Why Marketing Matters Most
When I decided to self-publish, I was pretty confident in my ability to write, illustrate and even format the books. But when it came to marketing I was very intimidated because I learned that this is perhaps the most important step in the whole chain of becoming an author.
You must have a marketing plan or you can plan on failing.
There is no one size fits all, “secret sauce” or magic recipe for marketing. What works for one person might not work for you and effective online marketing strategies can change just as quickly as any other online trend. It can be hard to keep up and stay current. But the fact that you need to have a pre-launch, post-launch and continuing marketing plan, will not change. You won’t be successful without it so don’t try to wing it.
How I Learned
I main reason why I was so intimidated by marketing was that I didn’t know much about it. And like most things that scare us in life, the fear goes away when we educate ourselves. I began my crash course on marketing by listening to business podcasts like The $100 MBA with Omar Zenhom and Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas. These two shows continue to get me FIRED UP!!!
I also read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It and Joe Pulizzi’s Content Inc. These both were great and I highly recommend giving them a read, but my favorite author on marketing is the brilliant Seth Godin. His books: Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars (Tell Stories), Linchpin, and Tribes had a profound effect on my big picture views on business and marketing. His work helped me think back to my reasons for writing in the first place, my Big Why. Here is my biggest takeaway.
Marketing is giving, it is simply telling your story in a way that provides value to your audience. And guess what? Us writers are already great at telling stories!
And we get to be just as creative in our marketing as we are in our writing…
When you are on all the social media platforms it seems like it’s a TON of work. But it really doesn’t have to be. I will start with a single story and turned it into a book, a podcast episode, a video, a live event. I have featured one of my favorite characters Digger the Dog in activity pages, audiograms, blog post, newsletters, cardboard cutouts, posters, bookmarks. etc.
You can do it too!
You can repurpose your content across multiple formats. The more content you create, especially online, the more you will be able to expand your audience. AND you are creating and giving value all along the way.
Before I launched, I enrolled in Podcaster’s Paradise, basically an online school for podcasting. I learned so much about the ins and outs of creating content as well as marketing from this community. From there, I created a Website, Instagram, Facebook Page, Twitter, Youtube Channel, and Amazon Author Page for Story Spectacular along with a Newsletter. It sounds like a lot, but again I was able to take one piece of content and tailor it to fit each unique platform.
30 days out I began promoting my launch for my books and my podcast on social media. I ramped things up even more as the launch day grew closer and ran a 7-day countdown campaign on social media with fun graphics.
That week I “activated my network” and wrote messages to friends and family inviting them to be part of the launch. I contacted my local paper, my former schools, organizations I had been a part of throughout my art career. I made guest appearances on 10 podcasts the month of my launch. Then came the launch! It was such a fun day!!!
I heard from old friends and was checking my stats every hour. It was a day filled with lots of excitement and relief that I made it happen. But it was only just the beginning I had to keep the momentum going without wearing out my welcome.
Post launch I have stuck with a consistent social media schedule and continue to guest on others podcasts and perform at live events. Marketing, like creating, is a constant journey.
A “Call to Action” from JLD
One day I was on a Facebook forum and I saw that fellow Mainer and entrepreneurial rock star John Lee Dumas was answering listener questions on his show Entrepreneur on Fire. I requested to be on and whaddya know JLD gave me a ring!!!
I couldn’t wait to get some advice from the marketing master. At that point in time, I felt like I was doing a lot of work growing a social media following and I wanted help prioritizing. I asked him what numbers does he focus on growing the most? Is it total download numbers for his podcast that he cares the most about? Or email subscribers or Facebook followers?
I loved his answer. The wise JLD said he doesn’t care about the numbers, he cares about engagement. He told me that whatever platform(s) you use, find a way to make real connections with people. If someone makes a positive comment to your photo, answer back. Ask your audience questions and make them part of the conversation. Audience engagement should be the biggest priority. Thank you JLD!
In our brief conversation, John Lee Dumas also mentioned that I should connect with children’s book author/illustrator/book-marketing-guru Eevi Jones. I immediately looked up her work and found her book How To Self-Publish a Children’s Book. I can’t recommend this book enough and I wish I had it when I began. But I am SUPER glad to have this information now. The marketing chapter alone is worth buying the book for. She shares clear, and most importantly, effective online strategies for self-published authors to promote their children’s books. Eevi knows exactly how to utilize Amazon Author Pages, Goodreads Giveaways, and much much more.
Market like a Storyteller!!!
Whatever forms of marketing you use to promote your books just remember:
ALWAYS Give Value to Your Audience
Be Consistent with your Posting Schedule
Positively Engage with your Audience on Social Media
Tell Your Story By Being your Creative/Authentic Self
Learn from the Pros!
Find your “Marketing Mentors” like Seth Godin, JLD & Eevi Jones to help you get FIRED UP!!!