(Below is a loose transcript of what I talk about in the video – for those of you who prefer reading to watching.)
One of the most rampant problems with creators – in comics, prose publishing and even filmmaking – is the reliance on what I like to cally “prayer marketing.” The best way to explain what I mean by that phrase is to give you is to steal a Tweet my buddy Dwight MacPherson sent me today. Here’s what Dwight said in terms of his marketing plans:
“I’m hoping that if I generate enough quality work, readers will seek me out and find me.”
Now, before anyone jumps up and yells at me for picking on Dwight, I want to say I’m a huge fan of his work – I’ve paid money to buy it in the past and will continue to do so. He’s a fantastic writer and, by all accounts, a great editor…and a really nice guy.
With that out of the way, Dwight’s Tweet is pretty naive, especially nowadays. Producing great work is just the foundation for success and, as Stephanie Meyer has proven, it’s not even really all that essential!
With so much product coming out these days – thousands and thousands of prose releases each month because publishing has become so open and easy – there is now a glut of material available for potential readers. And even the most amazing novel ever written is going to have trouble breaking through that glut without a solid marketing plan – something more than hoping for the best. You need to put together a plan of attack for each and every piece you produce and, even more important, you need to market yourself above and beyond that. You need to build a platform for your work to stand on and for your potential audience to find you on and connect with you over.
That’s the key to succeeding in marketing and sales – finding a way to connect with people. A great product and word of mouth will help, but you need to do more than that. Social networking, when done correctly and efficiently, can be an amazing tool to help you do that.
Marketing can be a bit daunting for an author and it’s tough to find the time and energy to do that. Welcome to the world of the small business owner. It’s not a problem unique to authors, comic book creators or filmmakers. Unfortunately, you need to get out there and attract people to your work – there are no sales without an audience!
As an indy creator or self publisher or author, you don’t have the benefits that come with having a larger company available to take care of that work – and, truthfully, most authors signed at Big 6 publishers still wind up doing a lot of their own marketing (yes, even those who have written “quality work”). You need to find the time to do it or you’ll flounder in near obscurity forever. Coming up with a plan in advance is the best way to make sure you aren’t wasting your time online and will make sure you have more time to put back into creating new work. A little forethought and prep beforehand will help you on your road to building a large enough audience to keep doing what you want to do.
A little advance planning will go a long way…down the road, I’ll talk more about some specific tactics you can use in your online marketing to help things along – and I’ve posted a few tips on my site – www.matnastos.net – in the past.
Don’t fall victim to prayer marketing or “if you build it they will come” thinking because that only works with ghosts and ghosts don’t buy books.
-Mat Nastos, Super Genius