In Your Corner: Growing Your Market (Series Conclusion)

Two months ago, we started taking a look at ways to grow your market and expand your reach in various contexts as self-publishing authors. We discussed the ins and outs of cultivating a growth mindset, and tackled some of the most common challenges facing self-publishing (and therefore self-marketing) authors today, all in the form of a series focusing on positive growth (what can we do next?). You can find all of those previous posts at:

  1. Growing Your Market by Seizing on “Gift Opportunities”
  2. Growing Your Market in Barren Soil
  3. Growing Your Market With Elbow Grease
  4. Growing Your Market With Eyes for the Future Harvest
  5. Celebrating Your Growth

lightbulb plant growth energy

We talked briefly about next steps last week, but celebrating your growth (even if you put that celebration to work and multitask, as we so often are forced to do) isn’t really the end of the road, is it?

As a publishing professional with decades of experience in the field, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the best tool in your marketing toolkit is another book. When you sit down to write another book, you put yourself back into that place where you first fell in love with words and what they can do. You remember what it is about this process that motivates you. And writing a new book gives you something to talk about just as much as it gives you something to center yourself on emotionally. Books–and good marketing plans–build upon each other, book by book, brick by brick, and the cyclical nature of:

write –> publish –> market –> write –> publish –> market

… is cumulative! It’s really more like:

write (book 1)  –> publish (book 1) –> market (books 1 & 2) –> write (book 2) –> publish (book 2 + new edition of book 1) –> market (books 1 & 2) –> write (book 3) –> publish (book 3 + new edition of book 2) –> market (books 1, 2, & 3) –> ad infinitum

Displaying the process as something linear is a neat trick, and the messier second version is closer to reality, but it doesn’t really capture everything, does it? After all, you’re very often writing bits and pieces of several books, short stories, and other projects all at once–and you’re just as often writing while you publish and market. That’s fine. That’s great! You do you, and do this publishing thing the way that best keeps you on track and in love with the process. Just remember … publishing is cyclical, just like life or gardening. And each cycle, like each ring in a tree’s trunk, is bigger than the one before. The workload will grow as your success grows, and if I have any advice for you as a writer moving forward, it’s this: keep doing it! Keep writing! Keep publishing books! Embrace the expansion of your marketing empire, and find ways to keep it rooted in your passion.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.

 

In Your Corner: Celebrating Your Growth

halloween holiday celebration cookies book

Over the last several weeks–months, really–we’ve been taking a look at ways to grow your market and expand your reach in various contexts as self-publishing authors:

  1. Growing Your Market by Seizing on “Gift Opportunities”
  2. Growing Your Market in Barren Soil
  3. Growing Your Market With Elbow Grease
  4. Growing Your Market With Eyes for the Future Harvest

This week, I want to talk briefly about what you can do to celebrate your harvest, given that we are now past Labor Day and looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving, when celebrations become the norm and not the exception. Are there ways to celebrate your work and also continue to contribute to this growth process we’ve been discussing?

There absolutely are!

Much  of what we’ve been discussing over the past few weeks–or months!–relates to the ongoing discussion about the prevalence of “fixed” versus “growth” mindsets. If you haven’t already tuned into that discussion, Brain Pickings has a great summary posted on their website which lays out the fundamental differences, and on Twitter, Sylvia Duckworth posted this great image which more or less sums up what get out of the conversation: a series of positive, declarative statements about ways to move forward in all aspects of my life.

growth mindset sylvia duckworth

I’m just going to leave that there for a moment, as background and a way to access and interpret the previous posts in this series. The talking point which concerns me today might be expressed in a fixed mindset as : “I’m all done now.” This statement is a summary one, a mere description of fact, and it leaves no room for further development (either of the self or of the project). A growth mindset would interpret this same fact differently, and possibly as a question: “What can I do next?” (Which I talked about somewhat in my last post.) Or, perhaps: “What else does finishing this project enable me to do?”

A good place to start, of course, is to celebrate your achievement. Take a moment to do so–you’ve earned it! But don’t let the momentum fade. Closing out one project always opens up doors to new possibilities, and I firmly believe we’re at our best and our most creative when we’re full of self-confidence and the glow of success (success as defined on our own terms and nobody else’s, of course)!

There is, of course, a way to turn our personal celebration into a marketing project in and of itself: Once you feel as though you’ve gotten your project where you want it and are ready to close it out and move onto something new, throw a party! You can use many of the same “tools” from your marketing toolkit we’ve talked about in previous posts, such as a launch party (only in this case, it’s a “closeout party” or a “next step party”), a reading or book signing (only, a “last chance tour”), or maybe just a simple digital crawl through your favorite blogs and social media sites to announce your gratitude for those who supported you along the way and casting a few hints as to what’s to come.

After all, one of the best ways to sell your book is to write another one. And the only thing people love more helping a project in the pipeline is partying hard over a success story! The key is to keep an open mind, and to foster a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, nothing is ever impossible and no door is ever truly shut.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.

In Your Corner: Growing Your Market With Elbow Grease

Over the last several weeks of this summer, I’ve written about the difficulties of both making a fresh start when getting started and having to re-start your marketing plan when something goes south. Both of those involve a lot of work, it’s true, but this week it’s worth reminding everyone (including myself) that the work is worth it.

I wrote recently about my gardens being stripped accidentally. Well, after having a mini-meltdown and lapsing into total self-loathing and disappointment for a few days, I decided to take a couple of baby steps. I did a soil pH test one day, laid down some fresh soil the next. Ordered a couple of packets of wildflowers and bush beans the day after that. Took handfuls and spread them out the following weekend.

Now, things are starting to come up. It may not be the garden I first envisioned, and it may never again look like the original, but it’s still something. And it still makes me happy. It brings me joy.

Just like writing, and marketing, when I see the first signs of success.

gardening

The elbow grease needs to be there. It’s never going to be the easiest thing, marketing. But it also doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you do each day. Line it up after your fifteen minutes of foreign language learning each day (Duolingo is brilliant, isn’t it?), your half-hour walk, and your afternoon smoothie. Making marketing just another part of your routine, something that has a little bit of structure but not so much it interferes with the rest of your day, is critical to it remaining a long-term part of your life.

I should know. I’ve been to the marketing (and the gardening!) doldrums this summer with you. I know what it looks like. And I’m here to remind you: it’s not the end. It’s never the end. It’s just another part of your life, and you get to make it fit with the rest of who you are and what you do. And in the end, you’re going to sell some books simply because you were willing to show up for a few minutes each day and remind the world that you have a brilliant new book out there in the world, and it’s ready to be read.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.

 

In Your Corner: Growing Your Market in Barren Soil

So here’s a story. Last winter, I spent weeks reading up on ways to make my yard and garden more butterfly friendly, bee friendly, and bird friendly. I checked out a pile of books from the local public library on how to combine these ideas with square-foot gardening, and put in some raised beds. I spent time at a local nursery, and picked the brains of both the nursery staff and my neighbors, who’ve been gardening in this alpine valley for generations. I talked with the local conservation nonprofit, collected native seeds, and come spring, put everything in the ground. I stopped mowing my lawn so often (and so short) and started caring more about soil composition, moisture, and pH levels. Basically, I took the time to care properly about a thing I should have been carrying more about anyway.

Then, one day, I came home from work to find that my homeowner’s well-intentioned handyman had “weeded” my wildflowers, pulled up my soil-fixing plants, stripped the beds, and basically reduced my various riotous little garden spots to bare earth. And then he sprayed them so that nothing would come back up. Sad, right?

For the record, I don’t blame the handyman. He had only the best of intentions, and there’s little visual difference between a healthy butterfly friendly, bee friendly, and bird friendly garden … and a wilderness. He simply didn’t know that it was intentional, and that I was happy with the chaos.

But here’s where things get real for those of us who self-publish: often, our setbacks often feel like they reduce our emotional landscape to scorched earth (or in this case, thoroughly sprayed earth). It can even seem like we’re starting from scratch, or worse. And it can feel like it’s not worth the energy, the sheer elbow grease, required to restart the garden mid-season.

So how do we get past that hump? How do we get to a point where it feels like we’re past the worst, where the garden is already back on its feet enough for us to see progress again?

As with last week’s post about kicking the summer slow-down, it’s all about breaking it down into littler, manageable chunks. If you need to treat the comeback like a fresh start, then that’s what you need to do. But even better than a fresh start is a re-start which builds upon the groundwork you’ve already laid. You don’t have to go full-throttle the moment you get back into the game; it’s totally okay to just dip your toe in at first. Remember how last week I recommended fifteen-minute chunks of social media time a day to get started? That tip applies to re-starts as well as fresh starts.

The difference between a fresh start and a re-start is, of course, how difficult it feels. It’s even in the terminology, isn’t it? A “fresh start” sounds positive and upbeat, a joyous celebration of something new. A “re-start” sounds a little beat up around the edges. And that may be an accurate reflection of how you feel, when push comes to shove. That means that your first job, even before you start re-establishing structure and launching plans, is breaking through the negative mindset which comes from facing down a rough patch.

My advice? Take time for you, and your craft. If you’re anything like the authors I’ve met, you probably spend your summer splitting your time between scrambling to make sure everyone else is having a good time (summer schedules are insane!) and trying to get some much-needed “you” time. If you have any time left to spare, it’s probably spent trying to cram in some writing time. If your summer is anything like my summer, it all feels extremely disorganized and messy, and like you’re doomed to fail at everything simply because you can’t get it all done.

Well, I’m here to talk you down from that mentality, just as much as I’m here to talk myself down from it. You CAN succeed, and you can start by succeeding at loving yourself, and seeing yourself as the triumph you are. Maybe once you see how great you are, you’ll see that great things can happen even on the most stripped-bare soil.

Only then will you have the conviction to pull out a new batch of seedlings.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.

 

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. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.