After some marketing abstinence due to – simply said – frustration, I have returned to the book marketing game and am relearning and first-time learning a few things.
One re-learning is that there is always someone who is leagues better at the marketing (and the writing too) than you are. There are people out there who have magnificent, perfect graphic design web-pages for one single novel. There are others who must be hanging out in twitter 24/7 replying to every new follower they get with a direct message. Surely some of that is automated, but I had a short chat with one of those super marketers and I surely did not talk to an app.
There are also a million people out there who are trying to make money from the hopefuls – you gotta be aware of scammers and darker elements at every corner. Humans can get quite creative when they want something.
Engagement is the magic word of the hour. How do you get people engaged and interested in you? – Tough, since:
My restarted steps into the marketing verse confirm my blog entry from last week, there are simply too many people on the planet who produce too many possibilities and choices. Too many people want to find some self-satisfaction with the art they produce. It does not matter which form of art you are aiming for, all the few spots are taken – I read somewhere during this marketing week that e.g. the BBC uses only 30 actors…
One reason for why the marketing verse is so „loud“ is that you of course see way more producers than consumers. Sure, all the producers advertise more or less noisily for their products, whilst most consumers are rather passive and silent. The producers though, feeling the seeming or real absence of the consumers, shout ever louder and louder, falling victim to various degrees of panic.
Oh gosh! I must have thousands of twitter followers, otherwise I won’t be successful!
It is very easy to fall into that trap and to neglect what’s important, your art.
Like never before I believe that high self-discipline is absolutely critical.
As an artist „who wants to be noticed“ you have to be able to switch off all that noise and to return back to your art. Especially difficult for any artist who works with a computer, since the distractions of your social media accounts are only a few mouse-clicks away.
We have a saying in German – von nichts kommt nichts – literally: nothing comes from nothing. I do believe that the modern day author needs some sort of web presence, but how far do you go? How much time do you invest in all that tweeting, facebooking, networking, pretty homepage building (let alone submitting to the BBC begging for one of their 30 spots together with 3 million other people)? Where is the balance? Many people who „made it“ or who think they made it say that you have to focus on your art and I believe that is true. But if, as a newcomer, you do nothing at all in the marketing department and you don’t happen to be friends or neighbors with famous agent X or editor Y, your reach will be limited to family and friends.
So, I shall balance again, day by day, between what I love most – writing, and what I don’t love – the marketing and learn a bit more now and then.
Don’t laugh, but for me a recent new learning is to put hashtags onto one or the other word (in moderation of course! Irony intended) in your tweets and to do the same with your profile description so that people (= consumers = readers) can find you – maybe.
And I refuse to check now whether I wrote something similar in this blog here already four or five years ago, since that would be just too frustrating…… yes, this blog started in October 2010 and I shall „celebrate“ when the time comes.