Marketing Demon

A couple weeks ago, a marketing person who also happens to be a friend, told me I should have a book launch for the new book. My response included the words ‘No thanks’, ‘nope’, ‘no way’, ‘not going to happen’ and every other version of ‘no’ you can think of.

Which of course made me pause and wonder why that huge wall immediately reared up.

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Arthur on the Morningstar route of the Wall

The first thing to pop into my head was the scene I’m sure we’ve all been in. That moment when you walk into the book store looking forward to a relaxing leisurely browse with the reward of something new to read at the end. But instead, parked across the entryway is a starving author sitting behind a folding table, peering up desperately over the a pile of books. Everything screams of selling, of ‘BUY MY BOOK!!!’ and also whispers faintly of desperation.

So you squeeze by the table, nodding politely, immediately swamped with guilt.

I remember one time a man started talking about his book before I was even fully through the door. And it wasn’t even a polite introductory question along the lines of ‘do you like romance?’ which gives you the opening to say ‘no’ and sidle sideways. It was all about how wonderful his book was. I remember muttering something about not reading that genre, and realizing my mistake when he then went off on how his book just happened to cross all genres.

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Rowan starting up

You get my point. That incident was pushy and all it did was make me take his business card so I’d remember in the future whose book not to buy.

I explained that to my friend and told her about the big wall I felt when she said ‘launch’. She said what she had in mind was a get-together with friends to celebrate the accomplishment of finally finishing the book.

Well…okay…maybe…I don’t know…

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Getting there…

She talked about spending an hour or two with friends at the meadows that are a location in the book. Of how we could invite the fire department to do a demonstration on earthquake preparedness. About how the espresso stand at the meadows could do a special drink with the book theme…

And suddenly, without me being fully aware of it, we’re having a party.

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Almost…

Will there be books to sell? I suppose. A few, maybe, in the background. Or maybe I’ll just bring one to show what I managed to accomplish after four years of work. But the main thing is it’s going to be a fun afternoon with good friends and good coffee and music.

No starving authors will be allowed admittance.

And best of all, I can avoid the demon of Marketing, also known as the demon of pushing your book on people.  I know there are ways to sell without being pushy, but I’m just not comfortable with the whole marketing aspect of writing. So instead, I’m going to sit in the meadows, with the lovely view of mountains and waterfalls, and enjoy a day telling stories with friends.

That I can do.

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And done

12 thoughts on “Marketing Demon

  1. I am so guilt-ridden when I pass an author’s table! I’ll buy a book just to relieve the awkward empathy! So I guess it works? But this party sounds like a lot more fun, and how great that your friends want to celebrate you!

  2. Hi. I’m a professor of marketing and a marketing professional for the last 25 years. I have to disagree with you a little bit. You are exactly doing marketing. Those other techniques that made you feel put off about marketing……aren’t really marketing…..or at least aren’t good marketing. As a writer, you are your brand. Your book(s) are a reflection of your brand. Your friend was wise to suggest some sort of launch or event….those are typical book marketing techniques, but the execution of that event is good marketing ONLY if it reflects your brand. I suggest that you consider some of the other marketing techniques that have put you off in the past (unsolicited emails for example) and then, instead of saying that you aren’t going to do that, figure out how you could do it in a way that is consistent with you. Good luck.

    • Thank you for the reminder to look at things a different way. I think marketing can feel like such a weight, and so impossible, and something that won’t make any difference…you know all the negative thoughts that creep in there. But when you look at the sheer volume of books for instance, it becomes daunting to figure out how to float to the top without being pushy and in people’s faces, which is something I’m not comfortable with. The flip side of all that is that you’re right in pointing out the way we think about marketing has to change. For example, this book party coming up – I said I was wondering about food, how to keep stuff cold, etc., and my friend said I should look at what the characters had to eat in this particular book and have that at the get-together. She pointed out the snacks/food then become part of the theme of the book. That sounds simple and obvious, but I’d never given any thought to the ‘marketing’ aspect of food at a book gathering. So obviously I have a large learning curve here, plus having to revise my knee-jerk emotional responses to the words ‘marketing’ and ‘selling’. Which, I have to admit, comes from a nasty inner critic that whispers in my ear! Thanks again for your words, and for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully.

    • But it is the right way to market for me. And I had fun, enjoyed time with friends, and met new people, in a setting that was comfortable and beautiful. So for me, and for that story, it was perfect.

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