In Your Corner: Growing Your Market by Seizing on “Gift Opportunities”

It’s now high summer, which means it’s time to kick the summer languor and get our various ambitious projects back into gear. And if you’re anything like me, you have … a lot … of projects! Even if your workload is more manageable, the heat saps our energy, and even the little things start piling up as the temperature spikes and the speed of progress slows down. And when it comes to self-publishing, a temporary slowdown is fine but it’s best to keep momentum going, and to keep building towards that final end goal: a healthy, strong, and vibrant marketing strategy which will actually sell books.

I’m here this week to launch a new summer series on growing your market, and most especially growing your market while in the midst of the summer slowdown. And I’m going to start where I always start in the garden: with what comes back each year, whether I plant and cultivate a garden intentionally or not. My neighbor Jules, whose backyard is a magnificent display of carefully pruned herbs and vegetables, calls these volunteer plants and other little treasures “gifts.” And every year, it seems as though I find something new in the mix: several varieties of rose, two kinds of apple tree, lilies, lilacs, daffodils, and tulips. More has come up this year than ever before, since this is the first year our little alpine valley has not been knee-deep in drought.

There are “gifts” when it comes to marketing your self-published book, too, in that you’re never really starting from scratch. There will be volunteer seedlings coming up from before the last winter (metaphorically speaking): the people who’ve been with you along your journey, the social media you’ve already been investing time in, and your book’s genre’s built-in audience. All you have to do is fan them back to life–give them the water they’ve maybe been lacking, put some time and money into mulch and fertilizer, weeding and pruning.

The metaphor starts breaking down here a little bit, of course, as a book and a marketing plan is not a garden in anything other than a superficial metaphorical sense. So how do you go about coaxing your gift opportunities into something more–something substantial, and structured, and that stands on its own two legs?

The best way to start to build something structured is to structure our own behavior, of course. And since structure is what slips first in the summer slowdown, that must be the first thing to come back. Not all at once, and not in such a rigidly enforced way as to leech all the fun and relaxation out of a time which is meant to be as healing and refreshing as it is supposed to be relaxed and laid-back, full of pool parties and backyard barbecues.

Start with integrating the two: relaxation and a reset of your marketing plan. Start with fifteen minutes of social media posts and self-promotion. You can do this from the poolside or the backyard, and in fact snapping some candids while you’re out and about may be just the thing to re-infuse your marketing plan with some life and energy. Once you’ve gotten to fifteen minutes a day, it’s time to start adding a plan, and figuring out how to break that larger plan down into fifteen minute chunks, as well. Can you spend fifteen minutes working on your website design? How about do a series of fifteen-minute blog interviews with other authors? Emerging into the sunlight doesn’t have to happen all at once; it can be gradual and step-by-step. Find those chunks that fit with both your plan and your schedule … and seize on the moments you have available, and that add to your life and joy, and also serve a practical function.

After all, if growing things is anything, it’s practical.

If you’re growing your market and have run into setbacks, our next installment will be one you won’t want to miss. Join me in two weeks!

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.


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