Marketing with a Blog

blog

Milestones

This blog is relatively new: I’ve been blogging actively here only for a little over a year.

Things started out very slowly. In the beginning, the numbers could easily have discouraged me, but I didn’t let them. We see many new bloggers show up, write a few posts, and vanish, which shows that many do get discouraged. But there is hope.

In my case, I just passed 20,000 views and 2,000 followers recently. Over the course of the first month or even the first few months, there was no reason to expect that I’d reach these numbers in a little over a year. Things can improve. There are reasons to expect improvement, which I will describe later in this post.

About Marketing

I don’t blog to market. I blog because I love writing, I’m thrilled to be part of a revolutionary time in the publishing industry that offers much more freedom, and I see thousands of authors taking the indie approach.

At first I strongly loathed the concept of marketing. But I became increasingly curious about it as I realized that it’s not really about advertising or salesmanship. I discovered that this crazy concept we call marketing can be a means of sharing your passion with others.

I’ve become passionate about this perspective of marketing. I enjoy studying ways that marketing can help you share ideas that you have a passion for without seeming like advertising or sales. Traditional textbooks approach marketing like a business. Many people in the marketing world who are most qualified to discuss the underlying principles also view marketing with regard to business.

But I’m a writer who, like thousands of indie authors, doesn’t view writing as a business, but as an art. Sometimes it’s handy to think about the business side, but when I write, I want to feel like an artist. I can motivate myself to write when I feel this way. Similarly, I can’t motivate myself to market thinking of it in a business sense. But I can put time, effort, and thought into marketing when I view it as an art.

Marketing can be viewed as an art. You can be creative with it. You can market to share ideas that you’re passionate about, rather than market to stimulate sales. The end goal might be the same, but how you feel about what you’re doing is different in each case, and the distinction matters. It affects your motivation, your confidence, the passion you show in interactions, how easily you give up, and more.

Again, I don’t blog to market my books. I blog because I love to write and blogging lets me do that. I blog to connect with other writers, and have made some good blogging friends and connections this way. I blog because I see thousands of other indie authors who I feel might benefit from my perspective on marketing. It’s easy to get discouraged in the publishing world. I hope a few of my posts provide a little encouragement.

In the Beginning

My first trip to WordPress was somewhat embarrassing. I actually joined WordPress in May of 2011. I signed up, did one quick post called “A New Kind of Word Puzzle,” and vanished into thin air. The post consists of one paragraph describing puzzle books that I coauthored. It’s nothing more than self-promotion and doesn’t read well.

It had 3 views the entire month of May, zero likes, and zero comments.

I could delete this post, but I leave it there as a reminder. That’s my experience with trying this the wrong way.

From May, 2011 thru November, 2012 (that’s 1.5 years), I didn’t make a single new post.

In December, 2012, I tried a second time. I posted “Customer Book Reviews – Can’t Live With ’em, Can’t Live Without ’em.” As of this morning, this post still has only 5 likes and zero comments. If you’re one of the 5 and reading this post over a year later… wow, you deserve an award. 🙂 There were 6 views of this post in December, 2012, and it’s now been viewed a whopping 7 times.

This post was, I felt, a huge improvement over my Hello, World post on word puzzles. It relates to writing and publishing, the same theme as I adopt today.

My next two posts didn’t fair much better, but I finally received a couple of comments. I started to get a few followers. It was very slow: a few views, a few likes, a few follows. By few, I mean like 3 to 5. Few. It can be really tough starting out. I felt like my posts were helpful.

I felt, as many writers can relate, that it was easier to sell a book on Amazon than it was to get discovered on WordPress. In fact, it took several months of active blogging before my average daily views finally exceeded my average daily sales. The author who starts blogging with the intention of marketing a book could get really discouraged by this observation. Fortunately, I wasn’t blogging to market my books, so this never concerned me.

On January 5, 2013, I had the inspiration for one of my favorite posts of mine, “Reading & Writing with Passion.” Some other bloggers apparently liked this post, too, as it received some comments, a reblog, and a couple of pingbacks. This post had 39 views that month. That was huge for one of my first handful of posts.

Meanwhile, you check out your Reader or Freshly Pressed and discover blogs with hundreds of thousands of views and posts with hundreds of likes and dozens of comments. The grass isn’t just greener on the other side—it’s made out of 24-karat gold.

It Should Start Slowly

Wouldn’t it be great to achieve instant success? (Nope. It would be easy, but not great. You wouldn’t appreciate it at all. You wouldn’t feel like you earned it.)

Whether you would like it to take off instantly or not, a blog is a seed that you plant, nurture, and grow. It starts out buried in the mud. After several weeks, you might see a tendril poke through the surface. If you watch closely for several days, it might seem to get a fraction of an inch taller. Months later, when you see the first sign of a leaf, you jump for joy. Many blogs get planted, watered for a short while, and abandoned.

And that’s the way it should be, to an extent.

Your blog is new. You don’t have a preexisting fan base to find your blog in the Reader or get your post by email. You’re struggling to get discovered.

You’re discovering other blogs. You’re interacting with other bloggers. You’re hoping to get discovered. But many of those bloggers have hundreds of followers. Some are waiting to see if you’ll be a regular, or just one of the many passing followers hoping for nothing more than a reciprocal follow. Those who do visit your blog see that you’re brand spanking new: They’re waiting to see more content, to see if you’ll be here for the long-haul, and to see if you have enough posts that will interest them. They already have a very full Reader, so they’re selective about adding new followers.

The numbers game doesn’t help. You start thinking things like… I’m posting 3 times per week… Blogging 1 hour per day… Typing 3000 words per week in addition to my book… Getting 2 new followers per week… Getting 6 views per day… Getting 4 likes per post. At 2 followers per week, it will take a year to reach a mere 100 followers. At 6 views per day, active blogging for a whole year will give you a mere 2000 views.

But while blogging starts out slowly, there is much potential for improvement. I started out with very slow numbers.  Yet I just passed 20,000 views and 2,000 followers after about 14 months of active blogging.

Blogging Potential

Everyone is different, but for most bloggers stats do improve significantly over long periods of time.

Your numbers probably won’t be identical to mine, but if you’re starting out, the growth of my numbers and those of many other bloggers may offer hope.

In January, 2013, I was getting just a handful of views and likes per post and follows per week. Slowly, over the course of months, this turned into dozens and then dozens more. Now, I have more than 100 views on my blog almost every day, even if I don’t post anything new. I usually get a couple dozen or more likes of my posts within the first couple of days. I get several new followers each week. Let me take a moment to shout THANK YOU to everyone who has been even a small part of this.

That’s a huge improvement, but I’ve only been actively blogging for a year and I’m still a small fish in a big pool. There are many bloggers getting hundreds of views per day, hundreds of likes per post, and who have over a hundred thousand followers. No matter how well you do, you can always find someone else who seems to be doing much better.

But I don’t blog for the numbers. If I did, I probably would have been one of the many bloggers who give up quickly and never return. I’m just sharing my numbers to possibly give some newbies a little hope.

One of the coolest things that happened to me was receiving an email from WordPress that one of my posts, “Once Upon a Time,” a poem made exclusively out of clichĂ©s, was being Freshly Pressed. Wow, they picked little ol’ me. They said I would be getting a lot more traffic at my blog, and they weren’t kidding. As of now, this single post has been viewed 1659 times. It has 167 comments (mostly clichĂ©s; these are among my favorite comments to read), 342 likes, and dozens of reblogs. I had my record number of views for a single day, 432, and received hundreds of followers during this period.

A blog can grow significantly over a long period of time, even if it might seem to do so very slowly. Several factors may help your blog grow:

  • A gradual increase in your following means a few more people reading your blog in the Reader or by email. Some followers are just hoping for a follow-back, and some followers are outside of your target audience. But as your following grows, your real following grows with it.
  • Discovery takes time. As you regularly interact with fellow bloggers and establish new connections, your blog will get discovered more. Not everyone will like your blog. Some will offer support, but won’t be in your target audience. But as your blog gets discovered more, your blog will grow. If you post a link to your blog from your books and other parts of your online platform, this will aid in discoverability.
  • It takes time to build relevant content and for the content to get discovered. If you post content that interests your target audience, it may eventually start to attract your target audience. Some posts get discovered through keyword searches through search engines. If you succeed in writing a few posts that get discovered a few times externally every day, this brings new people from your target audience outside of your blog-world to your blog. This is the idea behind a content-rich website. What starts out as a simple blog can grow into a content-rich website with material that will interest your target audience. This helps you share your passion with others. Your “target audience” is a wonderful group of people who share your passion.
  • The more you read other blogs and interact with other bloggers, the more you learn. You get ideas for how you might make your effective use of your blog. Your posts tend to improve over time. The appearance of your blog changes. You start to explore new features on WordPress. You have more content (i.e. all those posts you’ve written) to attract interest when your blog is discovered. Your most recent posts may be better than your old posts, helping you attract more interest.
  • You may expand, feeding your WordPress posts into Facebook and Twitter (but don’t cross-feed between Facebook and Twitter or you’ll get double or triple posts). Even if you don’t plan to make much use of Twitter or Facebook, this offers potential followers another way of following you. Some people prefer other forms of social media to WordPress. Let them follow you via their favorite platforms. If you do make use of other forms of social media, some of the people you reach over there will discover your blog that way.
  • The more posts you write, the better your chances of writing a magical post that goes viral. It can happen to you.

More than Just a Blog

Blogging isn’t about marketing.

There is so much here at WordPress:

  • There are many wonderful bloggers to interact with. Many of us feel that the interactions are the best part of the blogging experience.
  • There is so much wonderful material to read. Browsing through your Reader or Freshly Pressed is better than any magazine, in my opinion, and it’s free.
  • The WordPress community can be very supportive. This can be part of your support network.
  • WordPress abounds in creativity. It’s fun and inspiring.

In addition, your blog can be more than just a blog. It can also function as a content-rich website. This is the latest trend in marketing. The hope is to attract people from your target audience beyond your blog by posting relevant content. But I don’t think of this in a business sense. I see it as a means to share your passion with others. I see designing and growing your website as an art form. I don’t think of it as marketing in the usual sense of the word.

Visualize what your blog can be and work toward that. Enjoy it. Don’t focus on the stats, which can deceive and discourage you. Think positively.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Book Marketing Assignment: What Do Your Customers See?

Eye

Concept: The Customer’s Perspective

It’s a very handy perspective to see your book the way prospective customers see it. They are judging your book, deciding whether to buy it, never buy it, or think about it for a while. The more insight you can gain into this, the better you can perfect the marketability of your book.

Challenge: A Different Perspective

The customers and the author view the book through much different perspectives:

  • Customers are deciding if the book interests them. The author has a crush on the book, whereas customers aren’t sure if they even want to shake hands with the book, let alone take it out on a date or propose to it.
  • Customers have no idea what the book is about until they see the cover, read the blurb, and check it out. The author already knows what the book is about; the author even knows the story and ending.
  • Customers want to learn about the genre and content. The author already knows these precisely.
  • Customers stumble along the sentences of the blurb and Look Inside as they are written, noticing any typos or formatting issues. The author tends to read what he or she meant to write, not seeing what’s actually there (making it easy to miss typos). It’s difficult for the author to consider how each sentence might be misinterpreted.
  • Customers are comparing the book to similar books, noticing any differences with what they are accustomed to reading. Authors should be thinking this way, too, when preparing their product pages, but, unfortunately, usually aren’t thinking this way.

Assignment: What Your Customers See

Months after publishing, it’s worthwhile to rediscover your book. You’re no longer feeling that strong urge to publish it; you’re no longer overwhelmed with all the work that must be done to publish the book. You’ve forgotten parts of your blurb, which gives you a chance to see it with fresh eyes.

Here is your book marketing assignment:

  1. Search for your book on Amazon. See how it looks on a page of thumbnails. Imagine not knowing anything about your book. Would you be able to guess the genre and content instantly? Is the title easy to read in the thumbnail? If this were someone else’s cover, what criticism would you offer?
  2. Read your blurb as if you’ve just discovered it. Sound it out slowly, listening to it one syllable at a time. Check carefully for any typos. Does the beginning of your blurb grab your interest? Does the blurb engage you throughout? Does it arouse your curiosity to want to look inside? Are there any sentences or phrases that customers might find confusing, or could just be more clear? Do you see any words, clichĂ©s, phrases, or ideas that may upset or confuse your target audience? Is there any punctuation that you’re unsure about?
  3. Examine the biography on your author page the same way. Look at your author photo. Does it seem professional? Do you look credible as the author of your book?
  4. Look inside your book. Scroll back to see your enlarged cover. Read through your title page, copyright page, and front matter carefully; take breaks every couple of paragraphs. Note any formatting issues, no matter how subtle, that might have a little room for improvement; also note any editing issues. Does the front matter make a good impression? You want to roll out the red carpet to welcome the reader, not have the reader pull on a grimy doorknob, press against a splintered door, and walk down a dark, damp hallway.
  5. Read the sample chapters. Does it start out engaging the reader’s interest and hold it throughout? Does the beginning fit the target audience’s expectations for the genre and content? Look carefully for any formatting or editing mistakes. Imagine this is somebody else’s book and you’re determined to show that person how many mistakes there are. If the sample doesn’t make you want to buy your own book, perhaps there is some room for improvement; think of how you might make it more compelling.
  6. Check out other books in the genre or category that appear to be successful. How do those covers, blurbs, and sample chapters compare to your book? Look for ideas that could help you improve your book’s product page. What makes those books marketable? What might your book be lacking?
  7. Ask others to examine your book’s product page and encourage honest feedback.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Creative Marketing Ideas for Books

Envelope

Imagination. Authors use it to write books. Readers look for books that apply it effectively. So why not use that creativity in marketing, too?

Here are some creative marketing ideas for generating book publicity:

  • Small stickers with your book cover on them. Use them to seal envelopes and the recipient will surely see your book cover when opening your mail. An alternative is to print your book cover directly onto the envelope. Stickers can also be applied to many other items besides envelopes.
  • How about a nice tattoo of your book cover on a visible body part? What more could an author do to show how much he or she believes in his or her book?
  • But you can achieve a similar effect without the pain or a permanent mark on your body. It’s called a t-shirt. If it looks nice, other people might even wear them. It doesn’t quite show the commitment of a tattoo, but I’ve never met a reader who only reads books by authors who tattoo the covers on their bodies. In cold weather, t-shirts might get covered up, so a hat might be a good alternative.
  • Advertise your book on your car. The mild way to do this is with a bumper sticker. But you see more and more small businesses with extensive paint jobs to market their products and services. Sometimes, it’s just a website written on the back. Other times, the entire vehicle is transformed. Imagine thousands of people stuck in traffic, seeing your book on your car. Would this brand your book’s image effectively? Or would people think you’re a nut? Maybe it depends on how professional it looks and how mild it seems.
  • More traditional ways to publicize your book include business cards, bookmarks, flyers, and brochures. A bookmark that looks nice enough to use (i.e. not like an advertisement) helps to brand your image, at least with readers who still use print books. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone, who knows who, accidentally misplaced a few of your bookmarks inside similar books at a bookstore? How did those get there?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool to have some pens or pencils that feature your book? After all, you’re a writer.
  • Suppose you are friends with some experienced authors and between you, you have dozens of books. Imagine spending a day renting a small kiosk in a mall or other highly visible area, selling your books. Even if you don’t sell too many, people will see your books and browse them. In the worst-case scenario where you don’t sell any, you have a cool picture to post on your author page, blog, and all over the internet.
  • Think of all the advertising in sports: ballcaps, towels, golf tees and markers, wristbands, duffel bags, etc. You could have your book on one of these, advertising your own product instead of some big business. If your book relates to that sport, even better. People might even want one of their own.
  • I was watching a MLB game once where during the game the announcer mentioned a book that a fan had sent him and they showed pages of the book on the air. It had pictures of a fan’s collection of baseball memorabilia. If you send your product to a t.v. announcer, it probably won’t get aired, but if it does, that’s some major publicity. In the more likely case where it doesn’t get aired, it might still get read or mentioned to other people.
  • Don’t forget, it’s not just sight, there is also sound. People don’t just see your book, they can also hear about it. When you interact with people, let them discover that you’re an author and inquire about your book.
  • Imagine eating a peaceful dinner with your family. The phone rings. Telemarketer, of course. An author telling you all about his book. Yeah, this probably isn’t cost-effective for most authors, and might be rather irksome.
  • A less disruptive, more effective way to create book publicity is to get your book in the news. Prepare a professional-looking press release kit and contact newspapers and radio stations, for example. Start small and local. Many local papers have column inches to fill and like to highlight local talent; a small, local radio station might need to fill minutes. You can look for book reviews or interviews. You can also think of what else might make you newsworthy and let you plug your book.
  • Online, you can show your book cover and author photo and mention your book on all your sites. You can interact with your target audience at other sites and let them discover that you’re an author.
  • Write an article relevant for your target audience. Try to get it published in a newspaper or magazine, or a website online. There are so many websites online, that if you’re determined and your article is well-written and interesting, you have very good prospects. In the worst case, you can still post your article on your blog, so it won’t go to waste. Get your article posted where there is significant traffic from your target audience and you might get some healthy traffic to your book. At the end of the article, write Your Name, Author of Your Book.
  • There are many advertising opportunities online. The big question is whether or not it will be cost-effective. You can spend as little as about $5 a day and try to match your book with readers in your target audience at Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter, for example. The click-through rate is pretty small these days, less than a percent on average; and of the products and services offered, a book by an unknown author probably won’t attract much attention this way.
  • If you really want to invest big, you can spend $10,000 or more advertising your book or series of books online. For example, that’s the starting amount to advertise a book through Amazon’s marketing department. This is for a professional campaign for highly marketable books, for authors with multiple books. Even then, you might not recover the investment after a couple million shoppers see your book over the course of a month.  The publishers and authors who use this service may have other objectives that may offset an initial loss, such as the hope of getting on a coveted bestseller list or stimulating initial sales and reviews for a new series. This is a huge risk for a new author, as the worst-case scenario is virtually no sales; there are no guarantees.
  • A more cost-effective way to advertise may be to run a short-term promotion and promote the sale through a service like BookBub. You can find a sample list here.

Marketability

It’s not just about marketing. It’s also about marketability. Do you have a book that readers will really enjoy? Do you have a book that has a significant audience? It can be a niche audience, as long as it’s significant and you can reach your audience effectively. Do you have a cover that will attract your specific target audience? Do you have a blurb that will make your target audience want to look inside? Does the look inside grab the reader’s attention and make him or her want to buy your book? Is your content good enough to get referrals, reviews, and recommendations? Will the editing and formatting satisfy the target audience?

If your cover isn’t appealing, or if your cover attracts the wrong audience, or if the blurb doesn’t make the reader curious, or if the look inside doesn’t attract the reader, or if the story doesn’t satisfy the reader, or if the reader finds many mistakes, or if there isn’t a significant audience for your book… then the first thing you need to do is improve your book’s marketability. You’re not ready to start marketing your book yet.

For an in-depth discussion of marketability, click here.

Target Audience

With any marketing and advertising, you need to gear it toward your specific target audience for it to be effective. Marketing efforts that reach your specific target audience effectively can do wonders for a highly marketable book. Spend time thinking about the characteristics and habits of your target audience. Interact with fans; direct them to your email, blog, or fan page. The more you interact with fans, the better you will understand the variety of people who enjoy your book.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The easy thing to calculate is cost. If you invest in an advertisement or service, you can easily estimate how much you’re paying. Remember, time is money, too. If you’re spending hours marketing your book, this is costing you even if it’s free.

The hard thing to calculate is the benefit. It’s not easy to predict what impact your marketing effort will have on sales. If you do some new marketing, you can try to see if it’s improving sales compared to your average, but there are many complications (like maybe Amazon also made changes to customers also bought lists at about the same time, or maybe you got a few new reviews).

There are also many valuable benefits besides immediate sales. Most marketing requires patience, on the scale of many months. Branding takes time. People don’t run out and buy products immediately when they see an advertisement. The might see an advertisement a few different times over the course of months, then one day when they are shopping for that product, they see one that was advertised and recognize it. Things like branding really complicate the figuring of benefits in a cost-benefit analysis. Branding is highly important, but difficult to predict, and a challenge to calculate after a couple of years.

Nonetheless, you should be weighing costs and benefits with all of your marketing.

Author Image

If you’re trying something creative, ask yourself how it might impact your image as an author. You want to be viewed as a professional author. An author’s brand is difficult to establish, but very easy to destroy.

Chris McMullen

I have a Ph.D. in physics, but don’t let that scare you. I love to read and write. If you just look around my blog or at the books I’ve published, you’ll see that I love to write. I’ve come to understand and appreciate the marketing aspect, too. I didn’t like it when I first started publishing, back when I naively thought marketing meant salesmanship and advertising. Now that I realize that marketing is more about branding, showing that you’re a person and not a name, and letting your target audience discover your passion—and more meaningful and subtle things like these—I’ve come to enjoy it. I hope to reveal the enjoyable and fascinating side of marketing—the parts that aren’t so obvious—to other authors. Focus on this side of marketing, and you may find yourself more motivated to do it, the process more rewarding, and hopefully better long-term results.

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

The Value of Marketing Books

value

Why are you marketing your books?

The wrong reasons are for financial gain or sales. I’m not saying you shouldn’t sell books or earn royalties. I’m saying these shouldn’t be your motivating goals.

Why not?

Several important reasons:

  • Would you rather read a book that was prepared by an author who was passionate about the subject or who was trying to get rich quick? The key point here is that it can’t be the same book. The writing itself will be different based on the underlying motivation of the author.
  • Positive personal interactions with your target audience can get readers interested in your book. If your main objective is money or sales, your mindset is apt to be more businesslike* and less personal. People can sense if you seem to be passionate about your work or come across more as a salesperson.
  • You’re more likely to be focused on quick returns and lack the necessary patience. For example, branding is an important part of marketing, but can take many months to pay off. A blog works best when it is interactive, but tends to start out very slowly. Word-of-mouth sales can make a huge impact, but often not for a long time. When you’re focused on sales, it’s hard to work hard at things that might not pay off for several months.
  • Interacting with others is important in marketing, but a sales-oriented author tends to focus primarily on the book and sales. When you market for better reasons, you see the value of interacting with your target audience, establishing connections with other authors, and other personal marketing endeavors that are quite important. Your underlying objectives also affect how you interact with others, which in turn affects their perception of you.
  • Many roads will tempt you with prospects for quick riches. If your heart desires instant success, your desire can shove logical reasoning aside, distracting you with a variety of ways to invest money with the hope of big short-term gains. Striving to build gradually toward long-term gains tends to be both much more plausible and rewarding.
  • Financial goals can deceive you into bending your natural ethical beliefs. You’re in the public eye as you try to create publicity for yourself and your book. One false step can ruin your reputation. Authors must strive to brand a positive, professional image in order to achieve long-lasting success. Strong character and good intentions are assets.

If not Money, then What?

There are other factors that make book marketing valuable to both authors and readers. These factors can also make the marketing more effective. Here are a few examples:

  • Passion for the subject, book idea, or story. Infuse your writing with passion. View your book as a work of art. Use your passion to perfect your masterpiece. If you can take this a step further and convince yourself to share your passion with others, letting your passion show through implicitly in your marketing endeavors can make a big difference. It also changes your focus from your sales figures to the positive experience you can share with others.
  • For the love of writing. In this case your passion is for the craft itself.
  • To pass your knowledge on. You’re a teacher in addition to being an author. Place your emphasis on what students can learn from you (not just your book), instead of how many books you can sell. Samples of your content knowledge can help you attract students.
  • Helping others. A great story can offer an escape from reality, and a self-help book can help people improve their minds, bodies, or spirits. Focus on what you (not just your book) can do for others.
  • It’s fun. Writing is fun. At least, it should be. Enjoy it.

How Marketing is Valuable

It’s not the money. Sales do come from effective marketing. But there are other rewards that are more valuable than royalties. Again, I’m not saying you should sacrifice your royalties. I’m saying to focus on these other rewards, then the royalties will come on their own and the experience will be more enjoyable and less stressful.

  • It allows you to share your passion with others. People must discover your book before they can enjoy it. They are more likely to become interested in your book when they discover your passion.
  • You can build meaningful relationships through marketing. This is more likely when you’re focused on other rewards besides sales.
  • If your intuition tells you that marketing is about salesmanship and advertising, it may be refreshing to discover firsthand that you can market effectively on a more personal level.
  • The sense of belonging to a supportive author community is a reward in itself. The author community can be highly supportive (in a positive, ethical way, of course). Interact with others in a positive way, build meaningful relationships, and support others. Share your passion with other authors, not just with readers. (But also manage your time wisely. Don’t get lost in your blog. Save time for writing, your family, and yourself. You have to learn to juggle.)
  • Interact with your readers. Not only will your readers benefit from this and see your passion for your work, but you can learn about your readers this way, too.
  • Have fun with your writing and your marketing. This way, it isn’t work. You might feel more creative and passionate, which can make a positive impact. More importantly, you may feel better. Writing and marketing can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. The power to change this lies in your perception and motivation.
  • Make gradual improvements. Strive for long-term success. Grow your online platform and selection of books. Start out with a few basic marketing ideas and add to this. Eventually, if you develop a complete, professional author package and much improved sales, you may find such long-term success to be more rewarding than any short-term gain.

Ask not what your readers can do for you (i.e. how can they find and buy your books). Ask what you can do for your readers (provide an amazing reading experience).

*Business vs. Art

You must balance this wisely. It’s smart to research books already on the market before you write to assess your book’s chances. It’s smart to learn about your target audience before you write and before you market your book. But when you do the actual writing and marketing, feel like an artist.

Who Am I?

Chris McMullen.

I’m not just a name. I’m a person, too.

I have a Ph.D. in physics, but don’t let that scare you. I love to read and write. If you just look around my blog or at the books I’ve published, you’ll see that I love to write. I’ve come to understand and appreciate the marketing aspect, too. I didn’t like it when I first started publishing, back when I naively thought marketing meant salesmanship and advertising. Now that I realize that marketing is more about branding, showing that you’re a person and not a name, and letting your target audience discover your passion—and more meaningful and subtle things like these—I’ve come to enjoy it. I hope to reveal the enjoyable and fascinating side of marketing—the parts that aren’t so obvious—to other authors. Focus on this side of marketing, and you may find yourself more motivated to do it, the process more rewarding, and hopefully better long-term results.

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I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers