If you have studied, worked, created, drafted, revised, edited and completed a novel, it’s unlikely you took the time to learn the skills to sell it.
And because it seems hard, as hard as hacking your way through a rain forest, you may have a negative opinion of it.
You may think that to sell, then you may have to be annoying to buyers, like a jungle mosquito. To sell, you think you may have to cajole, manipulate, and lie, like a disreputable tour guide who brought you out into the forest to take your wallet. You may also believe you have to yell the name of my book as obnoxiously as a howler monkey to get attention. Or tweet constantly. You may think you have to send auto DMs. And it’s likely You may think you have to spend a lot of money, buy ad space, get onto every single social media platform, harass local bookstores, and whatever else to gain potential readers and convince them your book is worth buying.
6. There’s always something to learn.
Scientists are still finding species of plants and animals they’ve never found before in the deepest parts of the jungle. They’re discovering that there is more to learn. Writers need to be willing to learn too. Learn all you can about marketing and publicity, but also keep learning about craft and creativity too! National Geographic is a great resource for learning about the jungle.
7. Rewards come through persevering.
Now you may not conquer a land, and you certainly won’t find lost cities of gold, but you will find your own personal treasure if you don’t give up. The small gig you had at the library lead to this book club, which leads to this bookstore appearance which led to this other opportunity. It’s slow, tedious and sometimes disappointing. If you quit because it gets hard, then you have no idea what success could have been yours. Here’s a video from the BBC. I love them.
8. Jungle exploring is for the strong, so is marketing.
The wisest of explorers would be knowledgeable about their physical strengths and weaknesses so they succeed. Likewise, a good marketing plan should make the most of the author’s strengths. Some of us are great at Twitter. Some don’t have a good voice for radio. Others are afraid that our big hair will overpower any television set. That’s fine. Figure out what you can do, what you’re good at, what comes naturally to you and what seems to be effective and do it! Wanna explore the Amazon? These folks can show you how!
9. An effective marketing plan, like a jungle journey, Is deliberate and thoughtful, not impulsive.
Time means that TIME needs to be invested in creating it and then implementing it. My personal plan starts locally with libraries, bookstores and coffee shops. Then I’m expanding to Google searches with a few keywords in my target market. I can’t assume that one blog post or one tweet is all I need to be successful. If you’re ever inclined to canoe in the jungle, just watch this.
10. Next, a good marketing plan is useless unless the book is EXCELLENT.
If you are offering a slipshod product with no editing and bad artwork you are insulting writers everywhere. You are attacking the dignity of this art. You’re telling the world that you disrespect your readers and yourself. Do us all a favor and get it right first. I don’t know how to tie this into the jungle/exploring metaphor. If you think of a way, leave me a comment.