Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Author's Journal: Why I HATE Marketing - Entry 1

Image snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce

My hatred of marketing has nothing to do with the fact that I've been in the business of marketing for the past 20 plus (cough, cough) years. Nope. Not it. And honestly, you know I don't really hate it, but it does seem to be the popular reaction of many authors I've talked to when it comes to all the work they need to do to sell their books, or create a dynamic web presence these days.

Yes, the marketing of authors and their books has changed dramatically over the past decade (or less) for a number of reasons I will mention in more detail in future  journal entries, but today we are just getting our feet wet.

The first steps in developing a marketing strategy are easier than you may think, and whether you're published or not (I'm not - yet:), you must be willing to put your hatred (fear, excuses, whatever) aside and step into the fray. You want to compete? You want to sell books? You've got to have a plan.

BRANDING - Who am I and why do you want to be my friend? 

Author marketing includes branding, and building awareness of your brand through traditional and non-traditional communication vehicles. Anytime I walk into a meeting and hear this gobblely-goop, I cringe - but it ain't wrong.

It means getting to know the strengths of your brand and promoting those strengths. For authors, I think this part is fun, and here's a way to get started with branding--conduct an interview with the author-you. There are a bunch of these character questionnaires on the web or in craft books, but go here for one I've used.  If you've already got a strong brand identity - this is way to dig deeper and maybe unearth some additional ideas for blogging, twitter posts, new features on your website, etc.

Part of the reason I wanted to start this journal and make it a regular feature on my blog is that I'm working on a new website. Why? Because I want to develop my brand, although as of yet, I'm not published (I know I keep mentioning that), but I don't see being unpublished as a reason not to establish an Internet presence. I don't however recommend starting a website if you haven't finished writing one book (or written at least a few hundred thousand words of several books:). You need a frame of reference, an understanding of who the author-you is before you start developing your initial brand identity.

Next jot down some keywords. Think about what you write (the genre, sub-genres, or whatever) and the themes you like to play with in your stories. Those keywords are important bits of information you will find useful when you start laying out your website (and yes, we will be talking websites very soon). Here are a few of my keywords and phrases:

  • Urban Fantasy
  • YA Paranormal
  • Multicultural Contemporary Romance
  • The Science of Romance
  • Mine, Yours and Ours
  • Edgy, Sexy, Laughter, Revenge
  • Light and Dark, Death and Life

You can also find a bit more about websites in my blog post today at Waterworld Mermaids. Check it out!

In the meantime, if you have questions about marketing, or want to discuss anything I've written here, please comment below.


  1. I love talking marketing. Brainstorming makes me happy. :)

  2. it's funny, we go through the same struggle as writers as we do on the brink of adulthood: "who am I? who are my people? who's like me? what obsesses me?" We can call it branding, or we can call it a rite of passage.




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