By Harriet Hodgson
Some authors are natural sales people. I’m not. In fact, just saying the word marketing sends shivers down my spine. My generation was taught be quiet, not to brag, and book marketing seems like bragging. I shared this thought with my publisher, and her reply was swift. “You’re not bragging,” she declared firmly. “You’re stating facts.”
Publishers’ marketing budgets seem to be shrinking. Most publishers, whether they are traditional, on demand, independent, or hybrid, ask authors to help with marketing. It’s expected. If you are totally self-published, marketing can be a huge hurdle, one too high to vault. What does book marketing involve? How should you go about it?
Despite the shivers, I vowed to give marketing my intense, ongoing attention. I read marketing articles, books, and observed other authors in action. Several months into 2017 I started keeping a marketing log. After the year ended I began a new log. When I read the entries in my old log, the pluses of log-keeping became evident. A book marketing log can also help you.
Daily tracking is the most obvious benefit. As the months passed, my log became a marketing motivator. When I noticed the entries were becoming shorter, I increased my efforts, and set a goal of one marketing step per day. I’ve been a freelance writer for 38 years, so I have a strong author platform. However, if you’re new to writing, a log may help you begin or beef up an author platform.
Log entries may reveal gaps that need to be filled. For example, my entries showed daily posts on Twitter and Facebook, but few on other social media. I remedied this quickly. A book marketing log may also serve as proof of your efforts. Best of all, the log helps you build name recognition—or branding. Entries very, yet some themes emerge:
· Names to remember (publishing company owner, content editor, copy editor, etc.)
· Contact information for these people
· Running total of Twitter followers
· Twitter readers in different countries
· Growing number of readers
· Plans you have set in motion
· The actions you took on these plans
· Follow-up comments on these plans
· Comments you’ve posted on Internet articles
· Submissions for book awards
· Marketing expenses
Like a diary, a log is a daily record, but that’s where the similarity ends. Book marketing log entries are short, words and phrases, not sentences of paragraphs. Long entries are better suited for journaling. Write just enough so you understand your entry months later. Although you may list some fees, don’t turn your log into a budget or tax document. These should be separate files.
A January entry in my 2018 log says I had a one-hour conference with my publisher. Later entries show I followed her marketing tips. Another January entry says I appeared on a radio talk show. A February entry says I was asked to write an article for a prestigious medical clinic. Later entries say I ordered two book trailers and was featured in a magazine.
Two April entries made me smile. One says I arranged a book launch at the local senior center for my 36th book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids! The other says I have more than 4,000 Twitter followers, an accomplishment for a marketing klutz like me. Reaching this number has taken months, yet I reached it, and the number is shooting up.
I’m not a marketing klutz anymore. Thanks in part to my log, I’m smarter, faster, and more confident about book marketing. Keeping a log may do the same for you and I hope you’ll consider the idea.
Yes, entries take time, but only a couple of minutes. Keeping a book marketing log can boost self-esteem and become a way of cheering for yourself. So cheer away and start your log today!
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. In addition to writing for print media, she writes for three websites. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows and dozens of television stations, including CNN. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. Hodgson lives in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband John. Visit www.harriethodgson.com for more information about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author. Social Media: https://twitter.com/healthmn1 https://www.facebook.com/public/Harriet-Hodgson https://amazon.com/Family-Caregivers-Guide-Harriet-Hodgson/
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