Self-publishing is big. Really big. Everyone is talking about it – writers, publishers, retailers, the press, industry analysts … everyone. It’s no surprise. Today’s technology gives anyone anywhere the ability to bypass traditional publishing and take her work to the street, so to speak. Three cheers for the emancipation of the artist!
I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking, along with two others, to a group of writers and artists at the New Hampshire Creative Club (NHCC). (Note to any creatives looking for a great professional organization – these people are super nice and super talented. Worth checking out.) The topic at hand was self-publishing. The other speakers covered things from the perspective of the writer and the publisher. Lee Richmond, a published author, told the story of his adventures in old school publishing as compared to his new adventure with self-publishing. Peter Randall, an indie publisher since 1970, provided an inside look at what goes into making a book – from printing to distribution. Me? I talked about marketing.
I got up on my soapbox a bit, too.
As an aspiring novelist (I can say that even though I haven’t written a word of fiction in three years), it pains me to see how frequently marketing is tacked on as an afterthought. I get that the creative piece is The Thing. Crafting the story is the soul of our efforts. It is driven by our deepest, most heartfelt “why.” There is a reason so many people compare writing a book with giving birth to a child. We put so much of ourselves and our lives into the process; it’s easy to be blind to anything outside our cocoon or ideas and words.
But, if our intention is to make the project profitable, we have to balance our inner work with the realities of the outside world. We have to tear our bleary eyes away from the screen, pry our fingers from around our lucky fountain pens. We must think beyond the creation of the book and consider the audience for the book. Who will read this story of ours? How we will get it into their hands?
That’s where marketing comes in.
In my presentation to the folks of the NHCC, I explained that marketing is not – as many people assume – about selling. Sales is about selling. Marketing is about connecting. If you do a good job with your marketing, if you create a strong enough connection with your audience, sales will take care of themselves. Nice, right?
So, how do you do that?
The answer is certainly longer than I can cram into this modest blog post, but I pulled together a few relevant posts and other information and created a resources page for the NHCC gang. (Oops! Their site clearly states that they are not a gang … just a club). I don’t think they’d mind if I shared it with you. (They really are that nice.) So, dear self-publishing writers and self-publishing writers-to-be, I hope that you will take a few minutes to peruse this selection of posts (many from my archives here on Live to Write-Write to Live) and think about how you can start getting into a marketing mindset for your book project. It’s never too early to start thinking about how to brand yourself and your work, how to build your platform and your network, how to get yourself and your book “out there.”
If you have any additional resources you’d like to share on the topic, please feel free to add them to the comments on this page or the resources page. Writers helping writers is what it’s all about – I’d love to hear your insights and suggestions.
P.S. New England area artists and writers – don’t forget to check out the NHCC!
P.S.S. If any of you are writing books that need illustrations – there’s a serious pool of talent at the NHCC. You can cruise the NHCC business directory for more details.
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Photo Credit: Kevin Harkins (Thanks, Kevin!)