It’s that time of year when authors are gently letting their audience know that they have publications available for holiday reading and gifts, and a time when I get swamped with emails from my How to Write Poetry followers who have written, polished and published a first book and are wondering how to successfully increase their online and real life presence for sales and related entrepreneurial gigs.
This is the quick answer I just emailed a How to Write Poetry reader focussing on building and maintaining win-win relationships.
To me, making your book and related business more publicly accessible is best accomplished with a mindset of reciprocity, authenticity and service, knowing your audience is out there and that it’s your job to find them and mutually support each other. In my case, being an author is a lifelong marathon, so I prioritize integrity in all interactions. It’s not just about pushing one book at any cost to interpersonal connections, it’s about mutually respectful short and long term relationships. I value ethics as a way of being, so my approach to my writing coaching business and book sales is in alignment with who I am.
My method is what would be called a soft sell. I join a large set of mainstream networks like Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and hold collaborative events as much as possible. In terms of business like writing coaching and poetry workshops that emerge indirectly from having published books, I’ve learned over the years the importance of charging properly, helping others where possible, billing on time, not getting swindled, protecting boundaries and finding your tribe. Trust your gut feelings and seek out reciprocity. The success of the how lies as much in attitude as in strategy. I have some specific advice in this podcast and post: https://zenofpoetry.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/marketing-tips-for-that-moment-when-your-poetry-collection-is-published/
My biggest struggle though isn’t with how to go bigger on gigging, but setting limits and protecting writing time, which I talk about in this post: https://zenofpoetry.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/the-inner-wisdom-of-balance/
A favourite quote of mine with regard to healthy work/life balance and boundaries is, “Do what you love and outsource the rest.”
In a nutshell, marketing a book is like operating any other small firm or arts organization. We connect person by person, business card by business card (have a beautiful one from Moo or somewhere that’s too nice to be thrown away), fair exchange by fair exchange and then bring our communities together through free social networking sites. I love the expression, “Go where the love is,” in terms of offering services that feed us and finding people who appreciate us.
The answer is balance, mutual respect and working with your personality and natural inclinations.