A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
-John A. Shields
Most writers are not marketers and are more at home writing their work than marketing it. Because they find that the hat of a marketer, does not sit well on them, they often procrastinate on the next phase of their book-journey – connecting with potential readers. Although they frequently tell themselves they must now market their books, they do not follow their own directives because they really don’t know where to start.
As writers, we spend hours alone, even months and years largely alone trying to complete our work. Writing is in many ways, a solitary profession. “Aloneness is an important facilitator of creativity. Many images, whether clear or fleeting, occur spontaneously, and are hampered by external stimuli and are subsequently lost. Aloneness allows us a relationship with our intuition and the opportunity to give it our undivided attention.” (HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HUNCH? The Importance of Creative Thinking)
Eventually, the work is completed and that leads writers to the next realization: the time has come to give something other than writing, focused attention: marketing – the next hurdle. But where do you begin when marketing your book – and therefore yourself – does not come naturally to you?
When procrastination sets in, it is advisable to take a rest from the gnawing guilt of not doing what you know you should do, and ask an experienced book-marketer for help – someone who could step in and help set you firmly on the road ahead. I interviewed one such individual recently: Linda Leon of Book Marketing Professionals, a literary agency. I asked her to share her thoughts on marketing, especially as she is both a writer and a marketer – someone who wears both hats with ease:
Linda’s company specializes in the areas of book publication, marketing, author support and visual productions. Linda worked in management and as a producer in broadcast television. This industry has given her a spectrum of media skills from writing to producing television and radio programs. Linda’s television and radio work over the years has gone international and has reached over 80 million households. She is also a professional ghostwriter, author, and was a columnist for United Press International, the second largest news agency in the world, for 5 years. She is a prolific writer with hundreds of posts on line. Her podcast Book That Author that aired on Blog Talk Radio accumulated over 20,000 listeners.
Ellen: The work of the creator has been privately conceived and developed but once the work is completed, it becomes time to share it with the public. There are some writers with the ability to switch gear quite adroitly and market themselves. Most however, cannot and do not. Thus their work that has taken them months or even years to complete, languishes. This is where a marketer steps in. I see you, Linda, as really providing a service to such writers. Do you see your work as a service?
Linda: Yes, I see my work as a service – it’s a ministry for me. What I do can help people change their personal world and even, depending on their subject matter, the world in big or small ways. I go beyond the technicalities when working with people and try to inspire them with a can do spirit which in many ways, is more important than marketing. You need that spirit to help you persevere with what you are doing.
Ellen: What advice would you give to writers?
Linda: Every author should have a website that they own and not rely on 3rd party websites like Facebook. They can have a Facebook account, but should own their own site. Also, they should adopt an attitude conducive to enjoying their marketing efforts and that should be why they select their promotional activities. Enjoy what you do! This will help you to keep progressing long term. Also, find the social media platforms that work for you and use them. Do not try to do what everybody else seems to be doing. It is important that you realize that marketing takes time and you will have to test many things before you find out the areas that sell books. But if you can meet a need, you can sell a book. Finally, never give up. That’s the most important thing. Don’t give up and don’t under-estimate yourselves; rather, each writer should reinforce in themselves the belief that the world needs their voice, after all, isn’t that why they started writing their books in the first place? (READ THE FULL INTERVIEW)