Marketing or Promotion?
marketing: a more comprehensive process of getting a product sold. It involves creating the interest, identifying a target group, setting goals for the product and the campaign, advertising using various media, etc.
promotion: one part of a marketing campaign using various techniques including personal contacts to sell a product.
Writers need that extra step of validation and sales. Today it more important to add the business end to the creative process. So many times writers explain that the work of writing is difficult and lonely. And some get no joy from the final shaping of a publishable article or book.
Add to this, a marketing strategy must be devised and followed aggressively. There is an industry of people who specialize in providing the products and skills needed to put your work on the market. A balance is needed between what you can do well, have the time for and the money left for a profit. Don’t be your own customer.
If you are new to traditional publishing or self-publishing, how do you avoid pitfalls? You learn as much as you can and sort out advice from others. I find it helpful to be personally involved in each step of a project. That way you will know what to expect when you have the money to hire help. I recently went to a lecture billed “How to Write Your Family Story.”
In fact, it was a retiree, a minister, who had taken on publishing as a second career. He was selling taking your story to print. The samples he showed were glossy books with little content. They were extremely expensive. At these prices, they could not be sold outside of a small interest group.
The most telling part of the presentation came when he talked about his writing services “to help you shape your story.” He offered for you to tell him what you wanted to say and he would write it. Also, if you have written your story and collected the supportive materials, he would act as editor. I found spelling and grammatical errors in his slide presentation. Several in the group asked questions before it was clear: his services were in addition to the printing costs!
To be fair, he had the contact with a printer and the books were attractive. He did nothing about research or sales. Would we know enough about the steps from cover to cover before parting with our money?
A. J. Race (The Daily Racewood.wordpress) shares his experiences from working alone to hiring some help in publishing a trilogy. A recent find in blogs is advice by Bill Mayer. His use of Slideshare to promote his books is an innovative use of online tools. His post was reblogged by Joanna Penn, a consultant.