Thursdays with Amanda: Why Creating “Stuff” Is a BAD Marketing Move
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to pull out my soapbox and set up a Ted Cruz-sized camp. I’m going to talk about the strategy of CREATING more STUFF in an attempt to PROMOTE your BOOK and why this strategy is a complete waste of time.
I see author after author spend money and time on book trailers and digital shorts and book-specific websites and splash pages and artwork and THINGS. I see their eyes light up when they realize, for example, “I’m great in the kitchen!” and then they decide that being great in the kitchen means they should create some recipes that are pulled straight from their book and they should offer these recipes online BECAUSE THAT WILL DEFINITELY GET PEOPLE BUZZING!
But then no one downloads the recipes.
No one knows they’re there. Which happens to be the very reason that a book (your book) may do poorly. It’s not because the book is bad or boring or poorly written. It’s because no one knows it exists.
Marketing is all about showing and telling people that something exists and then convincing them (in a soft, casual way) that they need said thing.
So let’s really dig in to the madness behind this “create” mentality…
You have a book. Yay! You hope people buy the book. I mean you’ve told your friends and family, right? That should count for SOMETHING.
But the numbers come back. Sales are bad. You haven’t even cracked 2,000 copies sold. You need to DO something. In pops this recipe idea. GREAT! You slap the recipes online and sit back and wait just like you did before. Your numbers come from your publisher again. You STILL haven’t broken the 2,000 mark, and in fact, you’re going in the opposite direction because of all those freakin’ returns!!
Why is this happening?!
You check your recipe downloads. It’s pitiful. Clearly not helping. But how do you get people to download your recipes?! And then how do you get them to buy your book! ARG! Now you have TWO things to promote!!!!
So now what? Maybe create a book trailer? Maybe a short story ebook? Maybe….
Maybe the problem isn’t with the things you’re creating, but with how you’re choosing to communicate that those things exist.
Now I know I’m going to have people say that such-and-such an idea worked great for them. And yeah, these ideas can work! But they work when there is a solid marketing plan behind each one. I have cards on hand for my marketing ebook. I give these away at conferences. It works like a gem. But the big deal isn’t that I have the cards…it’s that I’m AT the CONFERENCES. I’m pounding the pavement. And then I’m sealing the deal with the card.
Imagine if I sat home. If I had a book to promote and a bunch of cards that I didn’t know what to do with. I’d end up with TWO things to promote. Two items that need marketing plans and Twitter campaigns and Facebook strategies (though I realize the idea of a Facebook strategy for a card is a bit silly…you get my point).
Bottom line: YOU HAVE ALREADY CREATED SOMETHING. You created your book. Now is the time to step out of the world of creation and into the world of relationships and networking. THAT is marketing. And THAT will sell your book.
Want to know more about how to step out of the world of CREATING and into the world of MARKETING?
Check out my $5 ebook, The Extroverted Writer.
Here’s what readers are saying: “…it doesn’t just tell you the things you should be doing. It shows you how to do those things.” – Chris Kolmorgen, Amazon Review
What percentage of “hitting the pavement” would you see social media playing in the marketing side of a book? Just curious. As a Dir of HR and a mother of 2 little kiddos, travelling nationwide to conference and multiple book signings and “in person” stuff is tempting (’cause I love it and love to travel) but isn’t necessarily realistic outside of a trip or two a year…Did I just nail my coffin shut?
I think social media can replace pounding the pavement 100%. BUT social media interactions between you and your friends/family/current fans doesn’t really count. The trick is to constantly be using social media to find NEW followers. NEW potential readers. NEW potential fans. Tapping into those new groups is where it’s at.
Brilliant tips, Amanda. The main thing is you have to be OUT THERE, I agree. I haven’t done a book trailer yet (tempting though it is)…mostly because I’m using marketing venues I PERSONALLY respond to. I mean, since my readers are sort of in my same demographic, it would make sense they used the same kinds of stuff I do to get informed about books (Pinterest, blogs, reviews on Goodreads, etc). Those are the things I’m targeting. Hoping it pays off. I’ve wondered about the benefits of real-life book signings once I get my print-on-demand books…could you elaborate on that sometime? Definitely planning to hit the local paper and some smaller bookstores. But for me, I think most of the effort is focused online, since that’s where I find a lot of my fave writers.
Yes, will talk about book signings soon! Great idea 🙂 And I hope you see success with your efforts!
Amanda, that made so much sense! Thank you. Would you be able to share a picture of your card? I’d love to see exactly what you’re talking about.
Sure, I’ll try to post them next week. Sound good?
That’s great. Thank you!
Thank you for this, Amanda! And you hooked me on your ebook! Sold! Thank you!
Thanks Amanda, for sharing this wisdom. As a writer, a creative person, it’s easy to get excited about creating something new. But I need to find more ways to share what I have already created.
Amanda, thanks for this information. Smart marketing takes a lot of energy. Your guidance is likely more helpful than you know.
Thank you 🙂
It’s been downloaded! 😉
Great post, Amanda. Marketing and getting out there is key. I was reluctant to do social media because I was afraid it would take up too much time. I’m supposed to be writing, not blogging, posting to Facebook or tweeting. But it was at conference (Midwest Writers) where I decided to go for it. How wrong I was about NOT using social media. I’ve started creating those relationships you talked about.
Relationships are the BEST part Michelle! You are in for a treat! 🙂
Yeah, good for you! And yes, you’re in for a treat.