My Marketing Revelation

November 18, 2013

Cover image from Sarah Pepper’s newest release.

Last week, I went to a community ed class about how to market your book put on by Sarah J. Pepper, a local author who has achieved success through both traditional and self publishing. I always wonder when I show up at these things whether I’ll learn anything new, and I always walk away from them glad that I went. Along with some potential freelance contacts, great handouts, and frantically jotted notes, I also came away with this revelation:

To really market, I need to stop writing.

Not forever (God no!) but long enough to not be distracted. Long enough to let my writing energy rest and build up. Long enough to really commit myself to marketing, and long enough to possibly see results.

This came when Sarah admitted that her husband told her she “can’t start” writing a new book until after her soon-to-be-released Death of the Mad Hatter is released. So all that writing energy goes toward … promoting the upcoming book.

I’ve never been good at marketing because I always try to squeeze it in on the fringes of my writing work (which I try to squeeze in on the fringes of my paid work). And since I don’t like marketing, it’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of the “to-do” list. It’s not so much that I don’t like talking about my work — like most writers, I enjoy that very much. But I don’t like feeling like I’m “bugging” people. And as an introvert who doesn’t really like to be “sold to,” I project that onto anyone I might try to sell myself to, and I sort of crumple up inside. And I retreat to writing. True, there could be worse ways to avoid a dreaded task. But I really, really, really need to give this self-promotion thing a try if I want to keep striving to make writing central in my life. And I do.

Now the decision point comes — I know that my focus needs to be on my Dark Crystal submission until I send it off, hopefully in early December. After that, my initial plan was to return to work on my Rapunzel novel and work on preparing my Rumpled ebook for distribution. But it may not be wise to pursue both at once, as I’m likely to hide from the ebook within Rapunzel. Still, I’m thinking a good strategy might be to complete my second draft of Rapunzel, then set it aside to work on Rumpled. I’ll probably have some fresh insight when I return to my Rapunzel draft afterwards. Now the real question is whether I can accomplish all this before next November, which is supposed to be my “on” year for NaNoWriMo. Stay tuned!

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Book Review: Self Promotion for Introverts

September 18, 2012

Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting AheadSelf-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I would have gotten more out of this book if I had my own copy. Instead, I had it checked out from the library on interlibrary loan, so I couldn’t even renew it … which meant I had to sort of zip through it, even though there are a bunch of exercises you’re supposed to do, which I didn’t do (although I tried to do a few of them mentally). The author is a career coach, so I think she tried to translate a lot of the exercises she does with clients to the pages of this book. And while I think they’d work better in a coaching context where you could get feedback, this is a decent alternative for those who can’t afford or don’t have access to coaching.

What I really wanted from this book was some guidance on promoting myself as a writer, and “Hungering and Thirsting for Justice.” There was a lot that was relevant, but the way it was written just had me thinking more about career development than book promotion. And I actually already do pretty well in the career development area; I’m a decent public speaker, I interview well, etc. I’m the kind of introvert that does well in social situations if the roles are really clearly defined — as they often are in work situations — but I really despise “in-person” networking. And reading this book doesn’t make me inclined to like it any more, although it does help me remember that there are a lot of alternatives to that that I can excel at as an introvert, like social networking.

So, I’m glad this book exists, even if I didn’t really get what I wanted out of it. I still wouldn’t mind getting my own copy someday so that I’d have time to work through some of the exercises as they relate to the marketing side of my writing career.

Some useful resources from the book:

Help a Reporter Out: This site is based on the idea that everyone is an expert at something. Reporters use the site to find quotable subjects for their stories. You can sign up to get alerts and see what reporters are looking for — and respond if it’s something in which you have expertise.

SheSource.org: A repository of women experts.

One Person/Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher: Another book for my long “to-read” list!

View all my reviews