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To market, to market

Amy Leibowitz marketing marketing is weird social media writing

All around, there are lively discussions about finding the right market, targeted advertising and promotion, and the best ways to go about all of that.

I'll admit, I'm not a career writer, so I feel somewhat less frantic than if I were trying to live off my earnings. Even so, there's some obligation to put yourself out there if you've published something, whether that's traditional, self, or hybrid. After all, what good is it for a wee baby book to grow up and go out in the world if no one sees it?

One of the biggest challenges is finding the right readers. It might seem easy enough at first glance. Social media is everywhere, with multiple outlets. It's tough to gain new readers that way, though. Sure, you might get your friends interested in your books. But what if you write in a genre they're not into? Another disadvantage is that your friends and family might start backing away slowly whenever you're nearby, lest you try to tell them (again) about your new and awesome book.

Social media groups are useful, but those can have mixed results too. Author groups are lovely for support, and sometimes you'll find readers. After all, writers do often like to read as well. But trying to market to an author-only crowd is like trying to sell milk to a dairy farmer. It can quickly become unprofitable for everyone involved.

There are paid marketing tools, like book tours and promotional ads. They're fine if you're selling enough to make it worth it, but it becomes daunting if you're also hiring editing, formatting, and book cover services. You'd need to sell a lot of books to make it worth your while.

All of that is moot if you don't have any idea who you're writing for or why. There's no real agreement on this. Some people are career writers who know their audience and can cater to their tastes. Others prefer to walk their own path and hope their work catches on with at least a few people. There are folks who do a mix of the two. For some traditionally published authors, the decision may be out of their hands, depending on the publisher.

In any case, if you find yourself spinning your wheels, it may be that you need a shift in perspective, not a different marketing tool. Realistically, very few authors ever become household names. Those who do usually get there through a perfect storm. It's not all about great content or hard work or skilled marketing or even sheer luck. It's a combination of multiple factors. Recognizing that can help us decide what's going to be best for us.

What's your best advice for how to get your work into the right hands?


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