I guess we should meet and greet before we begin. I'm a fiction author by night and a business writer by day. Basically, I write all the time. I even - sometimes - get paid for it. I love great stories that I can read again and again, and fiddle with photography and painting whenever I have down time. I live in the desert with my husband and one incorrigible cat, play video games, and still believe Pluto is a planet.
So, that's me. Now, about you. I've got something for you. You may have heard of it. It's that elephant in the room that we all like to call marketing.
How to Effectively Market Your Writing
Writers tend to approach marketing the way a cockroach approaches light: they run away. When I first started my freelance business, I could run with the best of them. Then I learned one of life's unfriendly facts: today's online world runs on marketing. The 'Information Age' has created so much information that no one really wants to read it any more. We're all a bit over-saturated.
Writers looking for attention have to catch it. This typically works one of two ways: you either offer audiences something irresistible or you tackle them to the ground and make them cry uncle.
For the record, don't make them cry uncle. They'll just run away as soon as you let them go. Then you have to chase them. And tackle them again. It's just too much work.
No, what successful marketers do now is offer something so eye-catching that audiences can't help but stop for a look. They - and you - do this through three simple steps:
We tend to trust friends more than strangers. If you're looking for an opinion on the latest blockbuster movie, who are you more likely to listen to: your movie buddy or some random guy standing outside the theater?
Your audience is no different. They want to know who you are, where you've come from, and why your opinion is any better than their hairdresser's.
Tell them. Not through your words, but through your actions. Get to know them and their interests. Read the books they like. Visit the sites they browse. Engage in heated discussions.
Basically, help others and they will help you.
Building a relationship only works if you be yourself. I know, I know. Friendship 101. But it still needs to be said. People become friends because they like what they see. Let your audience like you for you.
Hiding behind yet another article about the theology of living life to the fullest is boring. We've seen it before. Write that you lived one day to the fullest by bungie jumping off a cliff...and wet yourself on the way down. It's human. It's alive. It's you.
Whatever or whomever “you” is, write it down. You might not appeal to everyone. But there are people out there waiting for your unique perspective.
Which brings me to my last point...
We writers tend to over think every word we put to paper. We compare it to other accepted forms of communication to ensure we won't offend anyone. Worse, we create imagined offenses that our writing is sure to incur. Basically, we don't want to shock or disturb.
Throw that mindset to the wind. Shock everyone. Free yourself from your own perceptions of what is “acceptable.” When you write freely, you come out. People wonder what you'll do next. You grab your audience's attention.
Where To Go
Social media has become the go-to place to spread your message. And why not? It's fast, easy, and used by millions. There are also less known places to spread your message or expertise. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Look them up, check them out, and sign up for one or two. They're all free and easy to quit if you don't like them.
- Facebook (pages are very helpful to writers)
- Twitter (casual, quick, and to-the-moment)
- Google+ (easy to keep contacts and updates all in one place)
- LinkedIn (for professional networking)
- Pinterest (share your interests in a very visual medium)
- Forums (talk about your interests and meet new people)
- Answer Sites (such as Yahoo Answers – good for sharing your expertise)
- YouTube (lots of lively discussions in the comments)
- Book-reading Sites (such as Goodreads – review and talk about fave books)
- Blogging (on your own blog or as a guest poster)
So there you have it: effective marketing tips that won't have you running for warm, dark safety. Try them out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Thanks so much for writing this wonderful guest post, Jessica! I know I'll be using some of these tips.
So, what do you think? Have any other tips on marketing your writing? What has drawn you to a book recently? What do you find most affects you when deciding which books to buy?
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