My third book released a couple of weeks ago, ushering me into the most dreaded activity of this writer’s life: marketing.
I hate it, and for good reason. When somebody asks me what my book is about, I start talking like a Valley Girl who’s inhaled too much hairspray. “So like there’s this girl…like lady, right? And she’s like scared of this guy she knew from before…’cause see, when she was a teenager…”
Shocking I don’t sell more copies by hand.
I don’t do much better in print.
But mostly, I hate marketing because I have to ask for help.
Writers have to ask for endorsements, influencers, reviews, and shares. We have to humbly request to be guest on others’ blogs and suggest ourselves as brilliant interviewees. Heck, writers even have to ask for sales. That’s what marketing is, asking people to gamble on you. “Please fork over your hard-earned money on the chance that my book doesn’t completely stink.”
Most people are willing to spend more money on a Supersized McDonald’s meal than they are on a book.
Ten minutes to consume your hamburger, ten hours to consume my life’s work. Seems the latter would be worth at least as much as the former.
But there’s only one Big Mac, while there are thousands…millions of books out there. It’s supply and demand, and honey, nobody’s demanding what I’m supplying. Not yet, anyway.
Thus, I have to ask.
In order to make this task easier, I’ve hired a manager to help with my marketing. She’s approaching endorsers for me, and she’s asking for influencers. She’s giving me great ideas for marketing, too, many of which involve…asking for help. You know what I’ve learned so far? Every author has to do this, or at least had to at one point in his career. And every author hates it. But if we all help each other, it’s not so bad.
This Friday, my first critique partner and I are attending a craft fair together, so we visit while people walk by pretending not to see us. I’m really looking forward to it.
Chef and popular blogger Amanda Johnson hopes publishing her memoir will provide healing and justice. Her estranged husband, contractor and veteran soldier Mark Johnson, tries to talk her out of it, fearing the psychiatrist who seduced her when she was a teen might return to silence her. But Amanda doesn’t need advice, certainly not from her judgmental soon-to-be ex-husband. Her overconfidence makes her vulnerable when she travels out of town and runs into the abuser from her past. A kind stranger comes to her rescue and offers her protection. Now Mark must safeguard his wife both from the fiend who threatens her life and from the stranger who threatens their marriage.
Next month, a good friend and I are teaming up to have a launch party together.
We each have things we’re good at, so we’re splitting the work. And we’ve figured out the best way to sell our books at the event: I’m going to sell hers, and she’s going to sell mine. Instead of babbling like a fool about my own book, I can gush about hers (and it’ll be genuine, because her book is fantastic).
So what advice do I have for you?
Perhaps you can find somebody to team up with in your marketing efforts, either a manager like mine (and no, she’s not available), or a good friend who also has a book to market—or will in the near future. It’s so much easier to ask for help for somebody else than it is to ask for yourself.
When you’re at book launch and signing time, could you share the joy with another author? If nothing else, at least that’ll give you someone to talk to during those inevitable lulls in visitors.
And be the person who offers help when your friends come out with new books. Buy them, read them, and review them. If you love their books, tell your friends about them. Because eventually it’ll be you quaking in your flip-flops and doing your best Valley Girl impression.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re a writer, so you already know how to handle rejection, right? So what if they say no. Let it roll off your back like that one-star review and move on to the next guy.
By the way, does anybody want to review my book?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.
Finding Amanda links
My website: http://robinpatchen.com/
Robin’s Red Pen: https://robinsredpen.wordpress.com/