Writers are fervent about words, stories, writing. Simply, writers love to write. It why we choose to sit in front of a blank page until it is filled with the ideas our heads hold and our imagination unfurls.
Most writers would agree that writing isn’t a job. It isn’t even a career. It is a passion. So as writers, we sacrifice, work often and hard to feed this love and nurture our dream. Most writers would also agree, however, that for as much as we love our artistry, we have equal disdain for selling it.
The majority of writers want to write, not market. After all we are creatively inclined beings, which often translates to us not being gifted in the art of sales.
Many writers are uncomfortable marketing their books. For some writers, promotion of their fiction becomes an insurmountable feat, which keeps them from precisely what they want—book sales.
Even if growing book sales for monetary reasons isn’t a writer’s priority (although let’s be honest, we all have to eat), no writer can argue that what they do want are readers. Therefore writers must—whether they like to or not—promote their work.
They must advertise, market, and sell. It is the only way to announce their presence in the very loud literary world.
First, though, writers must find their audience. After all, with the exception of very skilled salesmen you can’t sell ice to an Eskimo. You have to find who wants to find you.
It takes only a few keystrokes for Google to spit out a variety and multitude of articles heralding the best way to market fiction and any writer who has done this for more than a day is well versed in how social media works.
Many writers tweet, post, and announce their work consistently and in a wide array of ways. They even tell acquaintances, friends, and family about their book.
BUT—does their audience grow?
Perhaps for some it does and for a few it even grows significantly, but for most it is a slow trudge with little distance covered.
The question is how do you find your audience?
You find your audience by first making a connection. Although many think of “connections” as defined by a relationship with a person that is not the one to which I am referring.
Instead, I mean the connection you make between your work and the reader. Writers cannot truly find their audience until they recognize them. The first step in doing that is delving into your work to discover the themes of your writing that will connect with a reader.
It is comparable to figuring out if your music is rock-n-roll or country. Until you know, you can’t discover the people who enjoy those particular genres. For literature, it can move even beyond the genre to the nuisances of subject matter.
My first book, “Let the Willows Weep” is a story about three generations of women and their—often strained and tenuous—familial relationships with one another. I am currently completing my second book, which is about the fragile and complicated bonds people have with family and how these connections can determine one’s destiny.
Light bulb moment for me—I write about family. The intricacy and complexity of families fascinates me. To me, there is rich and fertile emotional and psychological soil to till when considering how we are shaped by those who raise us, live with us, and either love or don’t love us.
My audience? People with families, right?
Well, sure but it can be pared down even further. The consideration now becomes what kind of families, what kind of themes and with whom do these subjects connect.
I write parenting articles for a website called, “Her View From Home.” It was an organic extension of my fiction writing. I discovered that the readers who enjoyed my articles for this site were also interested in my genre of fiction and the subject matter about which I wrote.
In order to reach even more individuals, I recently was interviewed for a parenting show. It was a great opportunity to discuss one of the major themes in my novels and a natural way to introduce my work to an interested audience.
So here is the piece to your promotional puzzle—find the theme of your fiction and market it to the audience to whom it appeals. It is in this way that you as an artist is not selling but rather making a connection to bring your stories to people who want or need to read them.
It is not only a more palatable way for most artists to sell their work it is just one more way to make the marketing machine work for you!
Write on, friends!
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.