Taming the Marketing Monster

When my daughters were little, they were convinced that a scary monster was waiting in the bedroom closet at night. Our solution was an easy one: I gave them a small hammer to put under their pillow, so when the monster came out, they could conk it on the head. Oddly enough, the monster never showed up, and my daughters slept soundly through the nights.

Empowerment is a wonderful thing.

Now that I’ve become a published novelist, I’ve discovered that most authors have a similar problem: there’s a scary monster in our closets named Marketing, and it will come out of hiding even if you keep a hammer under your pillow. Not only that, but if you ignore it, Marketing will sneak out when you’re not looking to destroy all your hard work to become published.

On the other hand, if you learn to tame it, Marketing will become your faithful friend, bringing you exposure, opportunities, and book sales.  So instead of the hammer, here are a few empowering ideas to stick under your pillow tonight to help you begin the taming of your marketing monster.

  1. It’s YOUR monster. No one else is going to take responsibility for it, so you need to learn as much as possible about the feeding and care of it. Read blogs and books about book marketing. Create a list of media contacts in your area that includes radio stations, televisions, newspapers, magazines and even bulletin boards (find out who gives approval to use them!).  Add the names of librarians, book store managers, and book club contacts. Make a roster of blogs that relate to your topic/novel where you can visit and leave comments. By creating your own database of ideas and contacts, the question of “what do I do?” becomes “where do I start?”
  2. Feed your monster every day. Choose one marketing activity. Do it. Today. Write an announcement/press release of your book’s publication and email it to your contact list. Visit five blogs and mention your book. Donate a copy to the library. Get a Facebook page. Don’t worry about results at this point; just get the word out that you’ve got a book published. Tomorrow, choose another marketing task and do it. The next day, do the same thing. Feeding your monster a steady diet of small marketing activities will keep it content and much less scary. Over time, all those tidbits of publicity you’ve done will add up and begin to yield the bigger results you want: a growing readership.
  3. Take your monster out to play on a regular basis. Meet other authors and network with them on marketing ideas and contacts. Plan joint events. Share experiences. Commiserate over the failures. Celebrate the triumphs. Laugh. Create your own marketing support group.

Most of all, don’t let Marketing scare you. All it really wants is your attention…and to get out of that closet. You just have to open the door.

What scares you the most about Marketing? Has your monster brought you unexpected gifts?