Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leanna's Marketing Smackdown #1 - Tips for Writers

Last year I wrote a quarterly column for my local RWA Chapter, RWA NYC, in their Keynotes Newsletter. Since then, several of the articles have been reprinted by other RWA chapters and since I'm continuing the column into 2011, I thought I'd post the 2010 columns here. While I'm not remotely a Marketing expert, I do spend a lot of time on various marketing strategies and happen to have a lot to say about it. I hope writers might find this useful, and that readers and fans might find it interesting (or perhaps daunting) to know some of the many things we authors are doing while trying to juggle everything else in our life. That's why I call it the smackdown, because it's us, battling our own limitations, battling time, battling to get our books noticed. I hope you enjoy! (These top ten lists will repeat either monthly or bi-monthly, depending on how many I'm able to create.)

So, here goes:

Leanna's MARKETING SMACKDOWN #1 - Managing Expectations

Copyright 2010 by Leanna Renee Hieber

Before you embark on marketing yourself and your work, it's good to check in with your friend and foe: Expectations.

1. No matter how awesome your publisher, they’ll likely not do all the marketing you’d like them to do – pick up the slack and know your fellow authors are all doing the same.

2. No one else cares as much about your book and your career as you do. Realize that and use it as motivation.

3. Manage your expectation of yourself – be honest about what’s reasonable and feasible for you in the following categories: costs, time, travel, workload, sanity.

4. Manage expectations of others: Friends are awesome. If you ask them (nicely) they will likely buy your book and tell their friends to buy your book. Just realize karma is a huge key word, so be thankful for all that everyone does – don’t just expect too much every time. Prioritize how you utilize your personal and immediate network lest you burn them out early on in your career.
5. Social networking is free but it does take time. And it takes some reciprocity too. People won’t follow you on twitter / facebook, etc, without some reciprocity – comes back to, Karma. Re-tweet other authors’ good news, interesting tidbits, run contests, etc – make your social networking interactive and suddenly you’re in community. Pick the social networking sites that appeal to you and use them – don’t waste time on a platform you hate, find the ones that work organically for you and that seem to generate some sense of result.

6. Expect that you will get tired. Rest, and start again.

7. Expect that people will love (and hate) your book. DO NOT go off the deep end on Amazon, twitter, etc. Career-ending mistake.

8. Expect not to make money right away. Or soon. You’ll have to invest more than you’ll immediately receive. Think of it like starting your own small business – you are.

9. Readers will have expectations of you too. Know how you fit within your genre or how you stretch the boundaries of your genre.

10. Throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. A lot of great marketing is a ‘right place right time’ thing and not every strategy will work for every person. See what feels right to you – instincts are a good asset.

Happy writing, happy selling!

Tweet? Follow me on Twitter @LeannaRenee

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houndstooth said...

I think you make a lot of good points. At least, they all make sense to me! The value of using social networks is going to increase a lot, I suspect.

Thanks for sharing your insight! :)

♥ Dawn said...

Great advice!


Leanna Renee Hieber said...

@Houndstooth - Thanks! I think you're definately right about the Social Network stuff, it is important for marketing but I also want to make sure I'm always connecting with neat people for fun and friendship too. Like you!

@Dawn - Thank you! Thanks for stopping by!

Alien said...

I'll drink green tea with you anytime.


Leanna Renee Hieber said...

*happily clinks teacups with Alien*