Marketing myself as a writer is a lesson I’ve been gradually learning over the past few moths. Usually I’d grit my teeth about this. Many writers absolutely hate marketing. It feels uncreative, its exhausting, it feels like bragging, etc.
But it teaches us how to talk to others about our writing. That’s essentially what marketing is–a way to clearly communicate what we’re about to the greater world.
The time the you spend slaving over your query letter, or your sixteen (and counting) revisions that you’ve made to your first chapter, or those hours of research you’ve put in to finding an agent who’s a good fit, or those tweets and blog posts you’ve been diligently writing…etc. This time is time put toward marketing. These are your ways of communicating yourself and your mission to the world.
You can be as creative as you want. When you start a blog, you don’t have to be an expert in everything you write about. Your readers are interested in the perspective that you bring to the topic.
When you tweet, all your tweets don’t have to be, “Here’s a wise writing quote for you…” You can tweet about something that inspired you or gave you a story idea. We’re in a world were being personal about marketing is often well-received.
But on the other hand, there are marketing aspects that must be professional. Learning how to pitch your novel. That’s tough stuff. Try doing it in one sentence.
Try pitching your 60,000 or 100,000 word novel in just 300 words. That’s what the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards competition requires. It’s excellent practice for concision.
Here’s a real-life story. I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards in 2010. My 300 word pitch for Moonlight and Oranges, a contemporary retelling of the Cupid and Psyche Greek myth, was accepted as intriguing by the reviewers, but my first chapter didn’t make the cut to the next round.
This year, I entered the 2011 version of the same contest, with my manuscript much revised and edited since the last year. I have passed both the pitch and the first chapter rounds and I am moving into the quarter finals. This is very exciting.
Click here to go read my entry There is a link to download the Kindle App (If you don’t have a Kindle) and columns on the left with categories where you can download my excerpt. I am in the Young Adult Category and the title of the piece is Moonlight and Oranges by Elise Stephens.
I would not have been able to go into this contest with a fighting chance if I hadn’t studied query letters and pitches for hours. Nor would I have entered it if I wasn’t determined to submit my work regardless of whether or not it was perfectly polished. These things are all marketing.
Especially important is a willingness to put yourself out there regardless of complete perfection. It’s what keeps you in the game and increases your chances of being noticed.
To learn more about the ABNA contest, go to www.amazon.com/abna. This contest is free to enter with a submission period that closes early February.
What kind of marketing have you done for yourself? How do you feel about self-promotion? When is it too much to you? How has marketing benefited your writing (even if it’s just an improvement you’ve seen in yourself)?