A reader’s perspective of selling yourself
I took a marketing class in college. I wasn’t really interested in marketing but it was offered in my department and I needed the credits so what the heck right? It was one of those classes where I was expecting to learn how to make cool flyers for events but I actually learned something about what marketing really is. It’s definitely not flyers!! In fact, if I remember correctly flyers would be considered advertising- a subset of marketing. No, marketing is about the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotional Strategy.
So why would I be boring you with a college lecture lesson? Well, marketing sucks! And I say that with the utmost respect!! I mean it takes a serious talent and a lot of skill to market correctly. I mean take me for instance. I am trying to market myself in a way. I have an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bike ride this summer that is 545 miles long, traveling from San Fracisco to Los Angeles over the course of 7 days. You may have read about it in Susan X Meagher’s I Found my Heart in San Francisco series. Well, in order to ride in this amazingly awesome bike ride that is benefiting thousands of people by supporting programs for the Los Angeles LGBT Center (check it out here) I have to raise, at a minimum, $3000(my goal is $5000). Try doing that when you are an introvert!!
But back to the issue at hand here. I am marketing myself. I am the Product (the first P) as the crazy woman who is willing to sacrifice feeling in my nether regions for a whole week by doing all the physical work of peddling my bike down the California coast. How do I determine the price? Do I say it is my personal goal of raising $5000 for this organization? Or do I angle it to be, it doesn’t cost anything to donate? Which technically is true. It’s not like anyone has to pay to use the website where donations are made. The website is actually free, it’s just the donation itself that costs money. But everyone likes free right? I mean I love when authors offer up a book for free, or when I participate in a contest and win a free book. I mean that is how I discovered Karis Walsh- I won a copy of Harmony and Improvisation. I also found Chris Paynter when I entered a contest and won Survived by Her Longtime Companion. And if you haven’t read these three books, they are worth the purchase! So, there’s my price- It’s FREE to donate!
Now I need a place. Would that be considered the starting and ending points? No. It’s supposed to be a distribution channel. Somewhere potential donors might see me, the product, and go- HEY! I want to donate to her ride and change people’s lives for the better! Check out the column to the far right. Go on. Look to the right. Yep! That’s me! The product leaning up against my trusty transportation for this adventure! AND, this place is only costing me $5 a month! Not a bad deal. Isn’t there some saying that you have to spend money to make money? Well, I don’t want to make money- I just want to make donations happen. Is that the same thing? At this point, I don’t mind if you stop reading and check out how awesome the IDEA behind the picture is (thank you Jove for helping me make it!). But don’t really check out the picture because that makes me sound vain! Just think about the idea. AND if you run your cursor over the picture and click on it, it will take you directly to my donation page!! How cool is that? In fact any of the advertisements listed over there on the right side are only a click away!
That just leaves my promotional strategy. To be honest, I have no clue what this means in regards to my mini marketing project. Could it be the advertisement? Or how to attract the customer? Sort of like having a book cover that you just can’t take your eyes off of like Selina Rosen’s Hammer Town. Admit it, you want to at least flip the book over and read the blurb. Does that mean that the picture is MY promotional strategy? Are you wanting to click on it and read more about it? Or maybe promotional strategy is the book title. Something catchy or funny or both (I’m thinking of IceHole by Kiera Dellacroix. Say it out loud to someone and you’ll know what I’m talking about!) that makes you, again, want to flip the book over and at least read the back blurb. Do I give enough information on my ad? Is it enticing enough for people to want to click on the picture and see what’s up?
So yeah. Marketing sucks! It is so complicated and thought provoking and I’m so jealous of all those talented people who can master marketing! And in our little niche market of lesfic, I’m wondering if marketing can make or break an author? I know I’m introverted, and I’m sure many of the authors out there are introverted so how do they put themselves out there and be successful with it? How can we support them when we are on a book-budget imposed by our wives? Tell me your thoughts on finding and purchasing books. What do you use to make your selection? Book reviews? Peer recommendations? Trust from having read the author previously? Covers? Oh and please, please, please share covers that have caught your eye for any reason and let me know why?! As always, thanks for reading and supporting our amazing lesfic authors.