Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One Part Writing + Three Parts Marketing = The Writing Life

One important lesson I've learned in the last year is that writing involves more than producing a book. One must also be fairly proficient in marketing.

Raise your hand if you thought all you had to do was write a good book and sell it to a publisher, who would in turn do all your marketing for you.

Wrong.

As it turns out, in the publishing business, at least the Christian publishing business, marketing dollars are spent on those who are already published, especially best selling authors. Those in the mid-market, who sell a nominal but appreciable number of books, must personally do a fair amount of marketing, and first time authors, well, let's just say if you're hoping to get published, you need to learn about marketing now.

My job as Development Coordinator at a seminary provided me with some knowledge of marketing. However, just knowing which publications will give me national exposure, and what type of graphics to use to catch people's attention isn't enough. I need to know how to touch my target audience, not just everyone, but particularly those people--Christian Nicholas Sparks fans especially women, age 35-42 in the 50k-70k financial bracket who have families but are past the childhood years and are beginning to use their own talent and skills outside of the home--who would most likely buy my books. And I need to learn how to use the Internet and other marketing to the best of my ability to reach them.

I subscribed to several blogs that might help me in this endeavor. One is written by fellow ACFW member, Tiffany Colter. I "discovered" Tiffany through one of ACFW's monthly courses. Shortly after, I signed up for her Writing Career Service. Tiffany recently began a daily blog filled with information on marketing. In just the first week, I finally learned now to put a statistic counter on my blogs, and when I did, I discovered the blog containing my trip reports of our travels around the Carolinas is receiving, on the average, ten hits a day. Not much, I know, but I was under the impression few people read it. After all, I don't generally advertise it outside of friends and family. How many hits would I receive if I did? The lessons are sinking in.

In today's blog, Tiffany provided a link to a post she felt was important enough to mention again. The gaining of wisdom has taught me not to ignore things emphasized, so I accessed the post and behold, I learned about Internet businessman, James Brausch. While finally perusing Tiff's blog (I usually read the email posts I receive, so I haven't taken advantage of what she has to offer on her site), I found links to other valuable services. So in addition to signing up for James Brausch's emails blog posts, I have other resources at my disposal.

Now pay attention to this...not only am I accessing valuable marketing resources, but by virtue of Tiffany's and Mr. Brausch's examples of providing free advice and giving individuals something worth returning to, I'm learning about viral marketing and how to reach others, as they say, one Inbox at a time. These are excellent lessons; lessons I'll need when a publisher finally says, "this is a great book/article. We'll buy it."

I've decided I need to set aside a specific amount of time per day to study marketing. This doesn't sound highly attractive to me, especially after having just moved to a new state and a new home (half of my life is still packed in boxes!) Besides, I'd rather write. But though I trust the Lord to lead me in my writing life, the gaining of wisdom has also taught me to eat, one must work, and to get published, one must know how to sell.

To sign up for Tiffany's blog, go to
http://writingcareercoach.blogspot.com/

You can access Mr. Brausch's site at http://www.jamesbrausch.org/

And if you love traveling around the Carolinas, check out my blog at http://www.carolinatrails.blogspot.com/ ;o)

2 comments:

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

I'm so glad my blog has helped you. I hope you've been over to check out these last two posts since they tell you about using writing [which you love] to market [which I love].

I appreciate you writing such a nice post. I hope your readers will heed your advice and find some marketing blogs [mine or others] that will help them begin to think strategically about their writing and marketing.

Watch your inbox for the announcement and discount link for my mentorship program.

Also, as you start to see specific results of using what you've learned from James Brausch and I please email me. I want to focus on what is most helpful.

Have a GREAT day. Tiffany Colter

Kimberli said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Tiffany, and for your hard work. I'll keep you posted on my progress!