This is what happens when you try to do it all
In my last post I promised to share with you my start-up marketing plan, which is based on three principles.
- Start as early as possible, even before you begin your novel. This gives you plenty of time to immerse yourself slowly into marketing waters and build up your confidence and expertise.
- Start simple. If you try to do it all, it will become too overwhelming and you’ll give up, or end up a blubbering wreck curled up in the foetal position watching re-runs of The Price is Right.
Don’t succumb to information overload, particularly when it comes to social media. There’s always a marketing guru telling you that Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest (or whichever form of social media you’ve just joined) are no longer cool and will try to sell you on the latest trend, which will then become dead in 6 months. Choose a couple – 3 at the most – of social media platforms that you can stick with and ignore the others. Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular and effective for authors.
3. The plan has to be easy enough for you to incorporate into your daily routine. And simple enough that you can change it or move the goalposts. Because you will.
I’ll be frank with you. I haven’t taken my own advice, when it comes to principle number one. I’ve only started my marketing plan in the last few weeks and I’m anticipating my book will be published in about 4 months – 6 at the outside. But as I always say to my kids, you can learn from my mistakes.
Here’s the marketing plan I initially put up on the wall in front of my desk.
- 1 blog post per week.
- At least 1 tweet per day.
- Follow 3 new writers/people in writing industry on Twitter per week
- Contribute to 2 authors forums
- 2 Facebook posts per week
I devised this plan from a number of publications I’d read about marketing for authors. But although on the surface it looks fairly basic, I found it too demanding to fit around my writing time and other commitments.
So then I put up my revised marketing plan.
- 1 blog post per fortnight. I believe in quality over quantity. I would rather post something of value that I’ve had time to think about, write and edit, than something I’ve dashed off hastily for the sake of putting something up. I admire writers who can blog daily, or even twice weekly, but I’m not one of them. Accept your limitations and don’t feel inadequate because of them.
- My 1 tweet per day is more like 1 tweet every second day. When I first signed up to Twitter, I wondered what on earth I would find to tweet about. But I’ve discovered that you don’t have to come up with witty and brilliant insights on a regular basis, if at all. You can simply tweet a link to a blog post, article or website you’ve found useful. This literally takes less than a minute, creates goodwill because the person whose blog post you’ve tweeted will get a notification that you’ve tweeted it and is a useful resource for other people following you. When you Twitter regularly it doesn’t take long to attract followers. And this is the point of it – to create a network of people with similar interests so you can help each other.
- I follow as many new writers on Twitter as I want. I’m not putting a number on it or a time. Sometimes it will be 2 in a week, some weeks none. I look carefully at a person or organisation’s profile before I follow them to make sure they are writing/publishing in genres I’m interested in, otherwise I’ll get little value from it. And I don’t have time to read hundreds of Tweets per week.
- Contribute to 1 authors forum. I’m even struggling to keep up contributions to this. The idea of joining an authors forum is to connect with other writers for support and information and you can also put samples of your work up for critique. It’s more informal and friendly than many forms of social media and a by-product is that you’re extending your network of potential buyers of your book. Being an Aussie, I’ve joined the Australian Writers Forum. It’s an excellent forum, with a great bunch of friendly, helpful members and I’m trying to organise myself to spend more time there.
- One Facebook post per week. Don’t make the mistake of putting the same content on Facebook as you do for Twitter. I use Facebook for more personal, chatty posts where I talk about a workshop or event I’ve enjoyed, a blog post I’ve found useful or any other aspect of writing that I think is worth sharing. Keep it short, a paragraph or two is enough.
So you can see that I’ve had to move the goalposts and at times I still don’t meet my weekly goals. But I don’t stress over it. The most important thing you do as a writer is write and if I’m short of time and I have to toss up between writing and marketing, I’ll choose the writing.
Any thoughts on my marketing plan? Or suggestions? I’d love to hear about your experiences in marketing your book.