Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Plan - Writing, Career, Marketing, Everything

I was asked the other day what I do to promote. Or if I promote at all. On thinking about it, I realize that's not at all an easy question to answer.

It wouldn't be accurate to say that I don't promote. But I also can't give a list the way most indie writers seem to at the drop of a hat. They usually talk about social media and tagging and review copies and more social media.

Such lists almost never involve things like, oh, reading 100-year-old copies of The Strand.

But if I were to try to make a list my my "promotion" tasks, it would have to include reading old magazines. Just this past week I came across this illustration in a copy of The Strand from 1915. Look familiar?

Did I seek out, and download, and read that copy of The Strand as a conscious and discrete task toward promotion? Was I intentionally looking for a banner head for my blog? No. I had no intention of changing the template for my blog. But I came across a framing device like the one above in a different magazine, and then this spiffy illustration, and that gave me the idea for the new header.

Here's the thing: I was reading those magazines because of who I am.

"Who I am" is my brand.

And that makes it marketing. It's wholistic, it's long term, it's big arc. And it's the only way to go if your books don't fit with an existing genre well.

So let's step back an ask the same question I asked just a few lines up: Did I seek out and download and read that copy of The Strand as a conscious and discrete task toward promotion?

Um... maybe I guess so.

If my marketing plan is about brand and content and identity, then diving head first into the stuff that influences me is what that's all about. Everything related to my writing career is marketing.

The fact is I do have a plan... or maybe let's say a "vision" of my career for the next couple of years -- including marketing.

So this week I'm going to lay it out for you, including those little things like tweeting and advertising, and the big things like blogging and writing and art.

But so as not to bore the long-time readers, I'm going give the newbies a chance to catch up on things which I have already written about. Here are some posts which may explain where I'm coming from:

Physics of Water - Why marketing is better when you're ready, and useless when you're not.

Three Part Series on Publishing in the Age of Google: Search Engines and Overeager Writers, How to Stop Worrying And Love the Algorithm, and How Readers Find Books These Days.

An analysis of my not particularly great success, what I did to earn it, and how I need to use a different approach to the business end.

My thinking on covers and art in Amateur Illustration as Brand.

On reading all that, you may get the idea that I think of the best marketing as a more passive and organic thing. It starts with what I write, and who I am as a writer.

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the question "Who am I?"

See you in the funny papers.

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