The Chicken or the Egg? Or Writing or Marketing? by Cassiel Knight
Posted by SeeJanePublish
A part of our discussion prompted this blog post. Specifically, we talked about marketing our work. One of my friends is adamant that the most important thing a writer can do for marketing is to write books. The concept is that with more books out there, she’s giving readers more of a selection and that’s her main focus. A worthwhile enterprise for a writer, I’d think, and it makes a lot of sense. After all, our work is our product and we must have the product to market.
I’ve been thinking about this and have come to a conclusion that, in my opinion, it isn’t just about having lots of product (books) available or throwing yourself into marketing one or a few books. I feel, based on the research I’ve done, that it has to be a balance of both – writing and marketing.
It’s really like asking the age-old question: What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Well, almost like this because in order to market a book, you must have, well, a book. Once you have that first book out there, then it does become a chicken/egg deal (oh and one of the Janes is just going to love all the references to chickens! :-D).
Everyone credits the success of self-published phenoms with having a lot of books (product). Sure, I agree that having lots of product contributed to their success, but if you read their stories, you’ll note they did market – themselves and their stories. If getting success was as simple as writing lots of books, then we’d all be doing it and there wouldn’t be any mid-list authors. It’s not that simple (what in publishing truly is?).
So to just say I’m going to write more books is great. As I said above, you must have the product. That’s not enough. The publishing world doesn’t seem to subscribe to the adage that if you build (write) it, they (readers) will come. Marketing/promotion is a necessary evil for writers. Sorry, deny it all you want, it just is. It took me a long time to reach that conclusion and believe me, I came to it kicking and screaming. Even now, I’m barely scratching the surface of what I should be doing and while I won’t become a marketing genius or spend more than 25% of my time marketing, I know I have to do more than I am. This is a part of my publishing journey. I’m not a salesman but too bad – I have to do it. As much as I love my publishers, they aren’t going to do it for me.
In October, my business manager (aka very generous husband) is going to be watching how a month-long book tour increases my sales. I hired a public relations company to manage the tour for me. They are getting the tour spots and promoting the entire tour. I need content and to show up. Will this increase my sales? Well, I hope so, and I guarantee I’ll find out in November when I get my royalties for October. I’ll talk about my blog tour in November – why I did it and how it did, I promise.
In the meantime, I will continue to find ways to promote myself and my book. To find that balance between marketing Key of Solomon and my Lyrical Press release, writing Book 2 of Relic Defender, writing another book for a yet-to-be-determined publisher and continuing to submit Blood on the Moon.
The bottom line is, again, this is just my opinion, no matter how much an author may resist, authors have to market. Find the balance between writing your stories and promoting your stories. It’s so much easier to do this now.And the first place you can start to learn about finding that balance and marketing is a website I’m a staffer with – 1st Turning Point. There is a wealth of articles about all aspects of marketing and promotion.
For writers, what do you think? If you only have product and do just the very basic marketing (website/blog), do you have your sales/readers? For those doing more, any particular thing seem to be more successful? Do you think it makes it easier to market if you have more than one book available?
For readers, what kinds of marketing do you pay attention to? Word-of-mouth, Goodreads, Blog tours, etc.? How do you find the books you want to read?