We’re looking at the three ‘V’s you need to boost your marketing success and achieve a long-term viability as a writer.
‘Vicinity’ is to do with building a solid local base — local in terms of family and friends and also with the handful of Facebook group members who have bought and read your work; ‘Variety’ is encouraged by gently nudging these people to speak out, through comments, reviews and other postings, to a slightly wider public.
But ‘Vias’ is the third ‘V’ — what does that involve?
We saw earlier that there is a kind of law to marketing:
The more a book is mentioned by various different sources over a protracted period, the more likely the potential reader is to reach for it.
The word via means travelling through (a place) en route to a destination. In the sense we are using it, it means that the road from a potential reader to your book often lies through a third person recommending or even just mentioning it in some way. Your small fanbase can act as a set of vias: by commenting, discussing, name-dropping, and even just ‘Liking’ your work, the potential reader is drawn to it; it seems to gain an independent existence.
It works like this: if you see a pink cow standing in a field, and you’re the only one there, the first conclusion you’re likely to jump to is that you are hallucinating. However, if someone else reports to you that they can also see the pink cow, it becomes more real. If thirty people say they see a pink cow, then you are more likely to think of the pink cow as ‘real’ and not an illusion.
Same thing with a book. You might see an ad for a book, once, twice, three times. It’s just you and the book. But if you see the book mentioned by someone else, or its author appearing in a blog interview, or someone commenting on a thread to do with it, the book becomes more solid. It’s just the way things work.
So you need to get people talking about, commenting, sharing and referring to your book. They don’t even absolutely have to like it — just mentioning it is enough for it to seem more real to a potential reader.
Once this ball has started rolling, you’ll want to keep it rolling. But a ‘like’ or ‘share’ of a Facebook status is enough to get your work seen by new people, and that’s all you need.
Here’s another ‘secret’:
The best way to connect with people is to say something that they can relate to.
Sounds too obvious to be of much use, but in marketing it’s like the Law of Laws. Relate your work to something that a potential reader already has an affinity for, and you have assumed a position in their minds and possibly hearts.
And here’s another ‘secret’ so big and stunning that you might not quite believe it:
People tend to buy emotionally and justify their purchases with logic.
You might have been struggling to ‘persuade’ people, using all kinds of logical argument, as to why they should buy your book. While it’s quite possible that those logical arguments were convincing in their own right and carried significant weight, the reason someone buys something is 99% of the time emotional. In the build-up to the purchase, while in the act of purchasing or immediately after the purchase, they justify to themselves, using as much logic as they can muster, why they are making that purchase.
You, as a writer, are a purveyor of emotional effects. Your only difficulty in selling your work is finding the right audience, the one who will respond to the effects you specifically are creating. And to reach them, you need to appear more solid to them. And to do that, you need the third ‘V’: vias. As many third parties of the right kind as possible, commenting, licking, clicking, sharing, posting, recommending and reviewing.
The three ‘V’s — vicinity, variety and vias — form the groundwork of a successful campaign. And Facebook writing groups play their role in this by providing a few people in your vicinity, a little variety of input, and potentially some vias to build your credibility, your name, your brand.
There are some practical things you can do to boost all this, as we shall see next.