Writers should not let the power of marketing seduce us from including, revealing, clarifying and connecting. Marketing should fit in with our writing skills, not the other way around. if we start our book based on marketing, we miss our chance to reveal and curate original ideas in our writing and will only present clichés.
If marketing a book was a barbeque, marketing would just be the sizzle. We self-market books to attract people we don’t know. This is all marketing is. It only sets up the initial encounter with people who want what we write. Whether readers love a book or not, is much more dependent on the experience of reading it and how much they think about it afterwards.
Other references claim our promise to our readers, is the same as our brand. These concepts are not the same. As explained later, the biggest difference is that all marketing is about presenting. Our writing is about revealing. To self-market our books, we must commit the writers’ sin, of telling not showing. The process of going from writing to marketing is a leap. When we finish self-marketing, we should be able to leap back to our writing skills.
Self-marketing is essential for a writer to become a popular author. To define this more clearly, marketing should be more than advertising. We should use passive marketing, such as the author’s bio, burbs and tags, as well as active marketing, such as reviews, blogs and book launches. For more of these strategies, see “Book Marketing Strategies, which is available to view before publishing or seek them in many other publications.
This blog will explain how to leap between writing and marketing skills. When our self-marketing strategies, complement the elements of our writing, such as our themes and takeaways, it makes our self-marketing more effective.
Most buzzwords used in marketing, are concepts, which are related to elements of writing. Joining the dots between marketing concepts. such as brand and a book’s edge, with writing elements such as the promise to our readers and our book’s takeaways, will enable us to self-market without compromising our creative spirit.
When writing a book, we should avoid buzzwords. As discussed in “Is saying “that’s a cliché” clichéd”, writers should also avoid cliches, but understand their role so we can use figurative language without cliches polluting our writing. This is similar to how we should understand the role of marketing-buzzwords, so we can self-market without them infecting our writing.
We should leap from our increasing understanding of writing elements to marketing concepts. To do it the other way around would be like a cook trying to get poaching to sound like a sizzling wok because they like the sizzling sound better.
Leaping from our writing to self-marketing our books
To self-market our books, we should understand the elements of our writing that correspond to marketing concepts. We can then leap from revealing in our writing to presenting in our self-marketing. This is similar to leaping to writing a resume after discussing work with friends over a coffee.
Below is a list of writing elements and how we can leap from them to self-marketing. This leap involves converting what we reveal in our writing to what we present to publishers and readers.
For a new writer, our marketing strategies need to look after our books until we have a following of dedicated fans, but how we promote ourselves and our books should be consistent with us and our writing. This is why we should leap from our writing skills to our marketing ones.
On top of this, we should choose self-marketing strategies that we will be good at. as we need to be generous with our time and energy and it’s hard to do that if we are doing it badly. Remember, there is a lot out there ready to disillusion us. There is no need for us to do it ourselves.
1. Our presence:
Our presence is our involvement with both our flesh community and our internet one. It includes our involvement with community issues, our social networks, the people that trust and count on us, our diverse range of interests and our leadership. As discussed in “Plan to Publish” we should expand our presence,
Everyone promotes their presence to people they know, just by living. We are writers, and so have writing skills. It is a leap, but not a big one, to go from these skills to promote ourselves to people we don’t know and create a following. This is now possible due to the wonders of the internet.
A following is an engaged fan base, who have a lifetime of loyalty that gives our readers the confidence to buy and recommend our work to their friends. Gaining a following should be our aim, but it needs a lot of patience. As new writers, we should be judicious about who to reach out to. They should be people who:
- Want what we offer such as read our genre and have the right customer persona.
- Are most open to hearing our message such as early adopters.
- Influence our potential readership, such as the people we admire.
People who want what we are offering will read in the genre we are writing. This is because genres classify books into the different tastes of readers. Genre categorises books for sale.
A customer persona represents the key traits of a large segment of our potential readers. Data collected from user research and web analytics will help us work out the customer persona for our books. When we know where our readers hang out online and what they like and don’t like, we’ll be more targeted when we reach out to them.
A new writer should find self-marketing strategies for their books to reach out to early adopters and influencers. They are the people most likely to read an unknown author and although they are not likely to be loyal themselves, they will attract a following to our writing.
2. Our Authors voice:
Our author’s voice creates the experience of reading our book. It is our style, the quality that makes our writing unique. Our characters should also have a unique voice, but a unique author’s voice is vital in fiction and essential in non-fiction.
Our voice is the main reason people will love our book. What it feels like to read our writing is much more important than its content. Finding our author’s voice can take time and practice and may be difficult to even identify.
When we are ready to self-market, we should develop our brand voice from our author’s voice. An author’s voice can reveal while a brand voice is the part of that voice that presents and sizzles. To sizzle our author’s voice should be consistent with feelings our writing evokes. This is the voice we should use in all our promotions.
3. The promise to our readers:
The promise to our readers is what is consistent with all our published work. It adds up to our creative goals, our muse, and how we write from our true self. It must be from us, not from our book.
A promise to a reader should be revealing and be what makes us want to write, This could be our love of language, love of ideas, love of place or love of drama. It is not about the content it is about feeling. This makes this promise like a sourdough starter, from which if it is looked after, a writer can create many loaves of bread.
Discussing creative goals with our writing buddy, a writing group, book club, editor or publisher will help us work out how to express this promise. Explicitly knowing our promise to our readers can also protect our creative process.
Once we understand our promise to our readers, it is a small leap for us to what, in marketing is called our brand. We can make up our brand out of the odds and ends we find, which sizzle in our promise to our readers. These will be the things readers want, not what they need. The process of making a brand is more like a bird making a nest or us preparing a resume.
Our brand will be what we present to publishers and readers. It is how we wish to show ourselves to the world. It develops trust and empathy for us if we can make it consistent with our promise to our readers.
Markus Zusak’s brand, for example, is to ‘write somebody’s favourite book.’ These promises are about the feeling the author’s writing evokes.
Once we know our brand, there are many strategies, such as blogging, reviewing and websites, which can get our brand out there, but remember to be realistic and consistent. Generosity is key when we present our brand to the people who are waiting for what we write.
4. Our book’s takeaways:
A takeaway pierces the reader’s heart. We can recognize a takeaway when we experience a chill, a deep level of connection. It is when we need to put the book down to allow a powerful idea to sink in.
The hook is the idea, which intrigues a reader when they start reading the book. It is what makes them what to continue reading it. Our books hook and takeaways are what readers will love about our books, but they will not attract readers. They are ideas and to attract readers, we need feelings. We need words which sizzle. We need our book’s edge.
Our book’s edge may be found in the hook, turning point or takeaways. Generally, it’s what would cause readers to have a strong reaction with feelings like, breathtaking, riveted, amused, purposeful, motivated, celebratory, proud, nostalgic, replenished, inspired, spiritual, intrigued, touched, on edge, tense, relieved, challenged, enlightened, stimulated and refreshed.
Our book’s edge can be as hard to define as what makes our favourite shirt special. However, if we describe the story in our book using feelings such as the ones listed in the previous paragraph, this would be a good start. To find our book’s edge, this expression could be developed, until it becomes a crucial part of attracting readers in our promotions.
The theme defines the meaning of a story. This makes it the main or underlying idea of our book. For example, the subject could be love, while the theme could be love can overcome all obstacles.
The theme will insightfully connect two subjects or ideas. I am a writer. Making connections is what I do. I challenge any writer to write without joining the dots that give us insights with themes such as greed is forgettable, your misfortunes don’t need to define you, writing is about finding the beauty in others and the criticisms from people like Donald Trump say more about them than who they are criticising.
We can write a book, having no idea what the theme is, even though the theme is genius. This is why something that should be precious to us isn’t valued or even thought of much. Many people are better at this writing skill than you or me. Well, certainly me. For instance, I think Jane Harper is brilliant at joining the dots to give us insights into human nature. For me, this makes her a wonderful writer.
From the theme of the story, we can leap to what is special in our book, It is what sizzles about our theme. It is what we should say to potential publishers and readers to show them how creative and unique our book is. When the edge is too formal, such as in verbal promotions, we should use what is special.
What is special in a book is how the book’s tone, subjects, and themes are related to the reader. For example, the subject could be peddling drugs and the theme: the drug war is a curse on humanity. What is special could be how this book reveals the evils of Australia’s continuing war on drugs.