now, I KNOW that we are here for the culture, for the craft, for the self-expression; but I don’t see many people attending many conference sessions titled “I Wrote a Pretty Good Book That 36 People Bought; Learn How I Did It.” I see people packing the room to hear Darcie Chan tell her story; or Bella Andre share advice.
  4. Marketing helps you be better at what you do. That when you consider who your audience is, you become better at translating the deep value of what you do to the needs or passions of those you hope to reach.

Daniel Pink has a new book coming out called To Sell Is Human, which touches upon this very topic. From the book description:

“Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.”

I think that too often, we fight the idea that finance can have a place in a creative community. We see it as something needy and selfish, not something that can create sustainability. To me, a community needs commerce. That it’s not bad to want to sustain one’s passion by having a revenue stream to support it.

The trick for many creatives seems to be to learn how to market WELL. That if you embrace it instead of fight it, you can make it more about communication, and less about trying to control the actions of others. When someone fights the very idea of marketing, they can almost set themselves up to market poorly. For instance, just before a book launch, they scramble at the last moment, and rely on the most obvious ways of spreading the word about their book, which are often the very tactics that many of us are tired of seeing online and offline.

Really good marketers communicate messages in a way that doesn’t sound or feel like marketing. They do this not by tricking you, but by reframing the conversation. They make it about shared beliefs or values; they understand the topics and language that excite their potential audience.

Seth Godin preaches this: the idea of permission marketing. But he is also the one that cleverly used marketing tactics to raise $287,342 in his Kickstarter project.

Sometimes it is easy to make fun of marketing when you yourself have nothing to promote. So many creative people eschew any form of publicity or marketing when they see it in others. But, down the road when their own work finally sees the light of day – when five years of effort needs to be validated by someone showing up to your free gallery exhibit, buy your $4.99 ebook, or donating $10 to support you racing for a cure, etc – you suddenly realize how COMMUNICATION is a core need. And that may take the form of marketing.

When you have a book coming out, suddenly you realize the desperately short window you have to hear ANYONE talking about it. So I don’t want to pretend that “marketing” is about “me me me me publicity.” People create meaningful work for deeply personal reasons. They want to spread the word because it requires so much serendipity, catching people in just the right mood at just the right moment in a world overwhelmed with messages.

What I find mostly is not that people need to do LESS marketing, but rather they need to simply market better. We don’t need more quantity, but greater effectiveness. That, as Tad said above, when you take marketing seriously, you learn about your audience, you learn what matters to them, and you learn how, when, where and WHY you can effectively communicate to them. That if many authors took marketing more seriously earlier in their book launch process, it wouldn’t come off like marketing at all. Or at least, not as much.

Marketing is inherently it is about two things:

  • Communication
  • Trust

It is about finding the right fit.

And that even those we respect continue to market their work, we have to ask: is it marketing or is it really just sharing? If I look at Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page, we see plenty of posts about her experiences day to day and things she really likes. But we also see updates about her books. Is this bad?

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

Just look at people’s reactions in the “likes” and comments.

What I find in general, is that people have different sensitivities to, and definitions of marketing. In closing, all I can ask is that you please please please buy my ebook.
:)
-Dan

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About Dan Blank

Dan Blank is the founder of WeGrowMedia, where he helps writers share their stories and connect with readers. He has helped hundreds of authors via online courses, events, consulting, and workshops, and worked with amazing publishing houses and organizations who support writers such as Random House, Workman Publishing, Abrams Books, Writers House, The Kenyon Review, Writer’s Digest, Library Journal, and many others.

Comments

  1. says

    Dan, I got warm fuzzies reading this post because it supports what I’ve always believed: writers need to market their work. Yes, of course we need to market ourselves, but as you say, “better and smarter,” and by building communication and trust with our social media friends. Through your great Author Platform Building course, I’m learning how to do this.

    I remember my cousin in Chicago who sold tiny plastic disposable raincoats at busy intersections. I cringed. “How can you?” I asked. Imagine my surprise when I learned he’d paid for his nice home this way. I don’t think we writers want to stand at busy social media intersections and hawk our work, but if we build the trust and communication you advocate, and if we do so from a well-developed platform, I think we’ll find ways to keep a roof over our heads.

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    • says

      Thanks Mary! I think that nowadays we are seeing more and more examples of writers able to support themselves via writing. But even more: we are able to see the connections they have with their fans. When I look at the comments on Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page, it becomes so clear as to the EFFECT a writer has, and how connecting with others creates even more meaning.

      Thanks!
      -Dan

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  2. says

    I just unfollowed one author’s blog because every blog post used one of their own books (and usually their newest) as an example of good writing. It was quite clear to me that they couched their ‘helpful advice’ as ads for their books. Such as “The Three Part Plot: How I Did It”.

    I’m cool if people want to do that once in awhile, but when every phrase in every post has been written to remind people 1) what a great author they are, and 2) buy my book now!, my interest wanes fast.

    I agree that trust and communication go a long way, but there’s a lot of authors who fiercely believe that’s what they are doing, but care not one bit about the people on the other side, which is really what builds trust. Trust is two-way; you have to have reader’s interest in mind, too.

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    • says

      Lynn,
      Great point. I think EMPATHY is such a necessary tool here, that authors need to listen to their community before they create any kind of marketing plan.

      Thanks.
      -Dan

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  3. says

    Could I buy your My Little Pony book? Of course, I opened both those links and laughed both times. The animation was the kicker.

    Leave ’em laughing and you’ll eventually have them eating out of your hand. Great post!

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  4. says

    The how-tos of effective marketing can feel overwhelming. There are more advice articles and posts on the subject, each with their own particular success slant, than one could possibly read and take in. “Commercial” “art” has inherent conflicts but the concept mating is inevitable. Thanks for adding to the knowledge.

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    • says

      Julie,
      I agree, there is a lot of talk out there. What I find interesting is that art and commerce do not NEED to collide. One can create art for the sake of art. But… I also find that many (MANY!) writers, artists and musicians really want their work experienced by others. They either want the validation or they feel that experiencing art/music/writing somehow completes it.

      Thanks.
      -Dan

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  5. Bob Greene says

    Very informative article. I agree with those who say some writers put too much self promotion in every sentence. Marketing is not a bad thing, but balance is required. Of course there is nothing like having a national celebrity announce they are reading your book for a new movie. Dream on.

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    • says

      Thanks Bob. The irony is that I have seen some people get great publicity that way, and it really launches them. But for others, nothing happens.

      -Dan

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  6. Linda Pennell says

    Marketing! Ugh! Just contemplating it makes my head swim. Because so much rests these days on the author’s shoulders alone, however, I try to be understanding when people push their babies a little or a lot too hard. Publishing has become either a very scary place or one filled with new opportunities to control one’s destiny. YIKES!

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  7. says

    Hey, Dan, thanks for this post. I’ll tell you what I think. Lucky you. :)

    I think the big part of marketing that folks aren’t good at involves place. As in where you do your marketing, and when you do it. What’s appropriate?

    For example, of course Strayed should be shooting up flares about her book on her own Facebook page. On her web site. On her Google+ page. In her own living room with the Tupperware. Any space that’s hers? By all means, and never mind the fact that I’m so sick of that shoe on her cover I’d like to back the car over it. That shoe has been very, very good to Cheryl, and I’m glad for her.

    A place I wouldn’t appreciate her telling us about her next course in tying one’s hiking boots or about her next book with a tennis shoe on the cover or asking us to “come on out” and do some shoestring promotion with her? Here, at Writer Unshod, or in other blog spaces that are presented as offering Pure Posts.

    Mind you, if she bought an ad? GREAT. Shoes up and down the left alley. Fine, fine, fine. (Teri, take her money, quick.) But make the post pure.

    Even if she decides to do some promotion WITH Writer Unboxed (and I wish she would) — give away a pair of hiking boots? That would be cool, because at Writer Unboxed, Teri and Kath are great about telling us “this one is a giveaway” or whatever, rather than towel-popping us with with that nasty surprise at the bottom.

    What I don’t care for is that nasty surprise at the bottom.

    You see it on other blog sites. Somebody writes what appears to be a perfectly straight-up post about whatever and then all of a sudden, “so that’s why I wrote my book, to share with you people all these smart things I know.” Towel pop!

    I’m saying I want to see those Marketing Moments in their place. That might be one’s footer at the bottom of the post, or an intro, or bio-box. That’s where the marketing goes.

    I actually need to be careful about this, myself. I’ve run back through my own WU posts, and I think I probably mention my other columns too frequently and should let the footer do that. So I’m talking to myself here, too.

    It’s when Pure Post turns into advertising — as if we’re too dumb to catch on — that I’m in trouble with it. I’m not sure authors are so bad at marketing, at least not in the US. We live in a marketing society, no American is bad at marketing. I just think the online world — and publishing’s place in it — is so new, still, that it’s been hard for a lot of folks to find the border lines.

    You know who does this well?

    Our Don Maass. Buys an ad for his book here at WU. His posts? Clean. Footer? – great for his books, his courses, anything he likes. And when Kath or Teri does a Take Five interview with him about his book, that’s OK, too, because, again, those author-interviews are set up AS book-related stuff, they really do that carefully. We know we’re going to get “and then I just knew that Gladys was the only name for my heroine.” (Don did say that, right?) That’s fine. And Don — who has a lot to sell, including agenting — hasn’t, to my knowledge, tried pushing his stuff on us in-post, he’s been admirably restrained, not to mention enviably readable and smart.

    Anywhere we go online in the writing community, I think we do well to remember that our fellow writers are easily confused with our main reading audience.

    And even if one’s product-on-offer is for other writers, unless the setting is meant to promote that thing, don’t come kissing my baby.

    I think I’d just hop in where you ask in your post today, “Is it marketing or is it really just sharing?” We can tell the difference. We’re American. I don’t think I believe anybody (even myself) who gets all innocent-faced and says, “Oh, boy, I guess I might have been marketing, but I thought I was just sharing.”

    Cmonson. There’s this bridge, goes to Brooklyn, I could share it with you for an excellent price.

    At the point you ask that question? Cheryl Strayed is marketing and a lot of what she’s doing looks like sharing — that’s a technique — and that’s just super because she’s on her own Facebook page. There, she’s allowed to make it look like sharing or horseback riding, if she likes. Anything she wants. Because it’s the right place to do it.

    Has Strayed GOT a line of hiking boots yet? Hmmm. If not, maybe I’d better talk to her about … sharing footwear.

    I’m saying place. Place. Setting. Context. And I’m saying it to myself as well as to everybody else.

    Thanks again for the post. Obviously, you touched a big nerve for me. I read so much online, this confusion is in my face, day in and day out.

    Porter Sez, lol, when it’s time to post, post a Pure Post.

    When it’s time to market, market your brains out and make it look just as share-y and warm and fuzzy as you like, BUT not in the middle of something you know we all expect to be a Pure Post.

    OK, I’ll shut up. But does anybody know how to make the “latest post” thing on here update? Mine always shows a Writing on the Ether that’s two weeks old as the newest one. And I’d like to share that thing with you guys on a more timely basis. :)

    -p.

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    • says

      Well hello Porter, you ray of sunshine! Thanks for popping into my post here, and sharing an in-depth Porter-rific take on the subject.

      While I (as usual) read your post nodding my head up and down, I tend to think a bit differently than you on some of this. I don’t think we all read articles as “pure posts” and then are (“oh myyyy”) surprised at the “nasty surprise at the bottom” as you call it when there is a mention of a book. My gut is that we are adults, we live in a marketing driven culture, and that there is a false belief that products and finance mean we have crossed a line.

      I mean, did you click on the My Little Pony links? :)

      I suppose one question I am always considering is the ability of writers/musicians/artists to actually financially support themselves via their work, and what comes beyond traditional advertising and publicity.

      Thanks for your (always) thoughtful commentary!
      -Dan

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  8. says

    Thanks for promoting the soft sell. Marketing is a process not an event. First comes awareness, then interest and finally sales. When you try to sell from the get-go it’s easy to come off negative or pushy.

    I sent an inquiry to an editor recently asking about her services and schedules. She wrote back telling me she was booked but I could check out her writing books and use them to get started. Then I could check back with her at a later date to see if her schedule had improved.

    The next day, I found she’d added me to her eNewsletter distribution list. Inappropriate 2X.

    Any marketing is intrusive. Successful marketing provides value to the prospect or customer. If every communication you send or post has value–to the reader–you’re marketing successfully and building your brand.

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    • says

      Richard,
      Thanks – that’s a great example of context and actions. Also: you have now been added to my newsletter list.

      Okay, just kidding.
      Have a great day!
      -Dan

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  9. Ray Pace says

    There’s a balance between selling yourself as an interesting person and selling the work as something someone might want to read. Certainly, to me the constant bombardment via email by those daily experts hustling their writing and marketing secrets with teasers designed toward going after your cash results in a big turn off. A question I frequently ask when so accosted: “How did the publishing world ever get along without this expert?”

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    • says

      Ray,
      I have seen many of those offers, the ones that seem to put a time limit as to when you can take advantage of their offer or completely miss out. That said, there are plenty of REALLY helpful folks out there who I feel have their heart in the right place and align WITH writers.

      Thanks!
      -Dan

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  10. says

    I’m glad to see something on marketing better. Too much of what writers are given is a “once size fits all,” and there are some things that people will not able to do effectively. I was at a science fiction convention where they had a panel on this. A lot of publishers are pushing writers to do everything on social media to market, often without regard for what the writers will be a good at.

    I’m in the category of tired of being marketed to. I used to follow a writer well-known for his writing expertise. But earlier this year, I saw a book that he tweeted a recommendation for by another author. Looked interesting so I bought it. The book was poorly written and had structural problems. Then I found the recommending author had written it under a pen name. It was really pretty dishonest playing it like a recommendation when it wasn’t. I started watching his tweets — he had begun to send out daily advertisements about his books and now I was looking at the ones by “other authors” and wondering if they were his. Sometimes marketing brings out the worst in people when they have to make sales.

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  11. says

    Actually, I’m rather sick of it all. Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe I’m just becoming jaded. Maybe I’m so tired of all the white noise and hollering and people scrabbling to be known/noticed. I think we devalue ourselves with the constant jumping up and down with our hands in the air like Horshack yelling “oh oh oh oh oh ohohohohoh!”

    Way I see it, there will always be people, whether they are writers, artists, actors, musicians, quilters, models, pet rock creators, athletes, dog trainers, hipster bloggers, reality star wannabes, dancers, chefs – etc -who are good at and who understand and who enjoy marketing and promo and can manipulate it to their advantage, and then there are people like me who flail about in the dark and find it excruciatingly boring and uncomfortable and confusing to market and self-promo her books/herself.

    I’m feeling awfully rebellious about it all, and more and more tired of finding my twitter feed, my facebook page, my email, etc, full of people asking me to *fill in blank with some request* Does that mean I don’t want my books to sell and be successful? Of course it doesn’t – it just means maybe I’m not willing to be who I am not and if that means I don’t do as well in this business, then, well, that’s just how it is.

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    • says

      Kathryn –

      You’re not the only one who’s tired of it, but the key is “white noise.” There’s a huge difference, I think, between the “oh oh oh oh oh ohohohohoh!” and smart marketing with strong messages that last. There’s so little of the latter. Many people out there on twitter, Facebook, etc seem to confuse congratulating each other and cheering each other on with the good marketing Dan is talking about. I hope they’ll read this post.

      -Sharon

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  12. says

    I listened to an audio fitness book where this woman mentioned on what seemed like every other page her website, her products and another book. That turned me off but I think its understandable to market your product but its how. I think the way you mentioned other people’s products and services in this blog was good marketing.

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  13. says

    Brigitte,
    I have seen similar things, and often I find the TONE really matters. Some people are able to mention their other products in a way that (while still promotional) feels different than others.

    Thanks.
    -Dan

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  14. says

    I need to start keeping a list of the authors I consider to be great marketers and why it works for them, because I do think there are different models.

    There are the alpha-leader marketers who sell themselves as much as their product, and when people purchase their book, it’s often more out of a desire to capture and exude that moxie than use the product. (There’s a male author making the rounds right now I’d consider part of this category.)

    There are the teachers who are motivated by others’ interests, so they’ll match problem to solution, and if one solution happens to be their book, then awesome, but that’s not the expectation. Because they love knowledge, and then put that knowledge into their books, we trust their opinion and their products.

    There are the hugely generous and vulnerable people like Cheryl Strayed, who gain power through being vulnerable, passionate, and humbled. They *share* their news within their communities rather than use a bullhorn to command attention.

    Where the awkwardness and cringing come in, I think, is when people don’t know who they are or haven’t matched the message to their meaning and personality. (Or like Porter says, the medium and the audience dynamics.) We sense the schism, even when it’s not overt, and it can come across as manipulation or duplicity when really it’s only ignorance or inexperience.

    Sigh. I was never good at this stuff, but it is fascinating.

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    • says

      Jan,
      Oooh, I really like all of this – thanks! What I sometimes find though is that one person will think an author is being “genuine and sharing” (and not marketing) because they 100% align with the author. They drank the kool-aid. But someone else could see that author, not be a big fan of theirs, and see what they do as TONS of marketing and publicity tactics.

      I noticed this (in just an easy example) during the presidential debates. I followed Facebook and Twitter while I watched, and noticed that:
      If someone LOVED Candidate A, then everything they did was strong and meaningful. And… that the other candidate just seemed manipulative to them. And for fans of Candidate B, it was the polar opposite.

      I have seen this online too: the person who has a big and vocal fan base, but privately, people would indicate to me that feel marketed to too forcefully from that person.

      I suppose that, to a certain degree, it is a matter of perspective.

      Thanks.
      -Dan

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  15. Jenn Hubbard says

    If I’m following an author’s blog or Twitter stream, I do expect that author to announce new book releases, movie deals, and major awards. That’s one reason I’m following! I remember hunting in vain around a favorite author’s website, trying to find out when the heck his next book was coming out …

    I also like some “behind-the-scenes” peeks of why that author wrote certain books certain ways, and other backstage material. And I don’t mind book mentions when they come in naturally. (Hey, if something just happened to you in real life that’s exactly like a scene you put in a novel two years ago–that’s interesting!)

    I think we can all tell when a blog post or a Tweet has been deliberately stretched and twisted JUST so that the author can mention his book. That’s when it’s annoying.

    And what I mostly look for on social media: Is there a person behind this site, talking like a human being, even if she occasionally mentions her books? Or does this seem to be a content mill, churning out ads over and over–in which case, I’ll pass?

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    • says

      Jenn,
      Great point about the content mill. That it all has to come from some authentic place. Though, I do find that when people find a nice authentic person, they tend to want more from them! :)

      I follow some folks who vlog on YouTube and deal with this very thing in a public way.
      Thanks!
      -Dan

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  16. says

    I’ve seen a lot of these posts about how being a marketer is what will power your career forward. I’m not trying to be a jerk, but what makes me read books is an author’s talent, not how they market. Real talent is so rare that, even if the writer’s a jerk, if he’s a great talent, I’ll read all his books. And I don’t mind if they pimp their books, as long as that’s not all they do. Maybe that’s because I’m a writer, though.

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    • says

      A.R.,
      Thanks for the response here. How I try to view this is NOT “become a marketer,” but simply: don’t devalue the basics of communication and relationships in people even finding out a book exists.

      So in your example, you choose to only read work of high quality. How did you find that work? Did you only read books that had 100+ five star Amazon reviews? Was it word of mouth from a friend? Was it a review in the NYT? Was it mentioned on a book blog?

      Because all of those things (and many more) often occur from proactive steps that an author, a publisher, a publicist takes.

      And for the author of the book you are reading that you LOVE. The author who has major talent? Are they a bestseller? Are they financially sustaining themselves via their writing, or are they also working a day job as an accountant, and raising 3 kids? Do they have the time/space in their life to keep writing AMAZING books?

      And I 100% agree, a writer needs to protect their writing time, not just from “marketing” but from so so so many other things in their lives that are begging for their attention, including the TV set.

      Thanks.
      -Dan

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      • says

        Great points. I tell my writers that generally organic based marketing is their best bet. If they hang around places that they enjoy where their ideal reader is also likely to be, make sure that their profile has links to their blog and where to find their books, they have a good chance of people liking them, checking out their profile, following their blog, buying their books, recommending them to others. On their space they should split their time between their book(s), similar books/authors, and topics of interest to them and their ideal reader. This keeps them from being “that kind of writer”, lets them just be themselves online, and makes sure information about their books is readily available and mentioned appropriately. For some clients and friends mentioning their books more frequently is appropriate as “one size” does not fit all but for newbies this helps them get comfortable and keeps them from creating bad habits.

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        • says

          Thanks Tasha – all really good advice. From my viewpoint, a bit too much has been made of general advice online of “just be awesome, and people will find you and buy your stuff.” I find that to have a serious professional career, with real revenue streams, that often doesn’t work. Yes, it feels nice to say it, it feels nice to think it, but business is hard. Having a strategy helps, trying new things helps, building a real business backbone helps. And while we all hear these success stories of I worry about people waiting for lottery tickets to come in.

          But… that is also the beauty of how the web has empowered us. Each writer can do what feels right to THEM. One can be as passive or active in this process.

          Thanks!
          -Dan

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  17. says

    Hi Dan,
    An excellent post about a delicate subject. The replies from your viewers are very enlightening. The setting for my novel is a tea plantation and I did a tons of research on tea and tea growing. I share that on my blog and try to stick to my three subjects of Tea, Writing and Life. It seems to have worked for me. Thanks for your insights. :) Shona

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  18. says

    Can I be blunt? Most men do not have any prob with marketing OR people marketing to them. Women, on the other hand, seemed to be offended YET they read the books that are marketed the best and refer them to their friends. We need to stop thinking that selling is bad. Selling is everything. Also I asked a group of lawyers WHY they went to law school? Almost all of them said” to get a high paying job.” Why is it that ARTISTS (writers) think they have to say a profound and moral “why” to it and that they “wrote from the heart?” hmmmm?

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    • says

      Diana,
      First, I think my next guest post should be called “Can I be blunt?” in your honor, and ask for all readers of the Writer Unboxed community to share their thoughts as openly as possible! Thank you for that.

      Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to say “selling is everything,” but your point is very well taken. We are too often ashamed of sales and marketing. We are oftentimes discouraged to be motivated by success that involved any form of finance. And that leads us down many dead-ends.

      Thanks!
      -Dan

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    • says

      Diana – to be blunt right back: I agree with you, and worry that there’s a disproportionate number of women writers out there who are fortunate enough to have their material needs pretty much covered by spouses, so the drive to market is less powerful. There are also many moms for whom writing is more a question of identity than sales. Perhaps this has something to do with what you’ve pointed out?…

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  19. Cathy says

    I expect writers to promote their work on their blogs, websites, etc., even if it’s just in a footnote at the bottom. I actually get annoyed if I have to sift through someone’s page to find this information. It’s a take it or leave it mentality. If a reader is not interested, the reader can move on. We’re all bombarded with continuous feeds of information in everything we do. We just need to filter out the fluff.

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    • says

      Cathy,
      It’s those filters that marketers OBSESS over, and try to find ways around. They do unusual things that defy your given expectations. To marketers, it is an art form, or at least: a craft.
      :)
      -Dan

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  20. says

    Yay! Thanks for expressing this. As a PR / marketing pro, I often feel so frustrated when I hear authors say something like, “my real business is the business of words.” What good are beautiful prose and stories if few people will ever read them?

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    • says

      Sharon,
      Using the word “business” is key here. I do believe in art for art’s sake (or writing for writing’s sake.) But if one wants to get into the BUSINESS of publishing or the BUSINESS of writing, then other skills are required as well.
      Thanks.
      -Dan

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  21. Lauren Smith says

    Excellent article! I agree that marketing is about connecting with people and building that trust. Thanks for sharing Daniel Pink’s book! Another good read on this is by author Lisa Anderson entitled, Leverage Social Networks to Drive Business Results. Anderson offers a unique perspective on how to collaborate in order to leverage and be successful on your social networks. I highly recommend her book. http://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/

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  22. says

    A very timely and erudite post Dan …

    Like an excited child, I’ve been posting reviews, snippets, interviews on my new book for the last couple of months.

    I decided to lower the frequency this week and guess what … I am expending much less effort and the results are about the same.

    Less can sometimes be more …

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  23. Maggie Brown says

    Someone I follow on Twitter posts the same teaser for her book every week. Every week. I googled the phrase, and got over 50 hits – from her past tweets, her Facebook page, her blog… Marketing at its most cringe-worthy.

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  24. says

    Thanks for the interesting post. I’m not currently selling anything, I’m still working on my first book, but I post short stories, around 600 words, every few days on my blog. It’s hard enough for me promoting my site and increasing my social media contacts, I can’t imagine how difficult it will be down the road. But, you’re posts give me hope!

    Thanks,
    Jim

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  25. says

    This is such a good article. I agree, I think a writer has to find the best method for them. A plan that they are comfortable with. I’m not a pushy sales person, I’d rather interact with my readers and let my books do the talking. I’m much more comfortable now than when I was shoving my book down everyone’s throat’s and sounding like a desperate author. It doesn’t have to be like that. And I was not selling any books! Work out a plan that’s best for you. This article is funny, and insightful.

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