3 S.R. Johannes: Marketing Pet Peeves - Change your mindset!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Marketing Pet Peeves - Change your mindset!

Authors need to change their mindset. 


Whether you are traditionally pubbed or indie pubbed. Marketing is a huge component of getting your books out there. Some of us are lucky to get tons of marketing from publishers. Most of us aren't. Most of you will do it alone with very little support. So you might as well except it and do it.


It's a matter of changing your mindset. 


Here are some of the DONTs of Marketing - in my opinion. These are mindsets that I still see and they make me smack my forehead. 


1) My web site is longer than Santa's naughty list - Don't make us page down through pages of text. The standard web rule is the user should not have to page down on a web site more than 2 times. (this is more lenient on blog posts) Your web site is an executive summary and TOC of you - not a book. You only need something short and sweet that grabs people. Web sites reflect your writing. If you drone on for pages - I might not want to read your book. Keep it simple, professional, and short. 

2) I like marketing from The Land of Cheapo. Come on! Don't put out crap. Nowadays you can get inexpensive, solid quality marketing swag from various web sites. You really don't want a plain white business card with your face on it. You really don't need a bookmark that is so flimsy it can be used as origami. Do yourself and your image a favor, invest in high quality pieces or don't do them at all. I don't want to see one more perforated business card that is black and white. Your card is your mark on someone. They might not remember you but if they see the card - it should interest them.  It is better to invest in a few key pieces than to do a bunch of bad pieces. Take pride in your materials as you would take pride in your writing or work. It is a reflection of you.

3) My target audience is children between ages of 0-18. Yeah good luck on reaching 76 million people. Everyone has more than one target audience and you need to find the smaller audiences (niches). Trust me, age is not the only way to segment your audience. There are tons of others such as by topic, by region as well as looking at the type of media, type of reader (library, bookstore, book club etc). Take some time to think through all of your target audiences and all the ways you can possibly reach them - you should be able to come up with at least 3 audiences and 3 mediums for each. For me -outdoors, North Carolina, and conservation are three additional segments I can target. Find yours. Write down three nouns your book covers - those are probably your segments.

4) I'm just gonna wing it. Everyone needs a business plan and marketing. Whether traditional of indie pubbed. Just like you need a plot for your book before you write, or plan a trip before you leave - you need a marketing plan before you can market. Some people think that winging marketing is effective. Nope! It's a shot in the dark and you spin your wheels for a while lot of nothing. I'm not talking about creating a 100 page word document here. I am talking about a process where you - as the writer - identify your target audiences, key mediums, key timelines, key events - and set up key contacts in advance. Your materials, plans, and contacts should be in place AT LEAST 6 months before your book comes out. Don't wait until your book is out before you think about it. It will be too late. Start now.

5) I don't know computers so I can't do marketing. Um it's time to learn. If you are selling books to kids, you need to learn computers. Nowadays at least 50% of marketing (and I am being generous, I think its more like 60-70%) is online. You need to know how to blog, how to do a basic web site, how to start a myspace or facebook page, and how to text/twitter. You also need to keep up with the youth trends (Ypulse is good for that) If you don't know how to use all these, they all are set up pretty easily to figure out. Some even have tutorials. This cannot be an excuse anymore - unless you don't want to sell anything.



6) No Branding. It drives me nuts to see authors not being consistent in their brand. They have one web site with gophers (which screams nonfiction), then a plain white biz card that screams (boring!) and a twitter background of lollipops. (you know who you are ;) Go can easily find backgrounds for twitter and blog that look the same. You can even use the same colors. But I should be able to recognize you online. Pulling it all together gives off the impression you have it all together - (hey fake it 'til you make it! :)


7) I just want to write. Yeah don't we all. I won't get into this too much. It's simple. Here's what I tell my kids when they ask if they have to brush their teeth. I say: "Only brush the ones you want to keep." That's what I say to authors. "Only market the ones you want to sell." End of story.


8) I don't know how to do marketing. Nope not an excuse. You didn't know how to write either but you learned. marketing can be learned. There are tons of resources, classes, books, etc. You can even pay for consulting to help you. Follow blogs, find webinars
So if you find yourself saying these things, change your mindset. Get out there, play around online, and market yourself. Try things out and have fun.

If you have any questions, post them in a comment and I will be happy to answer. :)

21 comments:

Linda Jackson said...

Well said, Shelli. And I absolutely love #7. :)

Kenya Taylor Wright said...

Great stuff!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice Shelli. I know I have to get on Twitter soon. It's hard to squeeze the time in.

Two questions: Do you recommend glossy bookmarks or are they too hard to sign?

What do you recommend doing with Twitter? I already follow a ton of blogs and can't spend much more time on it all. Thanks.

Laura Pauling said...

Nothing makes you think about this more than the publishing process! Marketing is changing and we have to change with it!

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

Just a thought, the government offers free help for small businesses through the SBDC (Small Business Development Center.) Sub-branch of sba.gov

They offer classes in marketing and creating a business plan. It's free to attend so it'd be so simple just go go in and say "My business is writing" and get their help.

There's one, if not more, in every state/city. Most are at the community college.

Jemi Fraser said...

I bet your kids have great looking teeth!!! :)

Excellent advice as always. The world is changing quickly - we've got to keep up if we have any hope of succeeding!

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, really good advice here. There are no shortcuts and writer can't pretend it's all about the writing.

Theresa Milstein said...

I just shared your post on Facebook.

AbbyJoy said...

Great post, this was definitely helpful! :0)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I read the other day that more adults than teens buy YA novels. Teens borrow more than they buy (with the exception of my niece, who was anti-borrowing. She owns more than 200 books). I still believe you need to write for your target audience (12-18 if you write YA). You can't write for the 19+ set and expect teens to feel your story is authentic.


I used to do #4 a lot when I was a drug rep. Yeah, it's not the most effective approach. But when I did the prep work, I ended up working 50 + hours a week. I didn't love my job that much (not even close).

Rebekkah Ford said...

Great blog post. Thanks! I'll be self-publishing soon, and this post was helpful. :)

Jaima said...

Concise advice! Given me lots to think about. Thanks for sharing. Number seven made me smile.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

As always, great advice Shelli! :-)

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Great advice, Shelli! And I love the new look of the blog, by the way. :)

Janet Johnson said...

This is a great post. I have so much to learn about marketing, but like you said, there are plenty of ways to learn. I agree that it's needed AND worth it!

DL Hammons said...

You'd like to be able to say these are all common sense, but unfortunately NO. Great list!! :)

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks, Shelli. You have a wonderful way of giving great advice with humor!

J. R. Nova said...

Your best marketing tool is the next book you're writing ;)

That said, I agree with most of this (not sure about winging it, being spontaneous can be fun and effective!). Make things easier for readers, stay consistent, and put the focus on building relationships and prospering. I think that'll work.

Christina Farley said...

This is fantastic! I'm taking notes! Thank you for sharing your expertise.

Bose said...

Impeccable timing on your part with with today’s post!Free Business Proposal Template

Nikki Hilton said...

Great post Shelli, I like your 7 point. "Only market the ones you want to sell."

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