All this week I have been thinking about one thing and one thing only.
Why am I so fucking bad at advertising my books?
This is tough for me. First, I hate not being good at something, because my mind won’t let me rest until I figure it out. Second, this is important to me, because I have to find a way to make this work. Third, obviously, it can be done, because people have done it already, so I should be able to figure this out.
You may have seen earlier this week I posted a Facebook test on my site about the Right and Left Brain. One side is about artsy pretty things, and the other handles cold hard math and analytics. Most people have a stronger leaning to one side or the other, but everyone has a percentage of each. This is how you wind up with an accountant that paints landscapes, and musicians who enjoy crossword puzzles. The dominant side is usually where you make your living and the other is where you escape to recharge your batteries.
Mine was even 50/50 split.
This wasn’t news to me. For those interested I am also an INTJ personality, just a little added spice to the fuckedupedness that is me. While it wasn’t news, understanding the science of the struggle that is me doesn’t make any easier to manage. There is a constant war of the desire for whimsy and shiny against the voice of reason and calculation. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
When you have written your masterpiece you want to draw readers in to reading it. To do that you have to figure out how to reach your audience, and appeal to them in a way that makes them want to give you their time and probably some of their hard earned buckage.
Here’s the thing: All our lives we have been told not to brag, not to show off and not to get a big head about the things we can do. That is good advice, in general, but an ingrained problem when it comes time to do your own marketing, because it can feel like you are doing ALL of those things when you are creating advertisements for your work.
Now, I have some experience in marketing. I have done it for a chiropractic clinic, I have done it for telecom, and I have helped to polish countless resumes for friends, because words are where my heart is. However, when I try to use the words that people want to see when they are being asked to invest in my story, I feel like I am bragging, showing off, and making a big deal, which goes against all the generally good advice about being humble.
Still, no one is going to buy something that is labeled “pretty good” or “you’ll like it”.
This is why you can hire someone else to do it, because we are conditioned to listen and respond to compliments from others, and as a result hold others opinions in greater esteem than we do our own. EVEN IF WE ARE PAYING THEM TO SAY IT.
It seems perfectly reasonable to let someone who may have never even read my story lavish praise and buzz words all over it to encourage people to read my books. It seems reasonable because it feels like PRAISE, and that is always a good high, and we like it because we all secretly think that the books we have slaved and bled over are incredible and wonderful and entertaining and insightful and amazing!
BUT TO SAY THAT IS WRONG. Isn’t it?
No, it’s not. Look, not everyone is going to like your book, or my book, or every book, and that is all right. People enjoy different things, and I love that we all have a variety to choose from. This is the golden age of writing, the freedom we have to publish independently puts us in a time like no other since our ancestors picked up the first stick and scribbled in the dirt. We who crave to create and read the written word are in the GOLDEN AGE, right now. Take a deep breath and feel the wordy goodness!
That said, Indie Authors have to get around all the things we have been told and accept that we have the horn of our success in our hands, and we have to blow it ourselves! It’s an obligation of what we are choosing to do here. My God, it is so hard though. And then after you resolve that issue, you have to figure out what words your audience will respond to, and figure out how to get those words to them.
Every single step of that is achieved through the quicksand of the mind. But it can be done, because it has been done.
This is important when writing cover blurbs as well. My first one was for Dreams, and I knew it sucked, and I see everyday that it sucks a little more than it did yesterday. I didn’t want to give too much of the story away, and I didn’t want to make it sound like it was amazing and wonderful because that means I am blowing my own horn, but the thing is, if I hired someone to do it they would have used all those words and I would have loved it!
This is another mindset that has to be changed, a roadblock on the road of potential success. Did I mention that it was hard?
You can do it yourself, but do it BIG! Do it with all the words of your heart and soul. Do it like you were doing it for someone else and be generous in your praise and concise in your words. Do it again and again until you start to feel comfortable with it, and then do it some more. Then test it out on an audience. When I wrote the Dreams cover I was afraid to ask for help and locked up in a cage of just me. I feel more confident now, both in how to write it and how to ask for help and feedback in writing it, but I didn’t start here.
You can hire someone to do it. There are people on Fiverr who will do it for $5. You tell them what your story is about and they promise to deliver a quality cover blurb to you. If this is the best and only way to get a description that has readers stepping on each other to buy your book then consider it money well spent!
There are also multiple marketing webinars, and templates that can guide you in summaries, advertising and marketing. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to try different things. I’ve said before there is no Magic Solution to marketing, and that what works for one will not for another, or may stop working after working like gangbusters. It’s all a constant changing landscape that you can traverse if you believe in what you are doing and are determined to succeed.
Don’t let yourself feel intimidated and don’t let fear freeze you. You are amazing and wonderful and brave to have written your story and it has an audience waiting to read it and love it. Don’t give up until you find them!
I’m always here if you have questions.
Happy Blurbing and Marketing!