Wednesday, October 23, 2019

4 Steps to Evaluating New Marketing Channels for Writing

Write every day means making time to write. That doesn’t mean making time to use marketing channels to sell the book. Herein lies the crux of the author dilemma. How do you spend the minimum amount of time marketing, so that you can instead spend the time writing?

Step 1: Define Your Goal and Timing

Let’s start with a few assumptions. Every writing journey can have different goals. If your goal is to simply have a book in your hand, then no marketing is necessary. If your goal is to sell it to just one other person, a phone call with your mother should be enough. Goals can include making enough to live off of, building a stream of royalties, getting reviews, identifying popular trends / tropes, building a fan base, etc. Identifying a specific goal helps an author move from “those all sound good” to “I have XYZ figured out, but I still need W”. After you’ve gotten a broad sense of a goal, narrow it down. How much feedback are you looking for and how fast? Are you wanting a quick burst of royalties after a marketing push? Are you okay with a slow trickle of royalties that happens more naturally? Do you want to build a book that has more ‘set and forget’ abilities? Get as specific as possible.

Step 2: Compare Apples to Apples

The focus on this step is to not anticipate that a system designed for one thing will lead to another. For example, a system designed for community building may not help with making a mailing list. On the reverse, a giveaway site designed for a mailing list may not help you identify the popular tropes in your genre. After you identify the goal, make sure you use the right fit. If you build up readership, but really want royalties, then you need to see how well those readers convert to buyers. You’ve made a specific goal in step 1, use step 2 to verify how close it comes to making that goal.

Step 3: Look at Your Toolbox and the Cost of the Tool

The aim on this step is to evaluate what you currently have, what you are doing well on, and look for gaps. Perhaps a tool doesn’t work for what you want, but it does fill a different niche in your writing life. Perhaps a social media network isn’t converting to sales, but maybe it could be used as “proof” of legitimacy. Once this is determined, look at home much work needs to be put into maintaining the tool. If you can hook up social media to your blog, and not need to babysit the platform, it might be worth keeping. If you are looking for trends/tropes, but a platform is designed for reviews, maybe it’s worth keeping because it only takes a few minutes to send out a book for reviews. If you’re looking for fans of your work but are only seeing freebie seekers – maybe it’s worth cross-promoting with another author.

Step 4: CUT! Cut! Cut

Time is precious, so having systems that “may work far in the future” or “kinda, sorta work” could be hurting more than helping. Don’t keep around a broken hammer because “you never know”. Another thing to consider is the worst case scenario. If that platform completely cuts you off, have you lost everything? Or did you build/backup enough where you wouldn’t have to start fresh? Do you own the information or does that platform? It might not be worth investing in an area that could change the rules on you later on.


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