As I'm slowly easing back into writing, I'm slowly getting a look at the big picture ahead of me. Conversations with two authors helped to bring home the point of the larger task that is ahead of me. I'm speaking of that giant monster of marketing and promotion.
This weekend, I read the blog of author-friend Peggy Love, who wrote about Social Media's Exploding Frontier. I also had a chat with author Michelle McGriff and the conversation turned to marketing and promotion and social networking. The last time I was heavy into promotion was not that long ago. I spent the years 2004 through 2008 doing heavy promotion for my self-published book, then the traditionally published version of Counting Raindrops, plus the second book, First Fridays. I LOVED doing promotion. Despite my shyness and disdain for public speaking, the actual work behind marketing and promotion is enjoyable...if you just do it and don't think about it. Meaning, take it step by step and don't let it overwhelm you by looking at the big picture and trying to do everything at once.
Yet, that's exactly what I find myself doing, even as I have not completely finished book three. So much has changed since I've stopped heavy promotion, and it hasn't really even been two years. My promotion was book clubs, book events, postcards, business cards, bookmarks, mailings, newsletters, website, and blog. These things seem to still be good promotional tools, however, now we're in the age of social media and I have to admit that I'm lost on some of it. Myspace was already going and I fell right into FB and twitter. But even these are expanding and I'm probably only using 25% of their networking capabilities. Then there are sites and terms that I hear flying around that I don't yet know the ins and outs of and I don't have time at the moment to research and investigate.
So, come September, I see the need to start over. Just like it was in marketing and promoting book one, I'm going to have to sit at the computer and do research and catch up with the latest social networking and media tools. Being an author or any type of entrepreneur, keeping up with the latest marketing tools are a must if you want to have any chance of success or survival. If we didn't know it before, we should know it now by witnessing the election of President Barack Obama and as we can still see it throughout is presidency. We've been able to connect with him and keep up and informed, and even participate on town halls through Facebook and the White House website. We've also been able to track him on Twitter and YouTube. Social Media is not an optional thing for the author, but a must in order to reach a wider audience. It's not instead of the old tools, but in addition to the older tools.
To be an author or any type of business person, one must accept being an eternal student of marketing and promoting. You can't rely on publishers to do it for you. You can't rely on old promotional tools being the end and be all to targeting and reaching a wider audience. And even with all that it is today, social media and promotional tools will no doubt continue to expand. It is a must to keep up and stay on the cusp of new changes and new tools.
Yep. Time for me to take off the graduate student hat and put back on my marketing and promotion hat...and keep it on.