Which of these five kinds of marketer are you?
1. The Non-Marketer
You are a writer, so you write. You don’t plan to market your books - that’s someone else’s job. You haven’t even bothered to learn much about marketing because you want to go down the traditional route and have a publisher deal with all of that for you. To be frank, the idea of marketing a book is somewhat perplexing and a little frightening to you, and that’s not what you signed up for. What did you sign up for? Basically, sitting and writing and then getting recognised, becoming a best selling author and raking in enough royalties to be able to sit down and do more writing.
2. The Fretter
You are a lot like the Non-Marketer, in that you tend to avoid the area, but you recognise that you will probably have to do at least some of it. You might even have experimented with a few ‘conventional’ practices, like sending links out to groups on social media, asking people to ‘like’ your book, and even paying for ads on Facebook or Google. None of it has ben particularly successful, which makes you fret even more. Marketing is a bit like being caught on a hamster wheel for you, going round and round but not getting anywhere.
3. The Marginally Successful Marketer
You’ve sold some books! Maybe you had a bit of help, or maybe you figured something out on your own - whatever it is, you are encouraged, even though when you add up all the money it isn’t very much. You wonder if that is all there is to it - maybe you have reached the limit of what you can do as a writer and you’ll never be more popular? But hey! At least you’ve achieved something!
4. The Adventurer
You have looked at conventional methods, perhaps tried a few, and found that they weren’t especially successful. So you’ve done some proper research into marketing - what is it really, what should you expect, what are the laws that make it work and what are the pitfalls to avoid - and you have set out on a different sort of campaign. This campaign is much more long term, not concerned with immediate selling but with building a brand and a profile over quite a long time. You have set realistic expectations and can concentrate on meaningful things which you actually enjoy doing, knowing that, in time, they will bear fruit.
5. The Master Marketer
Having been through the Adventurer phase, you can now look over the domain of your creative works and judge with reasonable accuracy what you need to do next. Your brand has grown considerably and is now stable; you have reached a ‘critical mass’ in terms of a following and now know that with each book that you write a viable number of sales will occur. In fact, marketing as a subject has tended to fade naturally into the background where it belongs. You recognise that storytelling and marketing are much the same thing, one being an extension of the other.
You can probably see that there is a progression through these types of marketer. Often writers start by denying the role of marketing and refusing to have anything to do with it; they sometimes tentatively enter the field but frequently retire early, disappointed.
Only those who learn its fundamentals proceed further and have genuine success over a longer period of time.
For those fundamentals, see my book A Marketing Handbook for Writers, Part 1.