I always say that, for an author, writing the book is the easy part. The next hardest is getting someone to publish it, but by far the hardest part of all is getting anyone to even hear about it, let alone buy it.
Marketing and self-promotion are the bane of my existence. Like most writers, I would prefer to just write the book, hand over the manuscript, and let someone else take care of all the promotion, the way that it was done in the good old days.
Of course, the good old days also involved writing by hand or pecking out letters on a typewriter, and actually having to get up off your chair and go to a library to do your research, so it’s a bit of a trade-off. In any case, those days are gone. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources available now to help with this. I am currently taking a course on the best way to market my work. One of my assignments this week was to find a quote that inspires me in my writing. The one I chose for the promotion part of my work is:
“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.” – Ann Handley
That idea changes everything for me. One person at a time I can do. One other human being who might have a need that my writing can meet. One other man or woman I can interact with, talk to about what is on my heart and his or hers, share my life, faith, and words with. I love the idea of that.
Early on in my writing career, I was encouraged to imagine one reader for my work, the one person I am telling the story to, the one I hope to reach and impact and hear back from. That makes crafting the story much easier, and the same concept applies to marketing. In a world where interacting virtually is the norm, at least imagining a face-to-face encounter with one person who might get something out of reading my books is an incredibly valuable exercise.
It takes the whole idea of marketing from trying to sell something to a bunch of nameless, faceless consumers to something that feels a lot more like sitting down for coffee with a new friend, chatting about what each of you has to offer the other.
Even I can handle that.
Press on, my friends.