This picture has nothing to do with marketing, but it’s adorable, so I’m sharing. Twenty seven chicks arrive by snowmobile to our ranch yesterday afternoon. All night long, the house sounds like an early summer morning outside, inside. Now, they are somewhat settled and silent and I’m smiling… And all because of him…
About that marketing thing.
OK, so, you got a beautiful book in your hands, and you spent years getting it to this point (at least it took me years)… now what do you do about it? Because remember this: writers do not do all this work just to hold the pretty thing in our hands. We do it to share it. Yes, we must write for ourselves, to please ourselves, because we have something to say. But secretly (or otherwise) we hope someone is going to like what we write and how we write it.
So, that sharing… I think they call this part, technically: Marketing.
When I started not just writing since I’ve been doing that a long while, but getting close to actually publishing which is still brand new for me, I didn’t think this was part of it. The marketing part. Maybe most writers do not. I don’t think selling oneself is something that comes naturally to a writer. We can be a quiet sort. At least, I am. Though I’m surprised how much I can reach out. Maybe not enough. I know there are still some e-mails and hand written letters left without a response. I’m sorry. I hate doing that. Everyone matters. Everyone. If I don’t write back right away, chances are I may forget. Not that the person is not important, only that other things get piled on top and a few get buried below.
For some reason, getting the book out there matters to me. I’m going to guess this is not uncommon for authors. Not for the money, but for the acceptance. I want people to like my writing. That may be stupid, I know… but…
Do I write for me? Yes. Primarily. For I’ve found I won’t compromise. But I also write for others, or rather, hope they will like what I write. Does that make sense? If I had more confidence, and I am not so certain I ever will because I used to say, “Once I’m published, I’ll be more confident…” and I am not.
Right, so I know I need to learn not to let these things matter. But how do you feel so much and not let yourself get down? Feel less? How? And is that really what I want? When that is what my writing is so often about…
So, we market. Try to sell our book. Not for the money, but for the love. We want to be read like we want to be accepted. I can accept that.
The how-to’s of marketing include such obvious aspects as using social media, networking, asking friends for help, cold calling and following up warmly. I’m not going into that here and now for risk of trying to sound like a pro at something I am not. If we ever get a best seller and top the charts and I have something solid on the subject you want to hear, like, “Look what I can do,” great, I’ll give you that lecture then.
I have a very intimate, personal book and style of writing that’s not meant to appease the masses, and as my friend reminds me, I’m not looking to be Danielle Steel. My work is harder to sell on many levels. Not the least of which is this. It is a part of me. Onto the pages, I have bled. How do you sell a part of yourself?
Step back, and treat it like a business. Grow up and get over it. Stop taking it so darned personally.
As my publisher, Sammie, and I were discussing, this grassroots approach to marketing we are taking is based on (1) sincerity, (2) the expectation that one must give more than one will receive in social medias and networks, and (3) keeping it personal. That said, one must learn to draw the line and not give too much of oneself. That is a tricky matter. Balancing our sense of giving, sharing and self preservation. Our tendency can be to give too much, try too hard. And the end of day, you’ll know if you’ve gone too far. Look in the mirror and see if you’re still smiling. (For the record, I was not last night.)
Finding the right outlets in which to share is essential. There are so many out there, so many options, suggestions, ideas, directions… and if you tried them all, you’d spread yourself thin and more often than not, fall through the ice. Or maybe be barking up the wrong tree.
I think it always comes down to this: sincerity. And ultimately it is our words that will share themselves.
All in due time.
This marketing thing has brought me tremendous ups and downs this week. Insecurities and celebrations sharing the same days. A sense of feeling very lost.
This is ridiculous. My poor boys. Heck, poor me!
So the rest of plan is this. I’m calling it quits. I am done with this part for now. I have another few days of contacts I promised myself (and Sammie) I’d reach out to and give it a shot and then I’m going back to what I do best. Writing.
Until I get a second wind. Or new ideas. And try my hand at marketing again.
Oh, and yes. Rough draft of book three? Check. Done!
14 thoughts on “The thing about marketing.”
Good Morning Gin, I am dashing out the door this morning but I am moved to let you know I have an in with the Whole Foods book buyer. Please let me know if you are interested. Warmly, Sandy Young ( Alyssa Young’s mom)
Sandy, I so appreciate your thinking of me. I would love your help. Thank you…
I’m sorry to hear that the marketing is a troubling thing. You are right to go back to the writing to re-energize … and such beautiful images.
The problem is quite simple, Harold. Two letters. M. E. I simply take it all too personally. Time to grow up?
I found this post so refreshing. I know you are frustrated at your thin skin but for me, I am similar (the fight between selling and why I write) and it is nice to read that another is too. Please don’t feel you need to “grow up”. Sit in compassion with yourself for a moment or two, you will easily become aware of why this is feeling so foreign to you. It is okay to be uncomfortable, better to take a break, a breath and come back to what you love. All the other parts will come together as they should. Your words are beautiful and honestly, I think the grassroots approach is exactly how your words need to be honored. Cutting a path for your book is going to feel as much of a labor of love as the words on the page. All because this is how you do things, from your heart, how they feel best to you…not how you “should” or are “supposed” to do things or especially how “others have done before you”. That is what is so intriguing and honest about your stories, photographs, you write and photograph from a raw, beautiful, honest, part of you. Thank you for sharing your gifts, those who want to be inspired this way will read and honor your words! Oh and there is a local bookstore called Vromans down the street (an old school, been around for YEARS) that is going to get a visit and book suggestion from me :)
Sometimes I think I’m really nuts for sharing these thoughts and ideas but I always end up thinking that maybe, just maybe, someone else out there might feel the same or similar and appreciate that I expressed what they too have been feeling. And then sometimes, I reach out because, well, it’s nice to know folks out there care. Your words come as a comfort, and a reminder and a directional for what I’m trying to do, but sometimes get a little lost. Thank you, Carrie… And if you need a press kit or reviewers copy for Vromans, just let me know! I appreciate all the help I can get. Yes, grassroots!
I knew this was coming. The hard part. For a true artist, any artist– writer or otherwise–marketing and sales is hell, but the only way to get the creative act seen or read or thought about, in today;s world.
I have my paintings/prints rolled up, my poems in journals, and my books in drawers. Such is our dilemma. A creative act can even seem futile without an audience, yet even one other person can be enough. It just won’t pay the bills. I say, just keep plugging. Careful about social media, though, it’s a real time-drainer–if you let it take over, it can eat up your writing and reading time.
Sherie, So appreciate you taking the time to share your words and wisdom. For anyone else trying to learn from your experience (and my mistakes), I completely agree with the cautions on social media. At first the advice I read and heard was “more, more, more!” but it didn’t “feel” right to me. Spreading yourself too thin and barking up the wrong tree and devaluing your self and your product, rather than taking up the sincere path. So, you take your time and try to do it right. Choose the social media you might be willing to play with (I blog, and use Facebook, as much to keep up with others as to share my own news), and you are so right, limit your time. I’m here to write, right? That’s what I love most (after my family and four leggeds and my mountain…). So, limit. Self discipline. Do your research, and get it done, quickly, painlessly, and cleanly. Slowly, sincerely. Build up friends, relationships, like minds… a little at a time… care about people and they won’t all care about you, but some will. What I’m trying to learn is the balance between reaching out (in a sincere manner) to keeping my integrity. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.
After some “tiny marketing,” just ordered your book from the Tattered Cover, Colfax store in Denver.
All the best,
Oh Mary! Thank you! You’re awesome! Friend Joy is working on them too… so with any luck, with your help we’ll see The Color of the Wild showcased there some day. No place I’d rather buy books, too.
Tattered Cover- My copy of “The Color of the Wild” has arrived!
i will bring it to my writing group meeting this weekend.
Thanks to you.
Wonderful, Mary! I understand thanks to requests like yours (and friend, Joy) all three stores of the Tattered Cover will carry The Color of the Wild soon! I couldn’t be more pleased – thank you, Mary! Would love to hear any/all feedback from your writing group if you have time to share later.
I hope the last couple days have been enjoyable for you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and go out and take a long snowshoe and try to focus on the beautiful wild things you photograph. Can’t wait to meet the sweet little baby chicks (who, of course will be all grown up by then.) and you know I loved the photo of the coyote. What beautiful creatures and so photogenic in the snow. Makes me miss their howl (or yodel as I call it!)
Thank you, Karen. These are going to be the sweetest chickens – Forrest is a great dad. And I was indeed thinking of you with the triple coyote photo!