We all make mistakes.  They’re unavoidable!  And this holds true for the self-publishing author’s first (or second, or third, or nth) foray into marketing: You will not do everything perfectly on the first (or second, or third, or nth) attempt, and living in fear or working under the shadow of this truth can lead to paralysis.  So how to move on into the next step of authorship without getting lost or discouraged along the way?  I always recommend an innovative–and informed–approach.  Knowing what others have done to kill their marketing campaigns can be of help.  To that end, I have been writing this series of “marketing missteps.”  To ruthlessly paraphrase Animal Farm: All mistakes are created equal, but some mistakes are more equal than others.  In other words, these mistakes are guaranteed to set you on the wrong path:

This week, I’ll be taking on perhaps the most challenging misstep of all, and its one that I myself fall prey to … regularly.

Taking it Personally

I’m not going to lie: there are times when we need to take things personally in order to keep plugging away at the writing thing, when a compliment or a piece of sound constructive criticism is exactly the right thing to move us from stasis back into action.  But knowing whose compliments and whose advice is worth listening to?  That’s the hard part.

Running your own self-publishing marketing campaign requires us to grow thick skin.  This isn’t optional–it’s mandatory.  If we want to craft successful strategies for selling our books, we have to rise above being affected by the hazy emotional mess that is the average Amazon or Goodreads book review.  And being detached?  Well, it takes practice to remain sensitive to the facts and not dip into dispassionate waters while taking the heat out of our responses to everything else.

taking it personally

My advice is this:

Save your heart and your soul for writing, and treat your marketing campaign like a business.  It might be useful to think of the aforementioned Amazon and Goodreads reviews as the literary equivalent of Yelp for restaurants: some people might “get” it, some people might not, and everyone’s writing these things from highly subjective points of view.  This is not tosay reviews aren’t important–but you should be looking at the overall metrics and working always to boost your positive review base, no matter what individual reviews say.  And yes, I’m referring to the positive reviews every bit as much as the negative ones!  There’s nothing that will sap your writing momentum as fast as an afternoon spent basking in complimentary but fundamentally useless reviews (in terms of improving your writing).  And reviews aren’t the only thing you need to approach with bloodless detachment.  You will face all kinds of rejections and snubs–just as any businessperson must.  And you will learn from them, and rise above them.  You will turn those negatives into positives with regular and conscious effort … if you remember to keep your head in the game, and your heart out of it.

Write for your life–and market for profit.  This has to be our operational principle.


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com. 10:00 AM

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