You took up writing as an art, as a craft, to process all of those things you’ve bottled up internally for so long. Not to be a megaphone or a Tik Tok personality. And for those of you who didn’t grow up on Instagram, the pressure you’re feeling from fellow writers or agents or publishers to (virtually) bare yourself, to influence or be influenced… it just seems like a bridge too far. Is it really so necessary?
In today’s crowded market, yes.
But what if there were a more gentle, less daunting approach to marketing? What if it could be broken down into toeing the water on just one platform and seeing how you like it? Really small habits, day by day?
Here we propose 4 common marketing errors and proposed solutions to help reframe how you tackle marketing:
You try to master every social platform at once, before you even understand which platform is right for the conversation in which you’re trying to engage, or the readers you’re looking to reach. This results in overwhelm quickly. And it can result in very modest follower numbers, which could be a red flag to agents and publishers.
Spend time researching and following the more popular personalities in your space. What posts of theirs are getting most engagement? Is there a model here to reverse engineer? Is there a particular platform that makes sense for you to try first? Give this platform your daily attention—especially as you get started.
Outsource social media—all together. We have tried this too, and while coaching and strategy and even delegating the posts themselves can be a great help, what we call your VCO (voice, content, offering) has to shine and be authentic to you.
If you choose to delegate posting to someone, keep your hands on the wheel. Make sure you’ve offered a trove of content to that person, and given that person a sense of your voice, desired audience, and goals. Regularly engage and show up personally for your audience—even the busiest and most successful authors make time for this!
Lead with weakness in your pitch or your proposal. You’ll hear me discussing this quite a lot in our courses and workshops. If you’re opening a sentence with “while I have a small Twitter following,” you’re thinking about this incorrectly.
Don’t highlight that your social media is poor! Instead, draw attention to the element of your platform—whether an award or academic or business recognition, your network, your focus group, media you’ve received, popular articles you’ve written—that suggests you have an audience that knows you. If you have no platform at all, emphasize the quality of writing or the “big idea.”
Expect the publisher you find will market the book for you. You’ll get to this once you have a book contract. No, no, and no. Publishers are especially drawn to authors with “built-in” audiences. The primary buying audience for the book you launch is the audience you already have.
Build your tribe early. Several authors take years to do so, and for others, with one viral article, media appearance, or annointment by an influencer, it can grow quickly. Think always of the person you’re looking to touch. You never know who will stumble across you on Instagram and lend impact to what you’re hoping to achieve with your book.
Above all, remember: you have a unique message to share, and value those who receive it.
Tribes are built one by one, day by day.
It is time to change your mindset about marketing. Once you’ve researched how others in your area do it, what actually looks fun? Commit to engaging with it every day. Small steps can have big ripple effects.