Last week, we pivoted from the back foot (thinking about the many ways we can mess up the marketing process) to the front foot (thinking about the many ways we can knock this marketing thing out of the park).  Our first marketing master stroke?  Being all ears.  (Which is to say, listening to the stories of others, and keeping an open mind to actually changing your own approach.)

In thinking back on what I’d written after the fact, I realized it might strike some readers as strange that I would start a series centering on positivity and proactivity with a piece of advice that, at first glance, serves as a passive act.  Listening.  But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?  We think of listening as passive, and allow others to think the same as a consequence, when really–really listening is the most revolutionary and active thing we can do.  I’ll keep off the soapbox now, but think about it: how much better could our world be if we refused to let listening be passive?

On to today’s master stroke:

Be willing to reach your readers where they live.

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This isn’t the same thing as reaching your readers where you think they live–the process of marketing requires meticulous research and a willingness to set aside the authorial ego (“I Have an Important Message and I Know How Best to Share it Best”) in order to put the reader first.  Writing a book may indeed be a selfish process (I’ve heard good arguments both for and against this statement) but marketing has to be a selfless one.  Sure, the premise of making money is necessarily self-serving, but so is the process of shopping.  Right?  Both consumer and seller/marketer can’t be selfish at the same time, or else we’re talking about a complete disjointure.

Step One to making sure you reach your readers is, then, to let go of the assumption that you already know everything you need to know about the people you’re writing for.

Step Two is to research them.  Thoroughly.  What are their demographic details?  How old are they?  Where do they live, geographically speaking?  Are they diverse in terms of ethnicity and gender?  What social media platforms do they use and which have they discarded or never picked up to begin with?  In the case of younger readers, are they old enough to be in command of their own savings–or will purchases be made by parents and caregivers?  (If so, you will have to market to the parents and caregivers as well as the children, which is a very different proposition.)  What subjects occupy their waking thoughts?

Step Three is to actively go out and reach them.  Carefully and effectively.  With precision.  (Time will become your most threadbare resource, I guarantee you.)  Draft a well-thought-out, targeted marketing strategy that pares back on the manifold possibilities open to you … to just the ones that will reach your core readership.  Once you have established a sustainable system in place, you can begin experimenting your way through additional marketing strategies and see what is sustainable.

And there you have it!  Start reasonable, but keep ambition in the wings.

Go find your readers!


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line atselfpublishingadvice@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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