To Market to Market
Well, after creating a wonderful new book to add to the growing list of titles for our little company, new realities become evident. Some of these were anticipated, others I've ignored and a few I'm still denying exist.
I had anticipated an initial excitement and interest and volume of sales for the first book. Many authors share this similar experience. After a number of sales to all your friends and family, the volume drops dramatically. The feeling of joy and of having arrived at a successful new career soon wanes. Yes, I had anticipated this and was emotionally prepared when sales plummeted to zero within several months.
My response to this anticipated slump was more activity sharing and caring on social media platforms about our book and the bookselling industry in general. I searched high and low for a book I once read called "Guerilla Marketing". I sometimes recall a few marketing techniques when I see them mentioned at other sites. One of which was "let others speak for you". Word of mouth is still a great way to spread the news that you have something to offer.
In the old market days, you would wheel your cart of produce or crafts to a central location in town and sell. However, the carts beside and around you may have a similar product. So you would call out loudly to the people walking about "freshest grapes, bread from the oven, baskets to carry" explaining in short terms you had a unique or better product. (Fresh bread announces itself, hmm I can smell it now!) Today our market venue is online and sometimes in person at bookstores and signing events.
The market has moved, the method has changed but the principles remain the same. In some sense, we should be selling more product. Why is this not happening?
One obvious thing that I ignored is that the marketplace is much bigger. Not only are you and I there but potentially millions of others are as well. So what needs to happen and what I am working on at this point, is the fine tuning of the message to reach the ears of those who have a need to listen. There is a market for your book. Who is it? Is it the philosopher-teacher, the mechanic plumber, the rhymin Simon, the toddler care taker, or treasure and mystery buff?
These are the people who have an interest in what you have created, reach them with your message. The other group you or they may not even know exist, are the ones searching for something new and different. Your story may be part of a larger category but you have a unique twist on your approach. Perhaps you have a "murder mystery fusion in rhyme" that you need to market. This will take some effort and creativity but having come this far it appears you have what it takes.
So what I'm saying is that there are plenty of children's book authors, mystery authors, historical novel writers etc. But you and I have something different fresh and new. This is the message we need to share.
The reality I am still in denial about is that perhaps being an author is not going to bring me riches. I am grateful for the full-time job I have. It is a love/hate kind of thing. In the times when I am at work and not writing I get impatient and anxious about having time and energy left to write creatively. There are many times when I feel I should be writing but the stress and drain of the full-time job take over and I surrender to the comfy couch. So making the effort to write becomes a matter of priority and getting up early.
But I digress, this post is about marketing. This is not about the business of creating which I enjoy doing, it is about selling. Selling books has become a necessity in order to make creating worthwhile. However, the reward is not always financial for there are lessons to be learned and knowledge to be gained. Perhaps I am in denial of the fact that creating and marketing are two sides of the same coin. Like the vendor in the marketplace, I have a vested interest in my product and I am determined to sell the product with as much passion and drive as needed. To find someone to sell your product with the same determination is only possible if you are willing to share the reward.
So you can go with a full-fledged publisher, or marketing agency to help you sell but be prepared to give up a substantial amount of your profit. As a self-publisher, I have invested so much at this point I am feeling guilty for not buying my wife a new house! So I am determined to learn the methods of other seemingly successful self-published authors and thank them for their expert advice. I have referenced a few below. Thanks for reading and caring and I'll see you at the market!
Illustration above by Megan Tennant you can see more of her work at
http://megantennant.blogspot.com/ and purchase her work at