Writing – love it!
Drawing – love it!
Drawing it all together and marketing it…hmmmmm…the jury’s out…
Here I share my wrestles, as much as a form as therapy, as to encourage others that may be in a similar place!
Living the cliché
I think I may be now living the author’s cliché – challenged by the prospect of marketing my work.
Creating stories, illustrating books, designing beautiful layouts now that’s fun, that’s safe and ultimately that’s anonymous. I could do that for the rest of my life and on many levels why not? (Well there is the irritation of money and the need to make a living!!) But more fundamentally, I am driven by the realisation that any art form only truly becomes of benefit when we share it with others, and I guess that’s what marketing enables.
Talk to a friend…
So within this marketing thing I’m telling others about what I’ve been doing and planning to do. How hard can that be? Why then did I stare at a blank “Compose new email” screen for the best part of half an hour? That’s not writer’s block, that’s FEAR! But fear of what? Fear of being laughed at, fear of rejection, fear of failure – so paralysing. When I finally started writing the email, something came. Something not very good! But it was a start and I was off. Slowly, but surely my first real marketing piece came together and I began talking…
I was talking to a friend…Yes this was helpful, a really helpful way of framing it. A new thought emerged for me, “marketing is just talking to a friend, and then sending the same message to lots and lots of other friends.” As I began the revisions of my first draft, those initially forced sentences were tweaked to reflect talking to my friend. I was finding a fit for the more chatty and informal style that I enjoy, even within this email, and the looming “marketing” word was losing its power as something only grown up “experts” and serious-types do! I could have a go at it too, and even begin to enjoy it! So who says we have to dispense with our imaginary friends when we start school?!!
A weight lifted. A smile flowed through my body and I sat up purposefully in my seat and redrafted again. Helpful thoughts began to chip in – rememberings from the many books and online resources I have been reading on marketing. (By the way, for me the best book has definitely been Joanna Penn’s brilliant How to Market a Book. She has so many great podcasts too – a great one on marketing here.) I was ensuring I added images of myself and my Rhymers characters to the email, putting in the most important links to my work and including my full contact details. Something professional, yet friendly was emerging on the screen in front of me. My views on marketing were shifting – this was becoming another form of creative expression – and I was definitely enjoying it! 🙂
Push The Button
And then the piece was done…or was it?
Read through again.
Go and make a cup of tea.
Phone a friend.
Read through again, again, again.
Was I running from something, trying every trick in the writer’s book? Oh yes!
Avoiding the final, and most crucial part. Well done you’ve produced a lovely marketing email, but you’re not actually going to send it to the 200+ people that you’ve worked so hard building up in your mailing list are you?
And I did…
The email has gone…
Responses! Connections. A great email conversation with my cousin who I’ve not spoken to for ages! WOW! This is so worth it. Forget that I’m a writer and encouraging people I know to buy my books and spread news of my work, I’m reconnecting with friends.
Connecting with friends – that’s how I’m going to view marketing; a chance to reconnect with old friends and a great opportunity to make many new friends.
But of course those doubting voices still linger. It’s just that now they’ve moved to whisper about this piece of writing…Should I really put it out there? Does anyone really care? Should anyone really waste their time reading this anyway?!!!
Well doubts…I’m about to “Push the button” on publishing this post too…
Until next time 🙂