Are you like me? You’ve always loved writing. You dove into writing your book with relish, like a kid diving off the dock at summer camp. It’s been a joy, a practice, a discipline and a relatively private exercise.
Marketing and sales are as far from the reclusive sanctuary of the writer, your head may spin, leaving you feeling flummoxed, conflicted, crazed, and overwhelmed. I have certainly felt that way. But I have both my 35 years of psychoanalytic practice and my Buddhist practice to draw on and share with you.
So here are ten ways I have found to undertake book marketing without losing my center. They all relate to:
a) CREATING A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT TO CARRY OUT YOUR PLAN;
b) SETTING REALISTIC FINANCIAL AND TIME PARAMETERS FOR YOUR GOALS; and
c) PRACTICING MINDFULNESS THROUGHOUT.
1) First, reflect deeply on your intention. Did you write this book primarily for your own satisfaction, or did you write it with the intent of seeing it widely read? Unless your answer is the latter, stop worrying about marketing. If you wrote it to be widely read, keep that intention in the forefront of your mind throughout the marketing journey.
2) Second, consider your support system. What resources do you have or can you turn to to help you establish a game plan for marketing your book? Do you have a publisher and or a PR team helping you with your game plan? If you do, make sure the plan makes sense to you and that you are clear about being on board with it.
3) If you do not have a professional support team, what are your own resources? How much time and money are you comfortable with allotting to the project of book promotion? Develop a timeline and a budget that you can live with.
4) Whether you are on your own or have PR support, you will need a good web site; you will also need a strong social media presence. That means in addition to your personal Facebook page, you need a page for your book and you need to attract people to like your page; you need a twitter account to draw more followers. You will also benefit from joining discussions on Linked in groups related to your area of interest, and sharing images and updates on Pinterest. Another great site to create a writer’s presence is Goodreads. And finally, to enhance your web page and your online presence, consider doing what you love best, WRITING—how about writing a blog!?
The entry into social media can be very daunting to those writers of us “of a certain age” and may be the most challenging to your equanimity. More support to follow.
5) Consider taking courses to support you in web design, book marketing and social media. I took a very helpful course at my local community college on book marketing and also found a great weekend course on keeping up with social media for marketing, offered by a “social media guru” through my local chamber of commerce. I also met other people in my community to create a mini support group.
6) In addition, look for online courses that can help you with marketing. Informally joining support groups with others who are on the same path in these contexts can help immensely in maintaining your sanity! For example, I have found Beth Hayden (www.bloggingwithbeth) enormously supportive and helpful in creating a successful blog presence.
8) Make sure you frame it for yourself in a way that is fully syntonic with your personal values and ethos. Many people find themselves very conflicted about “selling” as if they felt they were icky snake oil salesmen at a traveling circus. As a Buddhist practitioner devoted to “Right Livlihood” and “Speaking Only Truth” I had my own initial conflicts about selling my book, PULLING UP STAKES; STEPPING INTO FREEDOM (www.pullingupstakesbook.com). But then I realized that the book itself is an act of mindfulness, it traces a journey of gaining wisdom and insight and learning how to “let go” and live more mindfully. So, because it is about surmounting some of life’s greatest challenges with equanimity, it is an inspiring offering. If your book is a genuine offering that you believe will benefit, illuminate, inspire and or entertain readers, and not some kind of snake oil scam, then you need to keep reminding yourself that you are offing merit not compromising your core values or behaving like a sleaze!
9) Approach your book tour with gusto. “This is going to be an adventure! I’m going to have an opportunity to talk with new people about something I really care about. My book is my baby and I’m privileged to be able to find people interested in hearing about it!”
10) Engage in your daily routine at your computer doing your due diligence on your social media sites as a mindfulness practice! Rather than seeing it as an odious chore, consider it as an opportunity for practicing mindfulness. Pay attention to your posture, sitting comfortably, breathing consciously, communicating openly with your book’s potential audience as a privilege not a task. Remember you are offering something of value, something from your heart and soul, it is an offering.
If you, like me, are a writer, “of a certain age” consider that learning all these new tools is like studying Chinese—it keeps the old brain active and engaged! Ponce de Leon, Here We Come! Practice smiling meditation sitting there at your desk. I do.
Follow Harriet Wrye’s Blog, “Madly, Kindly, Truly” at her book website: www.pullingupstakesbook.com
And “Like” her book’s Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pulling-Up-Stakes-Stepping-Into-Freedom/