The Magic of Marketing


In the world of dreams, a writer often imagines that the bulk of the work is done when the first draft is complete. It’s a persistent illusion, but one which needs to be shattered.

Apart from the fact that, in practice, completing a first draft is only about 20% of the work in producing a fully publishable novel, even when the thing is published (traditionally or using self-publishing) the work of getting it into the hands of readers has scarcely begun. The terrible truth is that, if your goal as a writer is to take a conception from your imagination and have it appear as though teleported or telepathically transmitted into the minds of readers, then a considerable proportion of that transference occurs in the hard, physical world and involves the movement of the solid (or electronic) copies of books into the hands (or onto the screens) of readers.

If that world is alien to you, or you don’t feel competent in it, the thing to do is to get someone who can do it for you: a marketing person.

To get an overview of what you need your marketing person to be able to do with relative ease, let’s examine the following points:

1. He or she needs to fully understand the effects that you are hoping to create with your book.

2. He or she needs to have an understanding of who your readers are and what those readers feel they need.

The first step in any of this is to have a product that can be delivered, which is a completed work. 'Selling' the product is actually an interim step on the way to conveying what began in your imagination into the imaginations of others - in itself, the exchange of monies for your book is almost irrelevant and has certainly had too much attention placed on it. The reason it has apparently needed so much attention is because the underlying forces behind how this works were either not understood or not grasped fully.

Success in any business depends upon developing a product or service that can be delivered to the customer which so exactly fits the customer’s needs that the customer’s 'cup runneth over' and the news of that spreads by word of mouth to nearby potential customers. Your book is no different; your ideas and imaginative images are no different.

Your book has a shadow, if you like: the vacuums, emptinesses, holes and hopes that it promises to fill for a reader. It is that shadow that attracts and interests that reader. Once they get close enough to see the object which is casting the shadow - the copy of your book - the job is almost done. The step that has been called ‘selling’ is simply when the reader’s desires are matched with the book’s features in such a way that an exchange takes place and the reader moves from being attracted towards your book by an emptiness to beginning to have that particular emptiness filled.

You should know that right now an ordinary marketing person probably isn’t doing any of the things we’ve covered above, unless he or she is very good at their job.

People in marketing tend to lose enthusiasm over time, and buy into viewpoints like 'Marketing doesn’t really work' or 'Marketing is based on numbers and luck' - or, worst of all, but most common of all: 'Marketing is too expensive and needs to have its budget cut.' They follow a sequence, starting with the idea that marketing doesn’t work leading to the belief that marketing is a game of numbers and luck, leading to the conclusion that the marketing budget needs to be slashed.

If one could wave a magic wand and get rid of those attitudes alone, any business would boom. But they all exist for very good reasons and it is the concealed reasons that you must address if you really want to market your book successfully.

A. ’Marketing doesn’t really work'