This week is crazy-busy with my benefit book signing Thursday and real life in general, so just a quick Monday Marketing note today. Once again, I’m pointing you over to Tawna Fenske’s blog because, along with another discussion, she wrote about something that got me to thinking.
Her post is about how some writers play the victim when it comes to the querying process, complaining on their own blogs (and other social media) about rejection after rejection and agents who are too stupid to be in the business. Okay, she didn’t exactly say that last part, but implied it because we’ve all seen or heard about writers who do say these exact words. I don’t understand why writers do this because it only hurts themselves. Which brought me to my point here.
Whether we like it or not, our blogs are marketing tools. Let’s go back to one of the basic definitions of marketing: “any contact between the company/product and the public.” This can be Price/Cost, Place/Convenience, Product/Customer Needs and Promotions/Communications. All of these are contact points between the two parties and note that last one, specifically “Communications.” You are the company/product and your blog is a Communications tool that reaches the public…and your potential customers.
Many authors post on their blogs, after their debut book’s release, that their blog will never be used as a marketing tool for their books, that they’ll keep doing what they’re doing and their readers don’t need to worry. But…
Their blogs have always been a marketing tool, whether they realize it or not, whether they like it or not. They have been communicating in a public space, accessible by anyone, including potential agents, editors and readers. In fact, they have built up their readership base with their blog, which is the goal of a marketing tool.
Any marketing piece – from query letter to advertisement – needs to emphasize the positive and downplay or ignore the negative (unless you can address it in a positive way). This includes your blog. Going back to Tawna’s point, you wouldn’t write in your query letter, “114 agents rejected me but they don’t know jack, so I’m sending this to you,” so why would you do it on your blog or in other social media outlets? Agents do check you out if they’re at all interested. And most don’t want to work with a negative, complaining, bitchy writer.
Put yourself and your books in the best light possible, regardless of where you are in the publishing process and what obstacles you’ve had to endure. If you want to talk about rejections and other hard-knocks, do it privately or address it in a positive way. And never forget that your blog is a marketing tool, whether you like it or not.
Your turn: Have you ever seen one of these rants from a writer? What kind of impression did you get of that person? Is it someone you would want to work with? Have I given you a new way to look at your blog? And do you follow Tawna? Because if you don’t, you should. Her posts are highly entertaining and sometimes even make a “point” (heh – if you follow her, you get this).