I often write a blog post to clarify my own thinking, and that's the case for this one. It's meant to be a spur to my own thinking about what works for me in marketing. A recent marketing workshop excerpt from Larissa Reynolds was the catalyst that finally did it for me (see here to subscribe to her newsletter).
Now, when I say “what works”, I don't mean what marketing ideas, out of the vast array available, work for people, or produce the best results. What I mean is what works for me, as in something I can do comfortably and that I can reasonably have a hope of sticking to, that has measurable and useful results.
It's taken years for me to clarify my understanding of how various marketing ideas work, and which ones I, personally, should concentrate on. I've been groping towards this for a long time.
I have my own goals and standards that define how I want to run my business, and I have personal limitations and enthusiasms to accommodate. Your situation will be different
- I want to sell my books at a reasonable full price (with very occasional discounts), because that's the audience I want to cultivate.
- I want to sell my books on the basis of quality — good reading experience, indistinguishable in quality from traditional publishers.
- I want my books to be available with the widest possible reach (countries, retailers, formats), with no DRM. If people look for my books, they should be able to find them anywhere, for any device, and my career should not be held hostage to any one retailer or country. This includes direct ecommerce.
- I'm not really a people person. I like to help and I can tell funny stories, but I'm lousy at jumping into a social situation as an extrovert. I'm more of a high-functioning introvert.
- I want to execute semi-automatic systems as much as possible. I'm an old IT career person, and I'm very comfortable with systems. I don't have the discipline to keep doing ad hoc experiments, but I have no problem going through the detailed (obsessive) concentration necessary to set something automated up.
So, what does this mean for me?
For one thing, it rules out a broad variety of interesting marketing ideas that clutter up my thinking:
- Wanting to price permafree — wrong audience for me to cultivate.
- Wanting to focus on Amazon KU — wrong reach (not wide), captive retailer.
- Discounted sales third-party newsletter marketing — wrong audience for me to cultivate, and a huge distraction.
- Participating in bundles and similar multi-author promotions for free — wrong audience for me to cultivate, and I mostly write long-form, not stories.
- Marketing/review swaps with other authors. I'd rather cultivate my own audience and not spam them.
- Widespread social media platforms, pushing my books — not extroverted enough to make that palatable (banging on about my books).
What do I want to do instead?