I’d like to welcome author and powerhouse promoter, Randi Lee!
There’s a new trend in the publishing world: both traditional and independent publishers are looking more and more toward authors to market their own materials. It is becoming increasingly normal to find a request for an author’s marketing plans on agent and publisher submission guidelines sites. Thus, it is not only self-published authors who are tasked with the precarious job of self-promoting these days; more and more traditional and indie authors are playing the writer/marketer balancing act, too. Regardless of the publishing route we choose to follow, we, as authors, now find ourselves falling under a united flag: the flag of the self-promoter.
In one sense this is a positive, as it is uniting authors in new and exciting ways. I see authors coming together through various social media mediums to support each other and share their knowledge in the fields of marketing and self-promotion. It is bringing together three fragmented units of authors: Traditional, Indie, Self-Published. It’s reminding us that while our roads to publication are different, our goal in traveling those roads is the same: we want our books to be read. We all want to spread our words as far as they can go.
Authors, the books you write are your own. They’re a recipe of you, comprised of ingredients you select to satisfy your story appetite. Your books reflect your values, they flow to the melody of your word choices, they sing of your character designs and they dance around the world you build. Authors often refer to their books as “their babies.” Rightfully so. Just as all of the elements of life come together in the womb to grow a child, so do all the elements of the world come together to grow your book. As much as you are writing for the reader, the book reflects you, it exposes you, it is you.
That’s nowhere near being a bad thing. The best books come from the heart. They come from that place deep inside you that no one else gets to see. The best books are unique and individual, telling, through similes and clever phrases, your story. For all of us authors to abandon what’s in our hearts and write only what we feel will appear to readers would make for a quite boring, quite mundane and quite redundant library. The art of reading, I think, would dissipate.
What is troubling about your book being all about you, dear authors, is that marketing is the exact opposite: marketing is the art of writing to someone else’s heart. It isn’t about sharing your message, about people understanding the hidden reasons behind why you wrote a certain scene or what you were trying to convey through your character’s clothing choices. It’s about connecting what you’ve written to the reader in a way that makes them feel special and understood, that makes them think the story is akin to their story. It’s about making the reader want to read your story because they can see their own story within the one you’ve written. The creative writing portion of your publishing journey was about you. The marketing writing portion of your publishing journey is about your reader.
It can be hard to determine whether you’re writing your promotional materials for yourself or for your reader. An easy way to ensure that you are writing your message for your reader and not yourself is to ask questions within your materials that include the word “you.” For example, in my recently released novel, Affected, the main character faces a loss when the love of his life runs away from him. I targeted readers who have been left by someone they loved in the following image teaser:
In this example, I spoke directly to the reader’s memories and emotions on the subject of loss. I asked them if something like this had ever happened to them. I asked them what they would do. I created an instant emotional tie between my reader and my story, thereby taking my book, my world, my message, and making it about them. Now my book has given the reader something: it’s provided them with a sense of understanding, a knowledge that they are not alone in what they went through. It resonates with them because they know what it is to lose, and reading about that loss gives comfort and provides validity to their experience. It gives their sense of loss a universality: they are not alone—not thanks to your book.
We want our marketing to be about us, our message, our story. Of course we do. We’ve put everything we have into these books. It can’t be about us, though. It has to be about the reader if you want to create those emotional and spiritual connections that pull cause readers to pull books off shelves. Make your marketing message less about you and your book. Make it more about what your book can give your readers. When you market, market towards your target reader’s emotions, past experiences, likes and dislikes. Market towards your target reader’s hopes and fears. Think about aspects of the book that can help them in some way or something in the book they can relate to. Use that as your pitch, and watch your book sales soar.
Thanks, Spunky, for having me on your blog today! I hope this information proves useful to you, Spunky’s readers. Good luck with your self-promotion and marketing campaigns. I hope that making it about the reader leads to exceeding successes!
website. Affected, her action-packed dystopian thriller, is available at all store fronts, including: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.