So what does an average day look like for a writer who wants to undertake organic marketing?
Obviously, the pattern of an individual day will change from person to person, but it’s possible to use the principles of the subject to outline the kinds of things that should happen in order to show how this whole thing works. And you’ll be pleased, I think, to discover where the emphasis lies…
However you structure your day, the bulk of it should be focused on writing.
That’s not only because you are a writer and that’s what you want to do, but also because you will need to make provision for what is arguably the most important sector of your public: the Superfan.
‘But I don’t have any buyers at all yet!’ you might say. ‘How am I supposed to cater for a group that doesn’t yet exist?’
It’s true that in the early days of an organic marketing campaign you might have no sales at all, let alone a sub-group of fans clamouring for more. But writing for the Superfan actually deals with two fundamentals: when you create fiction for those readers who will absolutely adore it, you are going to be working to your strengths — you yourself will be getting maximum pleasure from your work, writing the very things which you wanted to write, developing the stories and characters and scenes which give you the most thrills and meaningful moments. And secondly, you will be feeding the future — setting up stories and books which will be consumed in the months and years to come, providing you with the income you dreamed about.
So write — and enjoy it to the maximum, knowing that you are also working on marketing.
One of your first activities during the day will probably be to look over what has come into your group in terms of people trying to post things. Depending on the subject and scope of your group, you can quickly scan through these and approve or disapprove as you see fit. This is your group’s ‘breakfast’, if you like — articles, snippets, images, contributions of various kinds will then appear in group members’ social media feeds, alerting them to the fact that the group is there and is an interesting place.
You can post a few things yourself at this time too.
Tip: if you keep a blog, and it is at all relevant to your group’s subject, post its latest articles or items into your group. You’ll get many more blog readers that way, while contributing appropriate material to your group.
Just about the time that a hobbit would be enquiring as to a second breakfast, pop into your group again and check what’s happening. There may be new posts to look at or threads to check, or conversations going on which you might want to participate in. Comment, reply, engage. This doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes, but it shows that the group is alive and that you are a real person. Be approachable and maintain the important group protocols:
i) Stay positive and enthusiastic
ii) Don’t enter into any kind of polarised argument about anything
iii) Listen and acknowledge more than you speak.
4. Visit again, later.
Keep in mind that, between these visits, you are writing. The time to visit a group is when there’s a natural break in your writing — maybe you’ve finished a scene or chapter, or achieved some kind of target, or maybe you just need a short break. Pop into the group again and do the same as 3. If your own newsfeed has revealed some interesting articles related to your group’s topic, post them. Very occasionally - perhaps only once or twice a week — mention your book or books and provide a link to them.
5. There is no Number 5.
That’s it. If you continue to do the above every day, you will have the following over time:
i) a vibrant, happy, expanding and active group of ‘warm prospects’ for your book.
ii) a growing amount of focused writing
iii) a few sales, which will, over time, expand into a fanbase (provided that your work is doing what it is supposed to do, which is fully engage the reader).
To some people, the above sounds like hard work. They would rather just write and leave the marketing up to luck, or write and then spend hours and hours pumping out ads, asking for page Likes, spamming other groups with book links etc etc., to no avail. To others, the above steps seem too easy — surely it can’t be that simple, and, well… pleasant?
You probably have to try it over a period of, say, three months, to see if it works for you. If by that time you haven’t started achieving regular sales, then you need to examine each part of the cycle to see what is missing — because the Marketing Mantra works:
Attract generally; attract specifically; engage fully; provide more.
It may be that you haven’t given the group enough time to grow, or fed it enough material; it may be that your book’s cover or blurb need to be more effective; it may be that your stories don’t use the successful tools used by authors throughout the centuries to engage readers; it may be that excited readers, reaching for more, find that there is no more and so they can’t buy anything else.
Allow time; use covers and blurbs properly; write using all the craft that is available to you (my book, How Stories Really Work, will help with this); and write and write and write so that readers always have more to buy.
That’s the path to success.