A psychology professor was lecturing his class one day, and asked the following question: “How would you diagnose a man who is standing and screaming at the top of his lungs one moment, then drops into a chair and weeps the next?”
Welcome to March Madness everyone. One of my favorite times of the sporting year. Always a great underdog story or two. And some player stepping up his game to become a national star.
But that’s not the point of my introduction. It’s more about stress and a little something we could call Marketing Madness.
I have a number of friends who came up the “traditional” way. After working to hone their craft and going through the typical rejection cycle, they landed contracts with a publisher. They stayed productive, built up a career.
And then, as they say, stuff happened.
Like the Kindle.
Amazon introduced its industry-changing device in November of 2007. Publishers, at first, rubbed their hands in glee, for they could sell books that didn’t require printing or warehousing, but could be priced the same as a hardcover! (O, what a wake-up was awaiting them!)
No one could have foreseen what this was going to mean for writers. It’s a quaint stroll down memory lane to look at blog posts from those early years of the digital revolution. One of the first indie cheerleaders, Joe Konrath, had this to say:
At this date, May 31 2009, agents and publishers are necessary. Any author who wants to make writing their fulltime job can only support themselves by selling print books, and the agents and publishers are a crucial part of this industry.
But how about in 2012? 2015? 2025?
At this same time, however, the economy was in the tank, the long-term results of which would be fewer contracts offered to writers seeking a place inside the Forbidden City. For so-called “midlist” writers, many felt the big squeeze. Some were not offered another contract. Others saw their advances slashed.
Which meant more writers taking a serious look at self-publishing.
By 2013, your humble scrivener was mostly indie, and began to hear from traditional colleagues wondering if they ought to stick their toe in the self-pub waters. I responded, “Come on in! The water’s fine. And there’s room for everybody!”
So some took a tentative step, some dove, a few did cannonballs. And at first it was a giddy delight. But about a year-and-a-half ago I started to hear rumblings from a few of the newly selfed. Things like:
Marketing is taking up too much of my time!
I wish I could just write!
I don’t know what works to get the word out!
I keep trying things, and I’m frustrated!
I can’t possibly do what [the latest indie superstar marketer] does!
Writing isn’t fun anymore …
That’s when I decided write about book marketing––what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be done, what can be largely ignored. The result is Marketing For Writers Who Hate Marketing: The No-Stress Way to Sell Books Without Losing Your Mind.
I wasn’t interested in writing yet another tome listing every marketing idea available to mankind. Rather, this book has two primary concerns:
- To relieve writers of the worry that they’re not doing enough.
- To show writers how to prioritize the few tasks that do the most good, so they can spend the bulk of their time doing what they love most––writing!
Yes, we all have to do some marketing––be ye indie, traditional, or a mix. Publishers want you out there on social media, but how much is enough? Even more to the point, how much is too much? When does a flurry of marketing activity begin to negatively affect the most important thing of all––your writing?
This book is my answer. The chapters are:
- What, You Worry?
- The Single Most Important Marketing Tool
- The First Impression
- Cover Copy That Sizzles and Sells
- The Crucial Opening Pages
- What Price Is Right?
- Productivity and Links
- The Care and Feeding of an Email List
- Your Website and Amazon Author Page
- Your Book Launch
- Short Writing as a Marketing Tool
- Live Networking
- Things That Suck Time
- Things That Cost Money
- Platform Paranoia
- Social Media Madness
- If You Want to Go Further
Here is where you can find the ebook:
If you prefer print::
With the time crunch we all feel, it’s more important than ever to assess our available activities via ROI (Return on Investment). Another was to put it is the venerable Pareto Principle (often called the 80/20 Rule), which counsels focusing on the 20% of actions that make a real difference, and avoid expending too much energy (“the law of diminishing returns”) on the 80% that don’t add enough value.
That observation alone should help you sleep better if marketing your books is causing you too much stress. March Madness, good. Marketing Madness, not.
What are your feelings toward marketing? Does it worry you? Frustrate you? Is it something you bear with quiet patience … or with a primal scream?