In our digital age, book publishing involves so much more than, well, publishing books. Gone are the days of only a few companies printing and distributing all of the country’s literature. There are so many books and so many publishers now that skillful marketing has become essential. Life-and-death, even, to a company.
That last sentence sounded so serious! Maybe a bit dramatic. I promise this post is going to be fun—hang tight.
Whenever I (Sarah) heard the word “marketing” in the past, pre-Thinklings, I used to groan and think, “Ugh, drudgery. Not a field I’d ever choose to go into.” I’m a writer, and that’s all I ever wanted to be. Give me a laptop computer, a comfy couch, a mug of tea, some dark chocolate, my doggy curled up at my feet, and blissful silence in an empty house that was all mine to write in. Ahhh, that would be the life!
BUT . . . that alluring image is a total pipe dream for the vast majority of writers.
In this day and age, we have to market, market, market if anyone is going to know our books exist and if we want to put food on the table. That, or keep writing as a hobby and work a day job.
Marketing. It always made me think of annoying door-to-door salesmen and unsolicited phone calls. But, fortunately, those awkward, pushy methods are going the way of the dinosaur and being replaced by approaches that are much more palatable to an introvert like me.
In fact, marketing methods have gotten more creative than ever before—not to mention that some of them are downright fun!
Take social media. Before starting Thinklings, I used it (pretty much just Facebook) solely for recreation. I put up interesting posts, pictures, and videos and enjoyed seeing the ones my friends posted. It was an easy way to keep in touch with my college friends scattered around the US. But now I also use Facebook—and have signed up for Twitter and Instagram—for business purposes. The transition wasn’t difficult; and I do have the advantage of being a digital native.
It doesn’t much feel like work, making puns on Twitter every weekday! :D
Aside from tweeting, I put up most Facebook posts for Thinklings. Deborah and Jeannie run our YouTube channel. We’ll be on Goodreads soon, and our Instagram is slowly developing.
Last week, Deborah and I collaborated on some Instagram posts using awesome images from Pixabay that we superimposed quotes on from Bargaining Power. I had a lot of fun searching for pictures to use, and it was good to dabble in a more visually oriented area. I’m a words person, and I’ve never had any skill at drawing or graphic art. (That’s Ali's expertise!) But I can spot an appealing image if not create one.
I’ve also been an avid music-lover for my whole life, so I was excited when I read that creating playlists on Spotify to go along with your books is a great way to drum up more interest in them. You can bet I jumped on that (and so did Deborah) as soon as Thinklings created our Spotify account!
Check out the playlist she made for Bargaining Power here. Hunter’s Moon has one that will be revealed in the coming month when we start promoting the book!
The best part of all this new marketing is that I get to be myself and express myself. I’ve never felt comfortable with the distance that formality brings. I don’t want to talk down or up to anyone—I just want to level with you and for us to have a good time in the process.
My biggest takeaway is that it’s important, in marketing, to be a “digital giver,” as Michael Hyatt says in his book Platform. So I’m trying to figure out what I can contribute and offer—which for now seems to be words (including puns!), music, pictures, links to informative articles, and other random awesomeness I find online.
Any ideas for other fun content I could add to that list?