For the last 20-years or so I have been more than involved in marketing. From being VP of Marketing for a software company in the late 1990’s to being an analyst and consultant well known for delivering insightful Go to market strategies and marketing programs, marketing is in my blood. Through those decades a lot has changed about marketing though.
Back in the 1990’s there was no such thing as social media. It was all about print ads, mailing campaigns and trade shows. You got the sense as well that most people were marketed to and a few did the actual marketing. We studied our audience and potential audience – their habits and needs – and then put in place some tactics and messages to promote the brand/product/service to that audience. These days, it seems as if everyone is marketing something and that I spend all of my time marketing.
Let’s face it, its more of a level playing field all around these days. Anyone can write and publish a book or a video. Anyone can build a website to promote a business or a venture. Anyone can make music and distribute it. And while ‘anyone’ isn’t everyone its a hell of a lot more people than used to be doing those things. Really, it does at times seem like everyone is selling something and with social media, sales pitches abound.
As an author, I am told that I must market my work. Of course I must. But how does one rise above a crowd that is ever more populous? It’s not just about marketing the book (product) but also marketing the brand – ourselves. How do I build a following? Facebook, twitter, Linkedin etc. How do I win the online popularity contest? Marketing is really hard these days because we need to find a way to rise above the noise.
I read an article earlier today criticising authors for simply posting things like ‘get my book FREE on Kindle’ on Facebook etc. or those that give away free samples etc. People don’t have the time to read these things, the article said. Instead, writers should engage with their audience and reach out on a one-to-one basis to do so. They are surely kidding? Where on earth would I get the time or even the inclination to sit here 24 by 7 reaching out to people I do not know and engaging them in conversation on the off chance they may buy my book? Where would I find the time to write another? Besides, I think its creepy as hell to have people I don’t know cozying on up to me online….. bloody perverts! That is not the answer and while I look for one, I too am guilty of shouting on the internet – Get my book its FREE on Kindle!
I am doing a lot to build a profile. I have some 5-8 radio interviews lined up this year and a blog tour and a bunch of other activities but I’m not sure that these work much either. I had a piece in a magazine earlier this year with a distribution of over 80,000 copies a month. I can’t identify a single web visit, Facebook like or sale of a book from that article. Not one. So other than perhaps create some naked selfies of myself, load them to iCloud and then hope they get stolen and published all over the internet, I’m really no longer sure how to build a platform and a following. It’s certainly not the honest and sweaty activity it used to be but now seems to rather rely on gimics like nude selfies.
Oh well…. I do think that today, everyone is shouting out about something they want to sell. In fact, everyone is so busy shouting they have no time to listen anymore……
However, if you did make it to the end of this article or even found it then can I ask if you would do one or two things for me? Yes? Here we go then…
1. Would you like my author’s facebook page?
2. Would you buy and read one of my books – see my author’s page on Amazon for a list?
3. Would you then post a review?
Thanks so much…… I really do appreciate it.
In return, I promise no nude selfies……
Totally sympathise, Gary: It is bloody infuriating, wearying and disheartening, isn’t it? I learned pretty quickly that my posts about my own novels, free downloads and so forth were the LEAST popular of all! Dear Gods, I sometimes think I’d get more hits from a really insulting post!
But these people who carp and criticise the way we do it don’t seem to have hoisted one very simple fact on board: WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE! If we could grab the conventional publishers by the proverbials, rake in fat cheques, have book signings every week, we damn well WOULD!
For the moment, I have given up on the self-promotion bit – but I will be back!
Indeed, it is all very frustrating… but we keep on trucking all the same right?
I thought I would feel disheartened after reading this. But I don’t. You’re clear determination to keep going in the face of adversity is inspiring. Thanks.
Giving up is not an option. If we don’t try then we will never succeed…