In Your Corner: The Polar Vortex of Marketing (Continued)

Last week, with our fingers frozen stiff inside of our heaviest winter mittens, we leaned into the life-affirming (and self-publishing-lifestyle-affirming) wisdom of self-publishing authors who have seen success, drawing specifically upon a series of articles put out by Goodreads; the first post was titled “Advice for Aspiring Indie Authors by Successful Indie Authors” and I would continue to recommend that you check it out, as well as its sequel, “Indie Authors Share Their Secrets to Creating Successful Self-Publishing Careers,” which features much more lengthy insights from a number of others.

We were hoping that the polar vortex would have been on its merry way by now, but depending on where you live, you may be in for quite a bit more snow throughout the remainder of February.

warning snow

Since the weather hasn’t changed much, we’ll continue in the same vein as my last article two weeks ago, and if you’ll remember, that article ended with a statement and a question:

This week, take a moment to witness and absorb the wise words of these authors and remember what got you into self-publishing in the first place. Remember the joy that comes with carving out a space for yourself in the world of words, and seeing something you’ve written out there, changing the lives of those lucky enough to find it.

Now we can get started thinking about how to help more people be that lucky, right?

If we rephrase that question as how can we get started thinking about how to help other authors find success in self-publishing, the question becomes even more interesting and complex. One way in which authors differ from other entrepreneurs or small business owners is that we are very rarely in competition with each other in any way that affects the pocketbook. If anything, feuding authors tend to drive up each others’ sales, although that’s certainly not a marketing approach that we would counsel anyone to embrace—not when positive collaborative opportunities are so readily available!

[Several years ago, we hosted a “Marketing Master Strokes” article on the subject of “Playing Well With Others,” and it’s well worth revisiting here.]

Even before you reach out to another author to collaborate, there are plenty of ways to learn and benefit from other authors. You’re probably already drawing on quite a few of your own favorites as inspiration for your own work—and the act of writing itself—but you can also learn from other authors by studying how they shape their own brand and public marketing platform. Spend some time on Google acquainting yourself with author websites, Facebook pages and other social media accounts, blogs, newsletters, and their various efforts throughout. Which websites grab your eye? What features do they share? What can you learn from even an ugly website, in terms of what to steer clear of? What was the author’s latest promotion: a sale, a discount, a giveaway, or something else? And what kind of programs and materials did they use to make that happen? How often do they Tweet and post to Facebook, and what kinds of content seem to gain the most responses?

All of these questions can be answered just by surveying what material is already out there. It’s worthwhile narrowing your focus to look at authors who have  similar resources to you, or writing in the same genre; doing so will make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, and ensuring that these authors’ marketing strategies are manageable.

But then … once you’ve finished your web sleuthing … it’s time to make a personal connection. As you’re conducting your web search, keep a record of the names and contact information for authors whose work and marketing strategies you admire. Once you’ve got a handful, it’s time to reach out! Put together a letter to each one which expresses, simply and straightforwardly, what it is you admire about their work and what you’d like to do with them. Would you like to, as our “Marketing Master Strokes” article put it, pair up with another author or multiple authors to host a book discussion or workshop together? Would you like to gather several other authors together and apply to run a booth at a local book fair, or a panel at a “con” (convention)? Would you like to conduct interviews with other authors and share them on each other’s websites, providing insight into the authorial process? Or would you like to perhaps co-write short stories or novellas together, to be distributed as giveaways or free to the public online?

In my opinion, interviews and blog “round-ups” are the most fun and enlightening, and not only do they help drive traffic to your website or blog, but they also may just provide some important insights that you will make good use of in the future!

The letter doesn’t have to be long. It could, in fact, be a three-to-six sentence email. The main thing to remember, etiquette-wise, is that many self-publishing authors who post their contact details online get lots of spam, so make sure your letter or email doesn’t look and feel like the dreaded “form” or “spam” letter. And you should never push back if someone says “no,” because there are far too many awesome possible collaborations out there to be disappointed by one “no,” and also because you really do want to find those authors whose work and style meshes nicely with yours naturally and without too much scheduling gymnastics. A simple:

“Hi, I’m [insert name here], and I recently self-published a book on [insert half-sentence premise here]. I was really impressed by your recent blog post on [insert subject here], and I was wondering if you might be interested in doing a quick interview exchange which we could both post to our blogs. You can find out more about my book at [insert link] to see if a collaboration feels right to you. I wish you much success in all that you do! Sincerely, [insert name here].” Or at least, that’s the kind of email I’d write!

If you have already collaborated with other authors, good on you! That’s awesome! We’d love to hear from you about how you went about making those connections, and how the process ended up working out. Just drop us a line in the comments section, below!

winter snow reading

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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: The Polar Vortex of Marketing

 

winter storm cat book

Are you managing to survive the current polar vortex sweeping across North America? (If you live in the southern hemisphere and are currently toasting your toes on a beach somewhere … is your suitcase large enough to stuff an adult human into? Asking for a friend.) This is the time of year—after the holiday magic has well and truly worn off, and before the rejuvenating effects of spring have kicked in—when we start feeling truly down and out. And of course, since everything is connected, our self-publishing adventures tend to suffer just as much as our general mood and the cleanliness level of our kitchens. (What? Your kitchen is still tidy? What’s wrong with me?) This is the time when we need a touch of encouragement to make it through the polar vortex, or whatever interminably cold and barren patch of ground we face.

It’s probably no secret at this point that I love Goodreads, the hybrid social media site for dedicated readers and book reviewers; it’s how I track what I’m reading, especially when my to-read pile (it’s actually an entire bookshelf, plus an extra coffee table, now) gets a little bit out of control. (Who am I kidding? It’s always out of control.) Well, back in October of 2016, the Goodreads blog hosted a series of posts that may prove to be exactly what you need to read right now, as a self-publishing author facing the doldrums yourself. The first post to catch my eye included a series of quotes from popular self-publishing authors such as Hugh Howey, such as:

hugh howey quote

colleen hoover quote

and …

andy weir quote

 

The post was titled “Advice for Aspiring Indie Authors by Successful Indie Authors” and I highly recommend that you check it out, as well as its sequel, “Indie Authors Share Their Secrets to Creating Successful Self-Publishing Careers,” which features much more lengthy insights from a number of others. As authorities on the subject, sometimes writers such as Weir and Hoover and Howey have the power to both inspire us and flip that emotional switch buried deep inside us, the one that gets a bit, ahem, iced over with repeated disappointment or from lack of use. If you’re at all like me, this is the time of year when my creative energy is at its absolute lowest, and I sometimes don’t even realize what all is possible, I’m so swept up in the blues. A wise word or two acts like a shock to the system, reminding me that, yeah, actually, I *can* do this thing I’ve been meaning to do, but have been feeling too anxious and self-sabotaging to get started on.

This week, take a moment to witness and absorb the wise words of these authors and remember what got you into self-publishing in the first place. Remember the joy that comes with carving out a space for yourself in the world of words, and seeing something you’ve written out there, changing the lives of those lucky enough to find it.

Now we can get started thinking about how to help more people be that lucky, right?

More on that next week!

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.

 

2019: Time for a Fresh Start on Marketing

Oh, no, it’s time to review that dreaded list of New Year’s resolutions!  It’s not uncommon for these lists to be either too long or too ambitious for their makers to actually accomplish within twelve months, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of us from feeling the compulsive tug toward writing them–or from feeling miserable when we find ourselves running into a brick wall of complications.

writing goals

For those of us who are authors, many of us will end up making at least one of our resolutions that of writing and publishing a book in 2019.  But how might an author go from creating the goal of writing a book to actually getting it on paper and, finally, to publishing it?  If you’ve resolved upon a similar goal, here area couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Join a writer’s group.  

While there are certainly plenty of online options available to you, through internet forums and listservs and Facebook groups and the like, the best kind of feedback a writer can receive is the kind that is delivered in face-to-face conversation with people who have held your manuscript in their hands and feel some sort of personal stake in delivering detailed high-quality responses to the questions that you pose.  This is why, above all other things, I recommend you look to join a writer’s group in 2019.

But where to look?  I recommend stealing a page of or Lorena Knapp’s playbook over at the Write Life blog.  She recommends researching a variety of options before committing to any one writer’s group; you might start with local writing centers and then move on to conferences, bulletin boards, writing associations, your personal network, online networking sites like Meetup.com, and then as a last resort turn to social media and so on.  In my personal experience, conferences can be overwhelming (a case study in over-stimulation), bulletin boards are rarely up-to-date, and online networking sites lead to as many “misses” as “hits.”  I found out about my local writing association after attending an event at my local library, which often plays host to local authors–many of whom are self-published.  You can’t go wrong by asking a librarian!

  • Join a book club.

The library also happens to be a great place to begin your hunt for a local book club, since most libraries directly or indirectly sponsor these sorts of events, and can point you to the right people or resources to set up your own book club if there isn’t one already geared toward your interests.  You can also check online at the Reader’s Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting readers with each other, to see if there are otherwise off-the-grid book clubs meeting in your area.

But why should a writer join a book club?  The answer isn’t as simple or the dots as easy to connect as with writing circles and writer’s groups, where writing is the common theme.  But as Evan Maloney wrote for The Guardian back in 2010, reading and reading well is actually the most fundamental of skills for a writer to practice:

As well as a large vocabulary, novels give writers a sense of how it is done. They offer templates that can be borrowed and adapted; they teach a writer how to create narrative structures and characters, how to develop tension, write dialogue, and maintain a consistent tone and pitch. Novels also trigger memories from a reader’s personal experience, and these give writers ideas for their own stories.

Best of all, writes Maloney, “whenever writing gets too painful, when each word and idea seems to be dragged from the mind like the limb of an aborted camel, reading offers a writer a lovely escape into a fantasy world where stories are revealed with simple ease and order on the page.”  Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

  • Work with a ghostwriter, or if that’s not quite your speed, with an editor.

With a book club feeding you inspiration and a writer’s group providing you support and feedback as you write, the next best step is to find your voice.  If you’re struggling to find the time or cultivate the skills you think necessary to capturing your story, it may be time to look for a ghostwriter–someone who can sit down with you, hash out all of the relevant details, and then serve as architect and project manager for your book–all rolled into one.  We often associate ghostwriters with the traditional publishing model, since most of the ghostwritten books we see hit shelves are celebrity autobiographies–but you can be a self-publishing author and develop a healthy rapport with a ghostwriter, too!  Hybrid self-publishing companies like mine–Outskirts Press–often offer ghostwriting and editorial services as several of many tools to put in your toolbox.  The differences between ghostwriting and editing is significant–the former will take on a large part of the “generative” process, while the latter will help shape or reshape material you have already created–but the general impulse is the same: these services exist to help you get stuff done.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good edit!

  • Cultivate new and sustainable writing habits.

Here’s where things get a bit hazy.  Every author has individual writing habits developed over years of hard work and necessity, so what a “good writing day” looks like to you will most likely differ from everyone else you meet.  We can look to our heroes for inspiration, sure, but ultimately I find comparison a toxic, toxic beast.  The best way to succeed at adopting new and useful writing habits is to do so slowly and sustainably–by making incremental changes and sticking with them over the long term.

There’s a reason NaNoWriMo proves so difficult for authors to just “pick up” and do: it’s such an intense process that it requires writers to make enormous changes to their daily schedules just to fit it in.  A much better course might be to adopt more manageable alterations–boosting the time you spend writing every morning by five minutes a day for a week, perhaps, or by restricting your self-editing to only five minutes a day–and to evaluate their efficacy regularly, discarding the useless ones and keeping the useful ones.  As my grandmother used to say, “trim the fat!”  Keep the things that help you, and shed the weight of those which don’t.

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.

 

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part VI – The Christmas Week Edition)

christmas new year's holiday time

I know what you’re thinking–it’s only five days to New Year’s Day–what could you possibly do this late in the year to take advantage of the holidays before the year (and holiday spirit) runs out?

First of all:

keep calm holidays

That’s right–this doesn’t have to be anything that will ratchet up your stress levels! And first and foremost, if you’re reading this and you’re a naturally busy person around the holidays, it’s okay to not add any last-minute marketing tricks to our to-do list. Our recommendations today are for those of you who are looking for something to do with all of your spare time over the next few days. To that end, if you have …

Five Days of Free Time

Our recommendation? Start the clock on a New Year’s giveaway or discount! If you truly have five days to work something new in, a giveaway will give you the largest impact for the time available to you. Hop on to your book’s Amazon listing, Goodreads, or wherever else you want to host the giveaway or discount, and set up the functional part of your special offering today. Also: announce it across all of your social media platforms! This is important to do immediately. Then, every day until the end of your discount or giveaway, make sure to hop online and remind your followers of what’s going on. Once the functional part of the giveaway or discount has been set up, you have a lot of flexibility on timing, frequency, and content of your social media posts–but make them count! Make sure to craft a couple of beautiful images and to use your book’s cover art to boost the visual impact of your promotion.

Five Hours of Free Time

If you only have five hours to spend on marketing this holiday week, you could either go the route of throwing together a super quick special like the one above, skipping over a lot of the social media check-ins, or you could focus your energies and produce one really high-quality marketing item, like a holiday-specific press release or email newsletter or promotional image. We’ve written in detail about press releases and similar marketing strategies before, and if you’re having trouble deciding upon what to spend your five hours of limited time and energy on, we recommend opting to play up your strengths and choose a strategy you’re comfortable with. When you have a bit more time to spend, you can innovate and expand your repertoire–but for now, you want to do something quick and efficient!

Just remember–the point of every holiday marketing strategy is to put your book out there (again or for the first time) in front of its ideal readers and to take advantage of the various holiday-specific vocabularies (visual or written) to do so. Readers are all about authenticity, and around the holidays they’ll want to know that your words come from the heart as well as from a pragmatic point of origin.

Five Minutes of Free Time

Look, it’s okay! Not all of us can expect to carve out much time around the holidays for marketing. For those of you who maybe have time to check your email or post a quick update to Facebook, that’s still enough time to make a difference. Whether it’s mentioning your book in the same breath as your turkey roast or your family’s trivia game night on New Year’s Eve, a quick tweet on Twitter of blog post or Facebook update will still be well-received by your readers. Keeping them in the loop on what’s important to you is useful in and of itself!

Whether you only have minutes or you have a whole long luxurious week of free time ahead of you, there’s almost always room for a little marketing. And if not? Well, there’s always the new year! And we’ll be back in 2019 with many more tips and tricks for how you can improve your marketing reach as a self-published author.

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.

 

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part V)

My gratitude list - file cabinet label

It’s a fashionable thing to limit our conversations about gratitude to the time around Thanksgiving, when all the stationary and gift displays and card racks at Hallmark all feature gratitude as their main theme. But I’m here today to advocate for extending that period of gratitude to include the Christmas and New Year’s holidays—because while Thanksgiving is lovely and wonderful and should definitely have its own marketing space, there are things we are grateful for closer to the end of the year that have their own nature, their own set of qualities, that makes them both poignant … and a potential platform for further holiday marketing, as I’ll get into here today.

I would also note that one can be an entrepreneur—a self-starter, a self-published book author—and carry the burden of marketing lightly, and carry it without being obnoxious, or dissembling, or insincere, even in the midst of a world crowded with half-baked promotions and kitschy products designed to capitalize on people’s sentimental holiday nostalgia.

Yes, you can be both a person who needs to market your book around the holidays, and utterly sincere about the messaging you send out into the universe around the holidays.

This holiday season, a friend of mine who happens to be an author (among other things) set about thanking those authors who were foundational to his development and evolution as a wordsmith on social media. Once a day, he has been tweeting about and to the authors who helped make him who he is. He hadn’t intended this to be anything other than a fun little project unconnected to anything else going on in his life, but it ended up putting him on the radar of a number of fantastic, high-profile authors who subsequently re-tweeted his tweets. In doing so, they broadcast his gratitude far and wide, raising his profile in the literary community and exposing numerous new readers to his name and brand.

I propose that we all do something similar. Having seen what has happened in my friend’s case, I can without reservation state that doing so will not only put your name in front of new potential readers, but it’s also a fun and worthwhile exercise to do on a personal level. It’s the gift that gives back, as expressing gratitude so often builds both giver and receiver up.

It’s the simplest thing to put together a quick social media campaign. If you decide to move forward with something similar, keep in mind a couple of our top tips here on the blog for successful posts:

  1. Rinse & Repeat: Repetition, and routine, are the keys to growing your social media presence. Make sure to time your tweets and Facebook posts (and you can use a third-party scheduling app, like Hootsuite or Twitter & Facebook’s extant scheduling options to do so) for high-traffic times of day, and to tweet or post to Facebook regularly.
  2. Attach Images. Analytics clearly and definitively prove that attaching images (that you have the rights to, of course) to your tweets, Facebook posts, and blog posts boost the visual impact and increase the “clicks” those posts receive. Snap a quick picture with your camera or grab a picture from online to accompany every post, and watch those clicks roll in.
  3. Tag People. Both Twitter and Facebook (as well as Instagram and other social media platforms) allow creators to “tag” or “@” or “mention” or otherwise direct their posts to specific individuals. Doing so creates notifications which will make people aware that you are talking about them, which boosts the likelihood that they will respond or re-post your material, thus raising awareness about it.
  4. Authenticity Matters. Social media is the best lie detector in existence. Twitter and Facebook users are highly attuned at present to inauthentic material (and will only continue to grow moreso as the conversation around “Fake News” becomes more advanced and nuanced) and are unafraid to call people out on it. The way to ensure that you put social media to work for you rather than against you is to treat your followers like you would your coworkers and your friends all at once. You have to be honest, and authentic, and you have to be able to stand behind every post you make in the years to come. (The Internet forgets nothing.)

Think of all the authors and creators who have influenced your journey. Who would you like to thank this holiday season? What are their footprints in your life? Whether you choose to mount a quick social media campaign around your gratitude list this holiday season or not, thinking of how far you’ve come and the people who have helped you along the way is just one more way to enjoy a bright and beautiful Christmas.

christmas gifts

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.

 

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part IV)

We all know how wonderful it is to have holiday traditions, those things we do year after year and never tire of because they bring us nostalgia for our youth or for holidays in general. However, in book marketing, tradition in the holiday season might mean stagnation. So this year, when you’ve finished your traditions of decorating your Christmas trees, drinking egg nog, wearing tacky sweaters, caroling and hanging your stockings by the chimney with care, let us help you brainstorm some new ways to market your book.

christmas holiday fire book

The trees have shed their colorful fall foliage, the air has grown crisp, the kids are back in school, and you know what that means? The year’s final holidays are just right around the corner. This is a time of year to celebrate, not only because it means the return of pumpkin spice lattes and apple crisp, but because it is a time of year devoted to giving thanks, sharing delicious food and thoughtful gifts, and it is a time to gather with and spend time with those we love and cherish.

You can further celebrate this time of year as an author by innovating your marketing strategies, as there are certain advantages to marketing this time of year that aren’t available to you on just any summer day.

With an increased amount of shoppers trying to fill stockings and fill out the base of their Christmas trees, it is imperative that you’ve nailed down who exactly your audience is. Is your book a children’s book? Make sure your book is made available in local toy stores and maybe put some flyers up in local day care centers, libraries, and schools. Also, think of how great your book could be as a stocking stuffer for family members; being generous with your book this time of year could lead to more readers not only within your family, but whoever your family ends up sharing it with as well.

This is also a great time of year for holiday giveaways online. Vamp up your blog with relevant tags, and host your giveaways there! Post on pages relevant to your story–this could be anything from a Facebook page of the state your book takes place in, a Facebook group of readers that your book might appeal to, or maybe even to a Facebook event in your area that fits the theme of your book.

Remember that Christmas stockings are often full of Amazon gift cards; do you have an ebook to offer all these new potential buyers? Going digital means that there were literally be MILLIONS of people who will have access to your book, who never would’ve come across it otherwise. If you already have an ebook version, ask your readers for a priceless holiday gift: a good review online.

christmas stack of books coffee holidays

The Christmas holidays is an especially important time to be thinking about helping to preserve your family’s history and legacy by self-publishing a book.  That’s because Christmas, perhaps more than any other holiday, is rich with oral storytelling traditions, baking traditions, and narrative traditions of all kinds.  You can both collect new material for your book and enjoy the rich conversations that will inevitably collect around the news that you’ve got a book in the works.  And sometimes, at Christmas as at other times of year when our relationships with the past are the hinge upon which our lives turn, we can all do with a little reminder:

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.

 

The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part III)

fall autumn book

Several weeks back, we began this series by introducing the idea that marketing—specifically marketing as regards self-published books—is a kind of alchemy. Alchemy, we discovered, has a lot of meanings or connotations, but we continue to run semi-officially with the Merriam-Webster definition of alchemy as “a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way.” We spent some time during the next post examining this definition further, as well as its historic inflections and how that translates into focusing on what makes your writing and method special. Last time, we looked into the guiding question of “what’s next?” Which, as it turns out, is taking your existing habits and tweaking them to better serve your marketing goals–in a sustainable fashion that won’t undercut your existing routines and interests.

What comes after “what’s next?”

Next comes the holiday-specific part! Now that you’ve eked out some additional sustainable habits (that will continue working in your favor year-round, of course!) it’s time to think about what little bits of “extra” you can fit in around the holidays that support your ongoing marketing strategy and also take advantage of all those little things you can only do around the holidays.

Thanksgiving

To hit upon some high points we keep returning to year after year on this blog:

Thanksgiving is a time for doing, every bit as much as it is about giving and receiving. After all, the whole “giving and receiving” thing gets a real workout around Christmas. And in a smaller sense, at Halloween and even Veteran’s Day, when we give thanks to our servicemen and women—very important in its own way, but not the only mode of being to inhabit as a self-publishing author.

Thanksgiving is a time for activity, for wrapping up all the things that have been left unfinished at other times of year—a time for completion, for stepping back and looking at the whole and then by golly sitting down and filling in the holes. The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving isn’t just to give and receive thanks; the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to get ‘er done. To see yourself and your book and your marketing campaign and your social media strategy through the rough patches that inevitably accumulate on the leading edge of the end of the year. It’s not, contrary to legend, a time to sit around and kick up your feet and wait for good things to happen (or, more appropriately, to pop out of the oven and onto your dinner plate). Delicious as a fresh-baked cobbler is, it’s not quite the point.

If we wanted to look all the way back to the Quakers and the First Thanksgiving—and let’s face it, like it or not Thanksgiving is a time rife with nostalgia and historic musings—we should be honest about what it was like for them. They only celebrated because the gifted foods and skills given them by the local tribes kept them from starvation—and then, only just. The Quakers almost starved. Many of them did starve. It was not a time of plenty; it was a time for surviving, and for acknowledging those who helped them to survive. The time for celebration isn’t after everything is done and the harvest is in; the time for celebration is now, when the struggle and the busy-ness and the insanity is at its height. Tap into that spirit and, in the spirit too of the diagramming and recording we’ve done since our previous post, start brainstorming the ways you can merge celebration with marketing. Will throwing an event at the local library do that for you? Will putting up posters around town? Hosting a discount or giveaway on your blog and book sale page? Think of those strategies which you can put together quickly, easily, and without adding undue stress at a busy time. We’ll be back next week with more thoughts on specific events, tips, and tricks you can use that fit the bill for simple and stress-free!

These holidays, I hope you know that we here at Self Publishing Advisor are a part of your network, a resource to enable your resilience. We’re here for you this Thanksgiving season, to help you get it done–and to help you celebrate your wonderful book!

fall autumn book blanket coffee

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

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.