Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I hate marketing!

OK, maybe 'hate' is a bit strong, but I really don't like it.

Marketing takes up time which I'd rather spend writing, or going out in the campervan, being with my lovely husband, or writing in
the campervan, or taking photos, or eating yummy food ... But that's sort of OK. I understand that if I want to sell books I must do some promotion – and I do want my books to sell.

A major problem for me is that I don't know what works and what doesn't. If I mention in this post that I released a collection of 25 slightly spooky stories this week, and I get sales over the next few days, will that be because of the mention? Or due to the fact I announced it on twitter? Or Goodreads? Put a new page on my website? Due to one of my other marketing attempts? Or just because I've released a book and people magically know? (It's not that last one, is it?)

The other issue I have is not wanting to annoy people. I don't like reading constant 'buy my book' posts on social media, so it doesn't seem right to subject others to a bombardment. I really would hate friends to feel under pressure to buy my books, especially if they're not in a genre they enjoy ... but I don't want anyone to be unaware of new titles if they would like to read them.

And another thing ... It's not just a one off. I have a new novel coming out soon (a romance about photographers, which is set in a campervan and involves yummy food) and I'm working on more short story collections and another novel, and I still hope to sell more copies of my previous releases.

Marketing – that's my current, and no doubt ongoing, writing related insecurity. Maybe you share it? Perhaps you can offer help or advice (please!) You might even like to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group.


46 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's really hard to tell what works and what doesn't when you're trying multiple things. But you can't do just one thing because what if that's what doesn't work?

Frances Garrood said...

I totally identify with this, Patsy. In fact, I'm so bad at marketing that having been invited to give a talk and sell my books, I gave the talk but couldn't bring myself to mention selling the books, which remained in a plastic bag well out of sight 😕 What did give a big boost once was when a famous friend of my daughter mentioned a book of mine on Instagram. It's so often who you know, and I don't know anyone famous enough to do the job again. Sigh.

Lindsay said...

If you do local talks and like Frances find it difficult to do the hard sell - take a friend (or a lovey husband!) and get them to do the selling bit! And make friends with famous people.

Pat Hatt said...

Hate is probably the right word when it comes to marketing for me haha

emaginette said...

There's a book with some sound advice called: The IWSG's Guide to Publishing and Beyond. It's free and maybe able to help.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you do find something that works write it down and keep it in a safe place for next time. There is always a next time. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Meka James said...

LOL we are kindred spirits for this month's post topic. As I've just completed my second book I'm now trying to figure out a marketing plan and it isn't something I really want to tackle. Good luck to you.

Elsie Amata said...

I hate it too and that's why I don't do it. That and fear of criticism. What if someone says something terrible about my book. Gah!

Enjoy the rest of your week!
Elsie

Nick Wilford said...

Yeah, I think that's pretty much an ongoing insecurity for a lot of us. I think the key is to make the marketing creative and different rather than just "buy my book". Of course that requires a time investment and some thinking, but hopefully it's fun as well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - sadly it's getting out there and promoting oneself isn't it - book fairs, giving talks and promoting your books, getting your books into libraries ... and writing a series, so then more sales can follow - emailing out to your list ... and so it goes ... not easy I quite agree - mind you once you've mastered it - then you'll love it!! Take care - your next book looks to be a great book to market to photographic groups ...!? cheers Hilary

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Patsy,
I think marketing starts with our mindset. If I say I hate it then everything I do will be tainted with this feeling. That other people are putting out blurbs like buy my book is their way, but if I were you, I wouldn't focus on what other people are doing because that tightens you up. I would choose one or two things that I think fit my personality and I would go with those two things, regardless of what others are doing. For example, asking people to do a review and post where they can purchase your book within the review with a picture of you and a short bio, so that the reader can get to know who you are.
Just my opinion bur I hope it helps you.
Shalom aleichem,
Patricia Everything Must Change

P.S. I'm sure there are writers here at IWSG who would read your book and do a book review and promotes people to buy and read it. Shalom aleichem

Neil Waring said...

Sounds like one of my blog posts. I do sell books when I talk to groups, and enjoy that type of marketing. I do not care for writers who tweet several times a day about their book. I mention one or more of my books when I blog and sign up for the occasional online marketing deal, other than that I sit back and watch my books sell, not always as fast as I wish.

Georgie Faye said...

Some people are naturals at pushing a sale and others are great at doing it for others. Maybe the secret is to pretend you're promoting another author's work. Congratulations on new collection, I'm currently enjoying All That Love Stuff.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, I share that insecurity, too.
I try to use hootsuite and schedule one to two posts a day for twitter and google plus - one post for either my blog or a book and one post that is a quote or for another author or website. If I "share" my feed with other places, then I feel less like I'm being obnoxious.

Lela Markham said...

I find that writing related subject matter gets more hits than "Buy my book" does. Fortunately, my apocalyptic series appeals to a certain demographic that non-fiction blogging on some subjects also appears to. But I have yet to find a way to soft sell my fantasy.

And, I think most writers are not born marketers. We're introverts. That's what makes us good at writing ... and struggling with marketing.

Juneta Key said...

No ready advice. Congrats on the upcoming book.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

dolorah said...

"set in a campervan and involves yummy food" - yeah, no one saw that one coming, lol.

Life is full of tough choices and priority setting. Perhaps you could do your marketing with the hubby sitting in the campervan, him serving you yummy food. That should cover all bases??

Marketing will definitely be my downfall.

Teresa Ashby said...

Congratulations on the new book, Patsy. I fall flat on my face when it comes to marketing - I just can't do it. I think you have the balance just right.

Michelle Wallace said...

I'm not there, yet...but the thought of marketing is painful. I'm definitely not a salesperson.
Patsy, I really enjoyed your stories that I read.
Writer In Transit

Patsy said...

Exactly! I have tried a few experiments and am gradually learning a few things, but it takes time.

Patsy said...

So far, at talks, I've always managed to put the books somewhere visible - that's a start. Now I just need a famous friend who's active on social media.

Patsy said...

Good tips I'll try!

Patsy said...

Me too, really. I was trying to stay positive!

Patsy said...

I'll take a look at the book - thanks!

You're right, there will be lots of next times.

Patsy said...

It's some comfort to know I'm not alone.

Patsy said...

Weirdly I'm not worried about people being critical of my books. Of course I don't want them to, but I know I can't please everyone.

Patsy said...

That makes sense, Nick. I'll try.

Patsy said...

I'm not sure I'll ever love it, but it might get easier!

I hadn't thought of photographic groups. It wouldn't hurt to try making contact with a local one.

Patsy said...

Pat, ignoring what others do and finding something I'm comfortable with is great advice. Thank you!

Diane Burton said...

I'm with you about marketing. It's hard to know what works. Finding that line between bombarding people and letting them know is a challenge. Congrats on the upcoming release. If you want some promo, I love blog guests. Email me: dmburton72@gmail.com

Patsy said...

Doing what we enjoy, and avoiding things which irritate us when others do it makes a lot of sense, Neil.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I think many authors feel exactly the same, Patsy! Thankfully, I started my blog and website before publishing novels and I've given lots of talks to writing groups affiliated to the Scottish Association of Writers. That makes it easier to take books along with me if asked and lots of people know me online (including other authors from my two publishers) - otherwise it's a fine balance between not doing enough or annoying people. One thought to leave you - when we're not in book shops, one of the main ways that people will know about books is through social media but I try not to overdo it and leave days in between when I'm just being social online and not mentioning books!

Patsy said...

Thanks, Faye - I'll try that.

Really pleased you're enjoying the book - and as this is a marketing discussion, I hope you won't me asking if you'd be kind enough to leave a review on Amazon when you've finished.

Patsy said...

Spreading things about and being sure to include stuff which isn't an advert sound excellent tips. Thanks.

Patsy said...

I'm certainly not a borm marketer, Leia.

Patsy said...

Thank you, Juneta.

Patsy said...

Marketing from the campervan sounds like fun! Would it work if I just loitered in pretty places eating cakes and hoping for customers?

Patsy said...

Thank you, Teresa.

I feel as though I'm falling on my face too. Maybe I can learn to land more gently?

Patsy said...

I'm not a salesperson either, Michelle - we'll both have to just try our best.

Patsy said...

Thanks very much, Dianne - email heading your way!

Patsy said...

I think those 'days in between' are as important as the sales pitches, Rosemary. Personally I don't at all mind online friends mentioning their books sometimes, but if that's all they do then I very quickly lose interest.

Anonymous said...

I love marketing, Patsy - everything except my own work that is!��

One reason for this is that I don't have a book to sell, but even when it comes to my paintings I find it excruciatingly difficult to promote my own work. One thing I did discover a few years ago, however, was that when my sister and I shared a stall at a local Chrismas craft fair I had no problem selling her craftwork and she was happy to talk to customers about prints of my original artwork.

I'm so sad to say that this Sunday is the first anniversary of her death from cancer, but I have such fond memories of that day at the craft fair when she and I had great fun selling each other's work and we were quite successful. Perhaps this is the way to go - mutual sales and marketing with a friend?

Yvette Carol said...

Don't worry, you're not alone, Patsy! I haven't met a single writer yet how likes to do their own marketing. It goes in the "I didn't sign up for this" file, however, it's a fact of life for authors these days. It feels like having chores constantly waiting to be done!

Patsy said...

That sounds a good idea - especially if each person genuinely loves the other's work. I'll have to think who I could do this with.

So sorry about your sister, but glad you have such happy memories.

Patsy said...

Yes, it does feel that way, Yvette!

Wendy's Writing said...

Marketing is a really tricky one, Patsy. The never know what really works.

Patsy said...

I suppose we just try stuff and hope for the best then?