Must Improve Marketing Skills
I suck at marketing. I really need to change that.
I love to write, but if I didn’t care if anyone ever read it, I’d write in a journal, or have a blog with privacy settings. But the reality is that I love to share my thoughts, interests, and dreams with others. That’s why I have multiple blogs, and books, so that others can read what I write. But when it comes down to it, I find it so very hard to promote my own writing. I will mention that I blog, or that I’m a writer, that I have some books in print, and then just…kind of…poop out.
“Yeah, so, I wrote a book and published it. If you are into dystopian fiction you might be interested in it.” That is the sad extent of my marketing abilities.
The other day we went to a Show-Me Cannabis event in Westport. An officer from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) was going to speak there, and I had hopes of running into Dan Viets, a lawyer from Columbia who interviewed me last March over my book The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale and who I keep missing meeting in person. He wasn’t there, unfortunately, but I did meet some others in the organization and gave my book to one of them. Eapen Thampy was his name and he told me that he would read the book and post a review – which always makes me happy to hear. Reviews sell books, plain and simple.
A week or so later, he posted a link to my book on one of the Facebook sites he admins for and sent me a message directing me to the Americans for Forfeiture Reform website and suggesting I write a piece on asset forfeiture for it. I looked at the website and liked it, but my brain immediately kicked into non-marketing mode and that little voice that stops me from getting things done said “What do I really know about asset forfeiture anyway?” So I did nothing.
A week went by and then I saw an email and link to the website again from Eapen, with an excerpt of my book quoted on the blog.
This line in particular stands out to me (and yes, I wrote it)…”We can point to the individuals on the police force, or the judge who accepts bribes, or the county commissioner, or a host of others as being the “bad apples” – or we can recognize that the system of asset forfeiture is endemically flawed.”
So I read the blog post and the excerpt and just sit there thinking, “Well, crap, I WROTE that. I guess I had something to say about asset forfeiture after all.”
It’s embarrassing how often opportunity sits there, staring me in the face, and I do nothing.
I am reminded yet again of Richard Branson’s (founder of Virgin Airlines) quote…
So…yeah…I need to work on that whole marketing thing.
The other word that keeps bouncing about in my head this morning (besides marketing) is inevitability. I go round and round the issue of do I try my hand at submitting my books to a publisher, or get an agent, or just keep self-publishing. Every time I decide I’m going to go the full publishing route, I run into someone who has and they usually end up telling me, “Don’t do it, it’s not worth the trouble.”
Lately it was Jacqueline Druga, who has written over 100 books in the past ten years. She writes an average of 10-12 books per year. Insane, right? Nevertheless, she makes enough doing so to be the sole means of support for her family.
We emailed back and forth and while I have no plans to write 10-12 books per year anytime soon, I truly, deeply believe that I too can be successful at earning a living writing and self-publishing books. There is just a certain feeling of inevitability to it. That eventually, I’ll write enough, and learn enough marketing tricks that it will be like a boulder rolling downhill, collecting dirt and plants along the way. Eventually I will build a readership that will follow what I am writing and the word will get out.
Who knows? I might be seriously deluding myself. But then again, it could actually happen.
Now back to learning better marketing skills…