The Longevity of Marketing

I’m reading an article about “mistakes” authors make while marketing.  It’s been enlightening, but at the same time, it also leaves me scratching my head as I read. So what was one of these grave mistakes?  That authors both started and stopped marketing right after the initial release of their book.

I used the word mistakes in quotation marks above because I’m not sure it’s quite the right word.  According to Merriam Webster online, a mistake is “to blunder of choice, to misunderstand the meaning or intention, to identify wrongly” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistake).  If you’ve never even known that marketing was an expectation, never been taught the choices (or how-to’s), and then you find yourself thrown blindly into it without that proper preparation, how can you possibly know the rules of engagement?

See, I think most writers are trained to be writers. The focus is on the three things all writers need to do to become better at their craft: reading, writing, and editing.  And, if they are really lucky, writers learn how to format manuscripts and write cover letters and submit to publications.  But then the lessons stop, so it’s easy to figure that a writer’s job must be over once the work is sold.  Is that a right assumption to make?  Not really.  But how can you know that if you haven’t been taught?

The thing is, if authors were taught about marketing as part of their professional development, the marketing longevity (or lack thereof) wouldn’t be an issue or “mistake.”  Authors would know that—if they wanted their book to gain recognition—preliminary marketing would start early on in the writing process…within the first few chapters, really. So while there isn’t a product at that point, there are opportunities to discuss their manuscript and start establishing themselves as a writer both in person and online.  That way, once their book is sold, they’d already have a solid foundation for their marketing strategy and would be able to concentrate on the elation of having their work released instead of drowning beneath all the new expectations of promoting their book.  Authors would know marketing is for the long haul, NOT to just to be started and stopped within the first three months after their book is released, and that it can take years before it goes from a sleeper to a best seller.  Marketing is a creative marathon, not a formulaic sprint, and it needs to be ongoing for as long as a book is in print.

When do you think marketing your book begins?  What are/were your first steps in establishing yourself as a writer?

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Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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