The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part II)

halloween

Several weeks ago, I introduced the idea that marketing—specifically marketing as regards self-published books—is a kind of alchemy. Alchemy, of course, has a lot of meanings or connotations, but we are now semi-officially running 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 previous 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.

This week, briefly (because it’s Halloween!),  we’re going to take a look at that guiding question, “what’s next?” After all, if you’ve been following along with our previous posts, you’ve already diagrammed your daily habits and figured out what marketing strategies you’re already doing, or which your existing schedule makes easily possible.

Next, it’s time to work on the hard part: making room for more marketing.

I call this the “hard part” because this is where several different things can happen: you can either go too far, or you can go not far enough. Both are common problems, and the key is to use the descriptive work you did in the previous post as a guide here in the proscriptive part of the process. Instead of just shoving one-size-fits-all solutions into a life that’s already crowded with precious activities, habits, and routines, you have to introduce new habits carefully, like when you bring home a new cat to meet the cats you already have. (It’s Halloween; you can let me have this one weird cat metaphor, right?) You do so gradually, with an eye for sustainability, and with respect for the cat, schedule, and skills that are already in place.

There’s no point introducing something if it just won’t work with who you are and what you like to do; this is why going too far and changing your existing routine or stretching your existing skills beyond your ability to cope will only end in disaster. (Keeping with today’s theme, those failures may just haunt you forever–in a legitimate, “I don’t ever want to try this again, even slightly, in any context, now that I’m so frustrated and/or burned out on this one all-or-nothing attempt” way.) Do you enjoy spending time on social media? Are you an Instagram guru? Take ten minutes of your day and set those aside for Instagramming on behalf of your book on top of what you already do for yourself in a private capacity. Do you enjoy having your kids “help” you out in the kitchen? Snap some “behind the scenes” pictures of the fun and use them in your marketing. (They may just be your “publishing team” from here on out.) Do you like to sit down and write 1,500 words before breakfast each morning? (NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! Get ready!) Use one of those mornings to draft a 1,500-word press release instead of your usual genre.

If you tweak an existing, routinized habit or skill of yours to serve the greater marketing agenda, your alchemical magic is far more likely to take hold, and a tweaked habit is far more likely to become a sustainable part of your daily, or weekly, or monthly recipe than if you try to cram something in that doesn’t fit.

So? Step one was to see what you’re already doing. Step two was to adapt it, just a little, to fit your new needs. What is step three? Well, we’ll be back in two weeks with more on marketing alchemy!

And in the meantime ….

happy halloween

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.

 

October Writing Challenge #5 NaNoWriMo

Over the past month I’ve challenged you to complete a weekly Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges were designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

Now that October is almost over, I have an even bigger and more exciting challenge for you — NaNoWriMo. If you’ve followed my blog posts in the past, you know I not only encourage authors to try NaNoWriMo, but I have also done the challenge myself.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of writers participate in the challenge each year.

NaNoWriMo is great for new writers looking for a creative jumpstart or experienced writers looking for a new challenge. It begins November 1st and ends on November 30th.

To sign up or learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit www.nanowrimo.org. The website helps you track your progress, gives you access to pep talks and inspirational stories, and provides a place to meet other writers.

Also, if you missed any of the October challenges, be sure to go back and check out them out: Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, Short Story Challenge, and Children’s Halloween Story Challenge. (You never know, they might inspire your NaNoWriMo project.)

I’d love to know, are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #4

October is here! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I am sharing a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

So far, we’ve done the Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, and Short Story Challenge. (If you missed any of these, click the links to check them out.)

This week is the children’s Halloween story challenge. Think of a child in your life and write out a story you might tell him or her as a bed time story for Halloween.  It doesn’t have to be scary (you want them to go to sleep after all), but it can be about monsters or ghosts or anything else related to Halloween.

After writing the story, you may decide you like the finished manuscript and want to self-publish the story. Remember, the pictures are very important in children’s books. If you happen to be an artist, this is a great opportunity to illustrate your own book. If not, many self-publishing companies offer a variety of illustration services to suit your needs.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #3

One of my favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I am sharing a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

So far, we’ve done the Spiritual Poetry Challenge and the 15 Minute Challenge. (If you missed it, be sure to check it out.)

This week is the short story challenge. Here is how it works.

1) Get inspired. Did one of the challenges from the last two weeks spark some ideas for you?  Use one of those ideas as a catalyst for a short story. If you are just starting the challenges, or you have an idea unrelated to the previous challenges, start a completely new story. It doesn’t have to be based off the previous challenges, but many of you probably already have ideas from working on the first two pieces.

2) Write a 500 word fiction piece  that channels your inner Stephen King. Let the season inspire you to write a mystery or thriller story, even if you usually work in another genre. Stepping out of your comfort zone and writing something completely different can be invigorating and bring new life to all of your work.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #2

One of my favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I will share a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

Last week, we started the month with the Spiritual Poetry Challenge. If you missed it, be sure to check it out.

This week, we’ll move on to the 15 Minute Challenge. Your goal is to write about an experience that was scary, suspenseful or mysterious, but you only have 15 minutes to write to it. The story can be true or fictional. Here are the “rules.”

1) Set your timer.

Once you are ready to start the challenge, set a timer for 15 minutes. No working on the story before or after your timer is set.

2) Focus on quantity, not quality.

For the 15 minutes, try not to stress about the details. Just write like the wind. Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about fixing mistakes. Just write as much as you can for 15 minutes. You can always go back and “fix” the story later.

3) Keep going.

After completing the challenge you could do a couple of things. 1) You could be proud of yourself for completing the challenge and taking the time to write. You don’t ever have to look at the story again. You completed the goal. 2) You could let the challenge inspire a new project, such as a self-published mystery novel. 3) You could decide you like the story and choose to go back and continue working on it.

No matter what you decide to do after completing the challenge, be proud of yourself for taking 15 minutes to write. The more you write, the more likely you are to find success as a writer.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #1

One of the favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I will share a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

This week, we’ll start with the Spiritual Poetry Challenge. Tap into the spirit of Halloween and write a poem about a spiritual event or encounter. Possible topics include death, ghosts, or after death communication with someone who has passed. For instance, pick a real or fictional person who has passed and imagine what he/she would say to you. Also, if you have ever had a spiritual encounter, you could write the poem about that event.

This challenge will be unique for each individual. In some religions, spiritual encounters and after death communication are significant parts of their beliefs, and the poems may reflect those beliefs. For others, this challenge may simply be a fun way to imagine an conversation with a late celebrity, famous author, or even a childhood pet.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.