I mentioned recently that I just discovered this fun feature from Amazon Kindle which allows you see which parts of your book are highlighted most often by readers. It’s great information for a writer, because it allows you to see what people take away, and what types of information they’re looking for.
Most of the highlighted parts involved my book Internet Dating Is Not Like Ordering a Pizza. That made sense since that book is meant to be a guide in helping daters craft an online dating profile that gets results. I wanted it to be almost like a workbook, with plenty of examples on how to write their profile.
But my book 21 Ways to Promote Your Book on Twitter also had several spots that people highlighted. Many people enjoyed the twenty-one tips because they could easily incorporate them into their overall marketing plan.
But one commonly highlighted phrase did surprise me. It was this one:
If you want to be a writer today, you need to balance marketing (which I define as anything related to promoting yourself or your book) and writing.
I think the reason this phrase was popular is because this is the new reality for the writing life that many writers need help embracing. It’s not enough to write, or even to be a great writer. You have to get the word out, and as a result you have to market.
But it’s tough. Many people struggle with finding time to write, and if they’re told they need to market, well that just about throws them for a loop. They think it’s hopeless. My book on promoting on Twitter came from my own experience. I’m right there with you guys. I need to write and work for a living and help support my family, and in order to do that I also have to promote.
Another reason writers dislike having to market themselves is because (like yours truly!) they are dorks. They’re introverts. They’re uncomfortable with the thought of “promotion.” I get that, too.
And if you’re a Christian writer, you might struggle with the concept of promotion as being a sin. Too braggy. Too much about you and not about the work.
I get all the those things. I feel them, too. But as writers, marketing is part of the equation. What’s more, it helps us be successful in a way we couldn’t do before. Social media has blessed us with the ability to reach the right people. Remember, it’s not just about selling to everyone, it’s selling to those people who would most enjoy and get something out of our work.
Balancing marketing with writing is a requirement for writers. Period. It might “feel” weird. It might challenge you. But it’s necessary, and what’s more, it’s good for you. It allows you look at yourself objectively, and helps you to think about your ideal reader rather than just you.