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How do you promote your work?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Devor, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    You definitely have a more inclusive definition of marketing than I do when I think about it normally. I just think it's funny that, once I gained something to sell (my books) every single interaction I have could be termed 'marketing' from that point of view.

    Some of these guys on twitter, though, advertising their book(s) is all they do. Every tweet, every half-hour, like clockwork. I definitely call that marketing, and not the good kind.
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    That brings up a good question. What are some of the things you would consider effective ways of interacting with others? That is, for the purposes of generating interest in your work.


    If there's no effort to generate interest, and all they're doing is pushing a link, that's not actually marketing. That's called hard selling.

    It can work, but it's usually the last resort of a desperate sales person. Most people take it as a strong indicator that they're just selling garbage, but it can also mean they just don't know how to market and sell effectively. But as it does sometimes work a little without too much real work, it wouldn't surprise me if some of these people had two twitter accounts, one for marketing professionally and one just for the hard sell.
     
  3. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Hm, always thought hard sell referred to something else. Either way, I'm not sure I ascribe to some of these guys the savvy to have a twitter account just for that. I imagine some of them think that is an effective way to sell. It's a sure way for me to unfollow, though.

    Effective ways of interacting with others? Well, I'm a fairly gregarious person, so talking to people comes naturally (that's actually a big change from how I was earlier in life, but it's natural now). Desperation is a big turn off, for one thing. I try not to talk about my writing much in normal conversation, though it's a constant fight. Bring it up rarely, at appropriate times, and in all other aspects of your personality be engaging and interesting. That's the general theory.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm hoping to put all these ideas together in a checklist or guide that others can refer to, so if you or anyone else has some more specific advice on how to interact with others effectively, I'll be sure to include them. I want to hear from a few more people before I offload all of my own thoughts, but it might help to mention this now: On the topic of interacting with others, I'd start with be genuine and be excited.
     
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Branding is very important and traditionally publishers have focused more on "the product" and not "the author" which I personally think can be short sighted. One thing to keep in mind is that the way you buy/shop and what is important to you may not be indicitive of others. You say that you couldn't care less what people on Amazon say about the books, but for others -this can be a tipping point in their buying decision.

    I think that early in a books lifecycle particular attention should be spent on building creditability - soliciting reviews, getting high in the rankings, making a professional website, blog, and good author pages on Amazon, and so fourth. Once you have some creditability - then the next thing to do is get some eyeballs. Start the word or mouth. Spend more time on getting people to know that you and the books exist. There is a danger with driving highballs before having your ducks in the row. You have one chance to make a good first impression so don't put your cart before your horse.
     
  6. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    You can't divide your interactions - they are all "you" and should go toward helping to build a brand. I tend to focus on trying to be "helpful" to share experiences I've had both as self-published and big-six published as a way of showing people what is possible. I talk about the fact that there is no signal way to success, and talent, skill, and persevernce is key to success. Will some people check out my books because of it? Maybe? Is that why I do it? No. I believe in what goes around comes around so if you offer out a helping hand - you'll get good things back in return. Each person has to decide for themselves how to "position" themselves. But it has to be authentic and true to who you are and what you think.

    The best advice on branding I can recommend is a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek who talks about the What, How and Why it's the best 18 minutes you'll ever watch - I highly recommed it.
     
  7. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    Very wise. I used to talk about my writing all the time and only gradually perceived that most (especially my friends) were not interested. People ARE however, interested in success. Once you do get a book published and have a bit of a buzz about your work, everyone wants to talk about it. I have even been in positions where I didn't want people to ask about my work because (especially in the presence of old friends listening in and hearing the same converation again) you can feel a bit self-conscious. I wouldn't have ever dreamed 5 years ago there could be a context in which I'd shy about talking about writing (and my writing in particular).

    It's always best if they ask you to talk about your writing, but first they have to know you write. Catch 22.
     
  8. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I was on the other side. Before I got serious about being published I was often in the company of other writers, and they never shut up about their poetry or their short stories or, the worst, that book they were working on. I found them so damned annoying that I literally feared talking about my own writing lest I sound like them (from which I took rule #1 of talking about writing: Never talk about anything that isn't finished unless directly asked about it).

    The Catch 22 you described is easy to get around, in my opinion. There are always plenty of ways to 'drop' the fact that you are a writer into conversation. Then, if they want to ask, they can ask.
     
  9. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    As I said, first they have to know you write...

    Of course you can 'drop' the fact that you write, but anyone with finely attuned sensibilities (whose opinion is therefore worth having) will pick up on a stunt, no matter how subtle. As you said above Telcontar, the best way to get people interested in your writing is to get them interested in YOU. Enthusiastic, genuine, nice, intelligent people with an original slant on life will naturally attract interest. And as Michael said, be authentic. Anything else is spam whether it be online or in person.

    Just writing about this has made me reflect on my own reasons for joining various writing forums in the last little while. I've been writing a long time (nearly 20 years), have learned a lot and have had some small success - but it's mostly been a solitary pursuit. I'm here because I want to engage with other writers - to learn from those who have done better than me and to pass on my experience to those who are interested.

    At least here we all know we're writers and don't have to pull social stunts to talk about our work.
     
  10. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    It's all about intention...you mention it being a "stunt" to drop the fact you write but that is because you think of at this way. When I talk about my writing I'm not trying to cajole anyone into buying anything. I'm being myself...and you know what...a big part of what I am has to do with my writing. If people are interested in my experience or books - I'd love for them to ask, but I don't have some "agenda". If you think that you are somehow promoting it will come off as promoting. If you are just "being you" then the enthusism, authenticity, and passion for your writing will come thorugh and these will rarely be looked on (except by the trunly cynical) as negative things.

    "Social stunts" don't work...but talking about your writing, or that you are a writer - if approached with the right mindset is not a social stunt - it is you sharing a big part of what makes you...you.
     
  11. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    This. As long as you're humble about it and - unless you are making your living off of it - don't try to claim you're a professional author, there's no shame in dropping the fact that you are a writer. I'd caution anybody who talks about writing to be prepared to pony up or shut up, though. If you don't have something you'd be willing to show people right then and there (though obviously, you needn't have it with you at any given time) then don't talk about being a writer.

    Actually, I'm much more comfortable talking about being an 'author' than being a writer. I have extant work that people can buy and judge. I've put myself out there. I figure that earns me at least a little credit, even if my work sucks the big one! :)
     
  12. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    In fact, if you'd read the post to which I was responding you might have noticed that I was advising against pulling stunts such as 'dropping' the fact that you write. This is a very complicated area and not to be resolved with one sentence aphorisms.

    You can talk about your writing with all the right mindsets in the world, but you will bore the crap out of your non-writing friends and associates until you have some success. That's my experience. I was agreeing with Telcontar that the best way (probably the only way) to inspire interest in your writing is to be a nice, genuine, interesting, intelligent person, without any obvious exploitative agendas. Hopefully that's being yourself, but if that's not really being yourself, at least you could try to pull off that persona.

    Truly, writing is a cut-throat competetive business (especially film writing) and I've encountered some ratbags in my time...all pretending to have no agenda.

    I was assuming that this was a place where we could all accept that we have an agenda (ie, engaging with other writers but also inspiring interest in our work) without having to be concerned with point-scoring judgments.

    Just to be clear, I'll say it again: your non-writing friends will rapidly tire of you talking about your writing until you are successful. If you want to keep those friends, learn to talk about your next magnum opus only when asked. Once you have success, you will be amazed at how you can sometimes get sick of talking about your writing because you'll have to answer the same questions again and again. At this stage of my journey, I still enjoy the questions...mostly.
     
  13. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    Some authors are sort of cut-throat, but not the majority that I've encountered. However, I've no experience in film writing.

    The best advertisement/promotion is when someone other than the author touts a work as being a worthwhile read.

    I participate in a lot of book events with other authors around, usually either conventions or book fairs. There are plenty of interested readers browsing, but I've observed that the hard-sell rarely works (and if it does, it's my opinion that the reader may purchase the book, but odds are they never actually read it).

    When a potential reader stops by my table, I talk to them about my works if they're interested, or about movies or other authors and things they've read, or what they've enjoyed so far about the convention, etc. If they're looking for a horror or differently type of fantasy or SF work than what I write and/or if my work doesn't seem to be up their alley, I make a point to direct them to some of the authors nearby whose work I know, and appears more along their interests. I also recommend authors and works that aren't at the book fair or convention.

    I realize that readers have only so much $ to spend on reading material, but it's not exactly a 'zero-sum game.' Readers who have a good experience will tend to invest more in reading, than those who have a sour experience. Or that's the theory I work under.

    In general, having another individual or group say positive things and promote a work, through reviews for example, I think are far more effective than the author talking about their work. Word of mouth is possibly the most effective. One friend telling a buddy they would enjoy such and such novel and to get a copy...that can't be beat. It's a trusted source the reader is relying on.
     
    Devor likes this.
  14. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    Here's a way that's working pretty well for me. No matter where you live, big city or small town, you can start by building a line to wait for your book to be on shelves. Tell friends and family you're working on a book and are going to have it published. Give them enough information to get them interested by not enough so they want to get their hands on the book. When your book is accepted by a publisher spread the word. Marketing starts at home with those who are close.
     
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I said in the OP that I would put together my notes on marketing, and I just jotted down a bunch of things towards that end. Would people be interested if I put together something of a how-to-guide about internet marketing and sales? I would want to do something that could maybe be stickied.
     
  16. Alex Stuart

    Alex Stuart Acolyte

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    It is a simple strategy and to promote work you need to do efforts and hard work is required with dedication and honesty to promote the work. And it is possible with the help of understanding of work.
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'd like it a lot.
     
  18. robertbevan

    robertbevan Troubadour

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    i, too, would like that a lot.
     
  19. TobyNeighbors

    TobyNeighbors Acolyte

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    How I market

     
    Flemming Hansen and robertbevan like this.
  20. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Toby is a great example of one of the thousands of "mid-list" self-published authors that earn well in the new world of digital publishing. I get so sick and tired when people say that only outliers can make any money in self-publishing I personally know hundreds of authors just like Toby who do well because they write quality books, produce them professionally, and get the word out to them.

    Welcome to the forum Toby - I'm sure you'll be a great asset here.
     
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