As with any trade one has to keep up with what moves in one’s own field. Authors do that as well. But this market moves incredibly fast and has split up into section with a huge portion of the focus being on self publishing. Another huge part is on marketing for self publishers. Even though I get published through a publishing house, I still assist in marketing. I mean, why wouldn’t I be interested in giving my books the best opportunities out there and thus put some effort into it other than just writing it?
Thoughts about marketing is actually what partly prompted this post. The other half was an author who is inspired by photos when coming up with characters, environment, etc.
When marketing on social media there are so many information flowing around out there that most people have formed a filter in their brain. If we didn’t have it, we simply wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Example: I have a twitter account, and I have come to follow 945 people in the approximate month I’ve had it (only 278 followers, so obviously I’m not doing this social media marketing thing correctly). But, to make a point here, I set a timer just to see how many new tweets come up in an hour.
303 tweets in the hour from 10 AM to 11 AM in Copenhagen, Denmark
And you have to remember, that I am in Europe, and the majority of the people I follow are in the States and Canada, and a few from Australia. I also follow some from Europe of course.
303 Tweets an hour which around the world is:
4 to 5 AM New York, USA
1 to 2 AM Los Angeles, USA
5 to 6 PM Perth, Australia
7 to 8 PM Brisbane, Australia
How could anyone keep up with that? So, the trick is to tweed often, they say. Some even gets a bot to do it.
I don’t even know what the so-called experts have figured to be the amount of time customers have to see your brand to remember it, but I do know that some of the bad-asses say that it doesn’t matter whether the brand is remembered for something good or bad, because that detail is usually NOT picked up by the brain–just the brand.
As an author, my name is my brand. And I’ve watched how other authors market their books. Three in particular seemed to spam Facebook groups and sometimes evenPMs daily with cover images of their books up to three months before the announcement was that in two weeks it would be for sale. Until then it was just making sure people knew of it. After that it was daily announcements “You should read!”, “Did you miss?” or “Now is your chance!”
It certainly worked! When I see their profile picture or the cover of the books, I know them like the back of my hand. But I’ll never buy those books because I felt irritated at having the damn things shoved in my face twenty-three times a day pr. social media I followed said authors on. I unfollowed/unfriended two of them, but one author also had something relevant to say in between spamming, so I lived with it.
But this is obviously marketing done wrong. I know that, because I, as a reader, got turned off by the marketing. I don’t care what the gurus says, there has to be layers of annoying that just doesn’t pass the end users “fucked off” filter.
Marketing became scary for me after seeing this, because this is certainly not how I want my potential readers to think about me and my books.
So, what makes me stop when going through this unfathomable amount of information on the level of intriguing information? Which authors makes me go hmm?
Something visual, shiny, and colorful that isn’t repeated to function as a constant echo or déjà-vu in the vastness of the internet.
And this brings us to the author who has visuals to aid her in making characters and so on. She also has a Pinterest account, so I went there to have a look-see. I was amazed at how much she had and my brain went into instantaneous geek-mode—i.e. she caught my attention and sparked my interest. She made me want to interact.
Now, personally I have never used visuals to aid in my writing, creating of characters, worlds etc. A reader once asked me what actor I saw as this or that character, and I was like…can’t think of one who looks like him. I wish I was good at drawing, because then I could just draw them and show people and thus get people’s attention in a positive way.
I can learn, sure, but it takes forever, and I have the characters of six future novels screaming at me from three different genres. I have to prioritize, and at the moment it looks like this:
Write new stuff
Edit the new stuff
Write more new stuff
Of course there are also the real world things that interrupt like family, dogs, the car breaking down, the roof needing to be retiled, and people expecting me to be social at weekends.
Learning to use visuals is probably a necessity for me as I have nothing to use on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, and what have we to get my potential readers’ attention. I have even set myself a challenge as an author. I have to find visuals and create characters and a world from that. So far I know it’ll be a M/M sci fi playing with the hollow earth theory and Channing Tatum is working on inspiring me on one of the characters.
I will be using Pinterest to make this attempt. Also to have something visual to throw in the marketing direction once (if) the project reaches that state.
In the end, marketing continues to be a difficult area and a very fine line between “look at me, look at me!” and the introvert author who just doesn’t thrive in the spotlight and prefers to create in the safety and silence of their chosen seclusion. In a world where information moves so fast, the latter has a problem, and I am in that end of the scale.
If you want to see how the visually inspired book challenge I gave myself is coming or not coming along, I have made a Pinterest pinboard for it. I have begun using visuals for my current book series Chronicles of an Earned, but thus far not let myself inspire regarding characters and the likes.