2 Things Every Novelist Should Know About Marketing

Let me be honest. This post was originally written for my art blog. But after I wrote it, I realized artists aren’t the only people who need to know what I wrote for my artist friends and readers.

We writers are just as bad about wanting seclusion as artists are.

So I’d like to share that original post with you now, beginning with two simple facts about marketing.

  1. Marketing is necessary
  2. Anyone can be a marketer

Let’s take a look at each of those statements.

1. Marketing Is Necessary

There is no way around the plain truth of this statement. Sales are vital to creating income. Marketing is absolutely vital to making sales.

If you doubt it, ask yourself the following questions. When was the last time you sold anything to someone who didn’t know you existed? When was the last time you sold a book to someone who knew you, but didn’t know you were a writer?

I’m guessing the answer to both questions is never.

People who become readers and buyers of your books have heard about you and about your work somewhere. Marketing in some form was responsible for that, whether it was passive marketing by word-of-mouth or intentional marketing via an advertisement, a press release in a newspaper, or a website.

2. Anyone Can Be A Marketer

I can hear the protests already!

“I don’t like to market.”

“I’d rather let someone else do the marketing.”

“I’m not a people person.”

“I hate sales.”

Believe me, I’ve heard almost everything there is to hear about artists and marketing. Nearly five years as gallery director exposes a person a lot of artist philosophy.

Writers say the same kinds of things because most writers are introverts by nature and even if they aren’t, they spend a lot of time alone writing.

But remember I didn’t say “marketing will be easy for every one”. I said “anyone can be a marketer.”

The first is patently untrue. The second is just as patently true.

And believe it or not, every writer will market their work, sooner or later, in one form or another, and most likely on multiple levels.

Part of The Problem

Part of the problem people have with marketing is a false perception of what marketing really is. When most people hear the word “marketing”, a specific image leaps to mind. Usually, it’s the used car salesman in the loud suit pushing the latest “deals on wheels.” Sometimes it’s a carnival barker, a huckster, a late-night infomercial, or some similar caricature.

Erase that image. Delete it. Dump it into the nearest trash can. That is not what marketing really is and it’s most definitely not what I’m talking about.

Levels of Marketing

We all market every day whether we realize it or not. How?

  • When you talk about your book with a friend, you’re marketing
  • When you talk about your book with a stranger, you’re marketing
  • When you update your website, post on social media, or join a conversation, you’re marketing

Those are what I refer to as passive marketing. The everyday stuff that happens spontaneously.

Then there’s intentional marketing. Buying advertisements, writing press releases, doing book signings, blog tours, or interviews or any of a number of other ways of promoting your work are all intentional marketing. You go into the activity with the goal of making a sale.

Concluding Thoughts

That’s not all there is to say about marketing by any stretch of the imagination (and I have a pretty good imagination). I’m happy to discussion this topic with you in a series of posts here, as well. So if you have a question, please ask it in the comment box below.

Let’s talk about this thing called marketing.

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