From Ed Cyzewski via Jane Friedman:
“I’ve never seen an author work as hard as you,” my publicist wrote after a book release.
I wanted to print out that email so that I could either frame it on my wall or burn it in the alley behind our house. I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do more.
I love to write books, but I don’t love book releases, even if my publicist praised my effort.
Almost every author I know jumps into book marketing with very mixed feelings. Authors are committed to the long, slow process of writing, so the fast-paced, socially awkward, time-sensitive demands of promotion prove difficult and draining for many authors. Even worse than that, many new authors know next to nothing about marketing and feel slimy when jumping into it, but we’re still tempted to measure our personal worth and the value of our books based on our sales numbers.
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Very few authors believe they have sold enough books. Don’t seek personal validation for your career through book sales.
Commit to your writing as a mission or calling to serve a particular audience, and let the feedback from your audience determine whether you have been successful. The results of marketing campaigns are difficult to predict, so don’t let sales numbers determine whether you have served your readers effectively or whether you should keep writing. However, don’t ignore your sales numbers completely, since they may indicate that you need to try something else in order to reach your audience.
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During a meeting with one author, she shared with me how much she loved helping a friend with a podcast, but blogging was an absolute chore for her. However, she persisted in blogging because “That’s what you do to get noticed by publishers.”
I’ve been there, and it’s true that many of my contacts with publishers have come about because of my blog. For many authors today a thriving blog is all but assumed.
However, I suggested to my friend that many of the most successful bloggers I know live and breathe blogging. In addition, I personally can’t stop thinking of ideas I want to blog about. In her case, she had untapped artistic and audio talents that she had overlooked. I was also able to share how I had unintentionally copied the way another author uses Twitter because I thought successful authors need to use Twitter just like him. However, I made myself miserable in the process and ultimately struggled to make progress in my career by copying him.
Don’t lose your personality, quirks, and passions by trying to imitate the success of another author. In fact, you may not find your voice or tap into your greatest talents if you try to duplicate what made a fellow author successful. One of the most successful bloggers I personally know told me that she has reached more readers through her podcast than her blog.
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Having worked with several publishers over the years, I’ve noticed how different publicity departments can be from each other. While one publisher emphasizes Twitter followers, another looks at your email list, and yet another wants connections at magazines, conferences, and bookstores. There are certain trends that appear more common than others, but if a particular publicity practice strikes you as draining or ineffective for your book, there are plenty of options out there to consider, and there’s a chance you can find an expert who can walk you through it.
That also means that authors should consider whether a publisher’s marketing team is a good fit for reaching their particular audiences. Most publishers have a standard marketing plan that is the basis of what they do, and it may be wise to find out how your network and viability as an author match up with your publisher’s marketing preferences.
Link to the rest at Jane Friedman