I was giving into resistance the other day on Twitter and saw that Belinda Griffin of Smart Authors Lab wrote a post on her key takeaways from our time in Nashville with Tim Grahl. I really clicked with Belinda while we were there because we were both freezing in the AC, so every lunch break we went for a walk before sitting down (or not) to eat. I’d been wanting to write up something similar but was at a loss about how to go about putting that experience into a single or even a series of posts. So I read Belinda’s. Her takeaways were completely different from mine. Which is possibly one of the best things about the whole trip. So here are my key takeaways from my time with Tim and I’ve linked to Belinda’s below. Please read both posts and let it all soak in.
1. Marketing is Making Long-Lasting Connections
With People and Being Relentlessly Helpful
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. How can you be helpful? Review books for your readers and make recommendations, offer up a white paper that solves a problem directly related to your niche, create blog posts that offer good information.
2. Your Book is Worth Marketing
Fear is normal. You’re about to put something you poured your heart into the world for other humans to consume. And they aren’t all going to like it. Being afraid of those nasty reviews and people in your family who just don’t connect with the story is normal. But you need to get passed it if you want to effectively market your book.
3. Social Media is Not the Best or Even a Good Way to Sell Books
I know what you heard but the numbers don’t lie. Unless you have 100k followers social media is not the place to spend your time trying to make a sale. It is good, however, for making connections with other influencers.
4. Have an Experimental Mindset
Not every tactic is going to work for you and your book. You need to think about how you can take the same principle someone else had success with and make it your own. Mold it to your books and your readers. Keep trying new things and you need to keep track of what works and doesn’t. Because after a while you will inevitably circle back to something you’ve already tried. Maybe you’ve learned how to make it work better and are ready to try again or maybe you know that tactic just isn’t for you.
5. Choose to Choose
There’s a lot in this life we don’t have control over. But we can choose what we prioritize and why. Instead of thinking, ‘I don’t have time for writing or marketing’ stop and be honest. The truth is, you are prioritizing writing or marketing. And that might be the best choice for you
6. Marketing is a Strategy and a System, Not Something to do When You Have Time
Yeah, this is kind of like Belinda’s #6 but I wanted to expand on it a bit. Marketing isn’t ads. It isn’t promos. It isn’t Facebook parties. These are all pieces, but if you don’t have a strategy in place its all a waste of time and money. Marketing IS making long last connections with people and being relentlessly helpful. How do you do that and write a book? You get your platform set up (see our free checklist to make sure you cover all the bases) and then you do two forms of outreach a week. Outreach is the best way to grow fast. Via guest blogs, podcast interviews, book club meetings whatever you can do to move people from not knowing you exist to knowing you exist.
7. Plan Ruthlessly, Deliver with Heart
Emotions are tricky little beasts. Keeping them in line can be tough when you’re putting something so important to you into the world. Knowing when to check your feelings at the door and when to use them is really important. When you’re planning your marketing you need to be thinking about how you can help people but you also need to help yourself. Looking for win/win situations with influencers will help you more than simply asking an influencer something. You need to remember there is a person on the other end of your email or post. Make sure you treat them the way you’d like to be treated.
8. Personally ask 100 people to be on your email list
Growing your following is tough. Asking 100 people to be on your list is an important step in learning how to communicate what you want with people who won’t hate you for it. I bet you have at least 100 people on social media. Go send private messages, ask your mother practice, pay attention to how people react and make changes based on those reactions. This is incredibly helpful.
9. And my last one is straight from Belinda’s post, Give Your List the Opportunity to Support You
There’s so much more but these were the things that I think are really important for you to know and remember.
Do you have any questions? What would you ask Tim if you could? I might just have the answer (we asked a lot of questions and I’m an excellent note taker!)
Marissa Frosch is a Certified Book Launch Coach and author of fiction under the name Cameron J Quinn.
She formed Raven’s Quill Publishing in March 2019 after leaving Amphibian Press where she worked for five years to make a go of it on her own.
Marissa is also working on her Story Grid Editor’s Certification to round out her author helping skill set.
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Catherine Lunardon says
Such a well-written post with lots of great advice, some of which could help with doing any hard, worthwhile work. This is the kind of post one needs to read again and again, during those moments when you feel a little overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Catherine! It’s comments like this that keep me going!