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Social Cam Video Post: Prayer Marketing – Sweet, Jesus, Are People Still Doing This?


(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

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Mat Nastos
TV, Film, comic book, fantasy & steampunk writer/director, known best for bad horror movies about giant scorpions, killer pigs & dinosaurs in the sewers. You can find his work on Smashwords or at his Amazon Author Page.

4 Responses

  1. So, yes, discoverability is the new word of the day. An author friend and I are working hard on increasing visibility via a co-op-type model. Quid pro quo. So far so good.

    • Mat Nastos says:

      The thing is to do what you can to stand out from the mass of stuff currently competing for the attention (and money) of consumers. Whether or not you “have time” to market yourself, it still has to be done and is still the difference between success and failure (or lesser success). Every business has to do it and it is no different for authors or comic book creators.

      The same rules apply.

      If it’s done correctly and efficiently, marketing and social networking (building an author platform) will be much more effective in garnering sales than just releasing your work into the wild and “hoping for the best.”

  2. Bruce Brown says:

    When I began writing comics, I learned early on not to rely on anyone else to promote my work. I was fortunate enough to mentor with a more experienced creator who was quite savy in marketing comics.
    I learned from him about hitting every social networking avenue possible to spread the word of my work. I also learned about mass calling of shops and doing just about anything and everything to get the word, of my work, out there in the indie comics world. I took that lesson and advanced on that even more so.
    I began to, not only, look for coverage of my work in the “comics world”, but I also went outside of it as well. I began contacting newspapers, magazines, bloggers, librarians and pretty much anyone under the sun, no matter how much it was a long shot, I tried it! I even marketed my work outside of this country to anyone who would look at my work.
    For me, it paid off in getting my work into some very large venues. Ironically, I am probably better known outside the comics world than within it. But, I must completely agree with Matt that having a plan to get your work out there and aggressively pursuing it is your only way to go.
    Here is where I wholeheartedly agree with Matt even more so! Besides marketing your work, you are marketing yourself! You are marketing yourself for your potential audience to latch on to you!
    So, my advice in doing that, would be to never close a door that certain members of your hopeful target audience might close for you! For example, I would not publicly come out and make a comment about another creator in the industry. If someone was a big fan of Stephanie Meyer’s work and heard Matt insinuate that her work is talentless, they may close that door on Matt’s work.
    Also, if you have to gauge a comment with “with before anyone jumps on me and say I am picking on…” it is probably not the best way to illustrate your point. Let alone, I can’t fathom what another creator would feel about that.
    Again, why risk losing members of that target audience that you are working extremely hard to get.
    Make no mistake, I applaud Matt in sharing his advice to comic creators or writers to be, with mapping out a strategy to market their work for no one will do it for you. My advice, as a indie creator , to future comic creators or writers would be that while you are marketing yourself, be careful to not only, how you do it, but also what you say about others along the way of your marketing journey.

    • Mat Nastos says:

      First up – it’s MAT!! Not having people pay attention to something as simple as a name is always a frustration – even more so when they are attempting to comment on a piece I’ve written. It’s tough to give credence to an observation that starts off flawed. 😉

      The reason I threw in my remark about “before anyone jumps…” is because a lot of creators tend to respond before actually reading or listening to what someone is saying, especially in a case like this where the whole idea of self-marketing is almost a hated entity. There was absolutely nothing “bad” or even “down” in my comments or article about Dwight’s work (which I’m a big fan of and have been supporting publicly and privately for years now), but knowing comic creators as I do I knew there’d be a chance that someone would take the comments the wrong way. It’s just the nature of the industry. The focus of my article wasn’t meant to be on a specific creator, and it wasn’t. It was about a school of thought that is very much prevalent in comic creators and prose authors alike.

      In regards to Stephanie Meyer, your comments there border on paranoid, my friend. No one in that camp cares what people think about her work – she’s worth insane amounts of cash. She has as little to worry from me as I do from her. If you knew anything about me you’d know that I am a professional marketer by trade (masters from UCLA, clients like Sony, Disney, Canon, etc, as well as an affiliate marketer who sends out mid-seven figures in sales to my partners each year), so I know a thing or two about what can or should be done, and what is a waste of time worrying about. 🙂

      The thing to remember is that making a blanket statement is bad, but making a statement and giving the specifics behind the reasoning should never be feared. Meyer isn’t anywhere near the best technical writer around (and I’m sure she’d agree). However, she writes MARKETABLE material and had an amazing MARKETING campaign behind her work. That’s the strength of “Twilight,” not technical writing ability, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

      I do appreciate your comments, tho. It is always good to get other opinions and POVs, even if they aren’t the same as your own or are a little skewed.


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