My guest today is the talented Kara Ashley Dey who must be my long-lost twin. LOL Her post is right on target for me. I hope you'll find it resonates with you, too.
The ‘Bright Side’ of Marketing
Kara Ashley Dey
Authors talk about marketing. A lot. Lately, I’ve noticed most conversations are negative in tone and are accompanied by heavy sighs of understanding and sympathetic grunts. It’s as if marketing is an author’s cross to bear for being noticed in the twenty-first century. Rarely these days do I hear authors actually responding enthusiastically to the task…me included.
(First, a disclaimer here--I am always behind, always running ragged with an unkempt ponytail fastened far too high on my head, and sometimes I’m even wearing yesterday’s sweatshirt with remnants of last night’s TV dinner like a bold orange flower of perseverance on my chest. I fear the doorbell’s ring, the neighbor’s knock, and I draw all the blinds and curtains. I pretend I’ve been abducted by aliens--aliens that want nothing more for me to do than check every new marketing tool and free online advertising site. They mean well, but they are intimidating as hell.)
I have to ask myself: If I am working so hard to be noticed, where are the results? Are they being tabulated somewhere beyond the ether and my understanding, as I run tests like a hamster on its wheel, while these mind-controlling aliens calculate my progress? I certainly haven’t seen any numbers I can fathom.
With so many ‘opportunities’ out there, it’s just too easy to feel overwhelmed and undereducated.
So if I feel this way, why the title for my post? Is this some sort of gimmick, Kara? Hmmm…maybe. Maybe not. For one thing, I do believe that we will all come to that moment when we are running a little too slowly on that neck-breaking treadmill, and need to step off for perspective. We will all face that moment when we must ask ourselves, “What more could I have done?”
At that moment we should ask ourselves, “What are a few things I could have done better?”
These are my answers to myself. Maybe they will make sense for you, too.
Sometimes we start out like parents preparing for Disneyworld, thinking how happy our children will be meeting Mickey, riding the rollercoasters, and dancing with princesses. By sundown our legs ache, our backs are broken, and the circles under our eyes have tripled. If we see Chip or Dale, we swear we’ll punch him in the fat fluffy nose.
Who are we doing our marketing for? Why are we jumping through so many hoops? Dogs love that stuff. But humans?
Don’t do it if you won’t love it, too.
Be reasonable and honest with yourself. Figure out just how big of a blog-hop you will enjoy. People are naturally drawn to the promise of a good time, and are disappointed if promises don’t ring true. I don’t care how good of an actress you are, the Mary Sunshine veneer is not going to last if you are worn out or bored by the fifth blog stop or book signing. Keep your marketing agenda short and sweet.
I used to work for some pretty hoity-toity places. We’d organize extravagant gala events for different businesses. There was one bubbly saleswoman who did an amazing job--fluttering about and getting sale after sale. But she was miserable. Stressed out. In between her client meetings, she was throwing up in the bathroom. At one such event, her veneer slipped and she ‘lost it’ in front of a client that had run her around in circles. The day after, she had a stroke and had to retire. Her co-workers divided up her sales amongst themselves like vultures pecking at a dead cow.
The fact is it is much easier to have a healthy attitude when the stress is low to nil. It is important to keep the experience fresh, the attitude light. Stay in the moment.
So how can you loosen the screws?
Preparedness and Humor:
Note to self:
Please do not take a guest blog unless you can hand in your post within the same week you signed up for it--or even the next day (I can hear Diane laughing right now). Otherwise, all your obligations will bottleneck at some point. Hiding under the bed will not help, but do clean up the dust bunnies while you’re under there.
When I started my site Dey For Love (deyforlove.com) I was impressed by the writers who emailed me their work almost immediately. Seasoned pros. Disciplined and ahead of the game because of this. What a relief it must be to just send out that post and let the site owner do the rest a month later. I decided I want to have that kind of relief. Why?
Less stress. More time to be in the moment and to be authentic.
So how can authors do that? By having a reserve of posts--already prepared. How awesome to take some time, here and there, to write the posts you are enthusiastic about--subjects that you enjoy. Save them in a folder for a rainy day. Have a reserve of four or five, just in case you get sick, or forget about a post date, or a request comes along for just such a post. You’ve already written it! If you are like me, and illness can show up unexpectedly, just the knowledge that you have a nice reserve of posts if you need it will eliminate a legitimate worry (and may help your health in return).
Less stress=small bites. We’ve heard from famous authors like Stephen King who advise a writer should set a daily goal--2,000 words, or 1,000 for the beginning writer. Both goals add up to lots of words by year’s end. Applying this to marketing, I would say no more than one new endeavor a day or three a week. Tops. This includes looking into new sites, setting up a new blog hop, or buying ad space.
New sites come and go. I cannot keep up with all of them on Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Twitter. Some sites even unfollow (boo), but that’s life. One thing I’ve learned from watching the market is that there will always be a new site and a new opportunity the next day. That fantastic site that you missed in the afternoon won’t be the last swan to pass by, Parsifal. I promise. Do your daily quota and then go for a walk. The rest of the day is yours, guilt-free.
Keeping it real:
Preparedness lowers stress and helps to keep us in balance. When we don’t spend so much time ‘in our heads’ and worrying, we will spend more time in the moment, writing, and loving what we are doing. Being in the moment keeps us real, keeps us available to our readers, and keeps us focused on them, giving them the attention they deserve.
I know of one author who complained about how her wrist hurt from all the ‘stupid book signings.’ (I wish!) Needless to say, she sank into obscurity for all her complaining. Sadly, she wasn’t really present for one of the most important marketing moments of her career.
The bright side of marketing is that position which reminds us advertising is just one small part of our lives as authors. Writing is the most important part and some say the very best marketing tool available. So marketing does not need to be a burden or a cross. When we take control of it, and keep it in perspective, marketing can be the icing on the cake.
Blurb for Stealing Sky:
When the powerful conquer weaker worlds, all that's left is stealing sky.
CASSIE BRINTMAN: Duke’s embarrassingly spoiled daughter to some, soiled scandalous socialite to others, Cassie is set on proving all opinions about her wrong. She only has to escape punishment on her Gran’s swamp planet and find a suitable husband on her own. But plots and plans which take advantage of the sweetest of farm folk are destined to go awry, and Cassie finds there are worse prison wardens in space.
SKAI WESTFORD: Returning home from his last tour of duty in the Duke’s Red Flag Squadron, Skai settles back to life with his father and brother on NuTierra Ba. The last thing he wants is feminine drama, but it seems his boss’s granddaughter has no concern for his wants or his family’s wellbeing. When he takes a stand against Cassie's manipulative flirtations with his brother, Skai finds himself far from home and S.O.L.
Captain Alexxus: More than money drives this captain and her crew aboard Heaven’s Hand. None but those closest to her know the secret to her quest–a secret linked to the black eye-patch she rubs--her only tell to the horrors she has seen. She has a secret agenda that could destroy all of them.
Vixen: Captain Alexxus’s first mate, she will follow her beloved captain to the Eternal Tree of Eden or to the depths of hell.
Edmund Greene: The Duke’s Arrow. An assassin with a special interest in chasing down Heaven’s Hand, he’s intent on revenge and revisiting old addictions.
BIO for Kara Ashley Dey:
I'm a writer who likes fantasy, speculative and paranormal fiction with romantic elements. I also enjoy interviewing multi-talented artists and writers to find out what 'makes them tick.' Sharing experiences is a really great way to learn about the world and ourselves. Plus, I'm a firm believer in rejoicing in other people's successes; it's free and it feels great.
Living in Houston with my darling husband has taught me about the blessings of great neighbors and Texas BBQ. My favorite critics are my two plump cats that purr their pleasure at most everything I write.
To keep in touch:
blog: http://karaashleydey.blogspot.com (latest reviews in games, movies and books)
http://deyforlove.com (Romance Reviews and News)
http://karaashleydey.com (Spell Caster interviews of multi-talented artists)
latest book: Stealing Sky: amazon.com/Stealing-Sky-ebook/dp/B00ARQSJLY