Thursday, February 3, 2011

Does Marketing Kill Creativity?

As every author knows, it's not enough to write a fantastic novel with great characters. The truth is you could have written the next great novel, but if the readers don't know it's out there, then it doesn't matter what you wrote.  That's a fact and probably one that authors think about as much as they think about their next book.

Marketing your newest release takes a great deal of effort especially if you are an indie author and this is your first book. It's not enough to upload the book to Amazon and Barnes & Noble because your book will be listed along with the other hundreds of thousands other books they sell. That's where tags come into play.  Tags you ask?  Yes, tags are the labels you assign your book during the uploading process, i.e. thriller, science fiction, fantasy, assassin.  You want to list the tags that best describe your book so when readers are searching for a book in a particular genre, your book will be listed.

Next comes reviews for your books.  You want to get your book into the hands of as many reviewers as you can that handle your particular genre.  You're probably thinking, where do I start to even find these mythical creatures called reviewers?  There is a thread on of people who offer reviews.  Click here: Reviewer thread  This is just a partial list.  There are many bloggers who have review sites as well.  Once reviews start showing up for your book, it helps readers figure out if your book is something they want to spend money on and read.  

While you're trying to get your book reviewed, you may want to join a few forums so readers and other authors can get to know you better., Nook forums, Amazon forums, Bestsellerbound forums are a few.  As you can see, there are lots of places to check out and read, but be careful with your time.  These places are full of fun and engaging people and threads and you can easily find yourself wondering how you just spent the past 3 hours on a particular board.  

While you're trying to get book reviews and getting known on the boards, you'll also want to take advantage of the blogging sites that offer author interviews.  These are another great way to get exposure for your book.  I've done a number of author interviews myself as well as host many more here on Two Ends of the Pen.  Kindle Author and are two that come to mind.

Next comes the question of buying advertising for your book on different sites.  You should use your best judgment when it comes to buying advertising and only buy a sponsorship on one site at a time.  That way you can judge whether or not a particular sponsorship ended up bringing you in any sales.  There are a number of sites that offer sponsorships/advertising including Kindle Nation Daily, Kindle Author, Red Adept, Frugal eReader and here.  Each site has its own pricing structure as well as what the sponsorship actually includes.  

Also, don't under-estimate the power of social media.  If you're not already on Facebook, sign up and set up an author page or a book page.  Create an account at twitter and start connecting with others.  You might want to start a blog of your own or create a website.  

While you're trying to do all of the above, do you have anything left over to write your next book?  That's the question I wonder about.  My own experience has been that my writing suffers when I'm doing too much marketing, but it's a catch-22.  If you don't market your book(s) enough people won't know who you are and if you spend too much time marketing, you won't get as much writing done.  

So, how do you balance marketing and writing?



  1. Great post Debra. It is time consuming, but they are two different hats, and writers will write anyways. My eBook, The Greek Seaman, is up for free right now on Smashwords until Saturday 12th February if you want to grab yourself a copy. Don't forget to tell all your friends. Smashwords links are posted up on my blog today. They also have Kindle (.mobi)

  2. Thanks Jacqueline for stopping by. You're absolutely right about one thing - writers will always write!

  3. I think it's just part of doing business. All jobs that are jobs and not just hobbies have this sort of aspect to them. I am a teacher and I love teaching, but I don't love playground duty. Nonetheless, it is part of the job, and when it's my turn, I do it. Sometimes I will have a prep and will have work planned for it, and then someone will be away and I will have to do the playground job---and then my work is interfered with. Such is life. It's part of the job.

  4. Yes, indeed. If you treat your writing like a job, then you need to learn to budget your time for everything. I totally agree with you.

    Good luck with playground duty! It's been a long time since my kids were that young!

  5. Excellent post. I think I'm a bit spoiled because I am an author and an online book publicist, so I am forced to balance my writing and marketing all the time.

    My first book came out at the end of August--two months early--so it was a good idea I had some type of marketing plan in place when that happened, as it was a busy time with my family too.

    I coordinated a 2 1/2 month virtual book tour for my book to start in October (since the book is a seasonal title) and was coordinating VBTs for other authors at the same time. Let's just say, not a lot of writing got done, but I still managed to participate in Picture Book Idea Month in November and came up with 30 new picture book ideas to work on this year.

    I held a book signing at my church in November and was interviewed by our local weekly paper in December. I also blogged almost every day from the time my book released until mid-December. Then I took a short break and went on another VBT in January, just to keep my name out there; even though it's a Christmas book, I don't want people to forget about it.

    I took January off from coordinating tours, so I could do some writing. That allowed me to revise a first chapter book idea a publisher expressed interest in and it's almost ready to submit.

    It's not the best system, but it works for me.

    Thanks for the great post.


  6. Cheryl,

    You make me tired just reading your post. I forgot to mention virtual book tours in my post. They are becoming very popular and an excellent way to keep your book in the spotlight. I've hosted a number of blog book tours myself and done one too. It's a lot of work coordinating everything.

    Good luck with your new book. Hope the publishers says "YES"

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Marketing takes time. It's a different kind of skill and focus than writing so, at least for me, it doesn't drain from that creative well. Time is the issue. There's only so much time to do so many things.

  8. This is a very good question, and one I have been asking myself since December when I started an author's blog! Mine began simply as a way to give my website an update feed, but the more I've written on it, the more I've made connections, and I have to say, enjoyed doing it.

    First the first time, a novel of mine is being published in the US this year, and it seems to me that any time I can put in to making my name a little less unknown while not being too pushy about it, is time well spent.

    Meanwhile there is the thorny question of that new book on the slate and when exactly I'm going to start some serious writing...

  9. Terry, oh that thing called Time!! Yes, I think we could and use more of that.

    Deborah, congratulations on your book and starting a new blog. Blogging is a great way to connect with people.

  10. Thanks Debra. I'm hoping so too. I think it helps that I pitched it to her at a conference and she wanted to know more. Fingers crossed.

    Deborah, that is a challenge with blogging. See, I really love it, so it's not hard for me to use that time to connect with others, write multiple blog posts, and spend my writing time blogging instead. That's one of the reasons I write up weekly to-do lists. I have to stay focused.


  11. With the production schedule I have planned for this year, everything from writing to marketing is organized like a military battle plan.

    I want to do four books this year. February, April, August, November. Promotional efforts will be carried out for 30 days following the release of a new book. After that, effort must be focused on the next release.

    Thirty days may not be enough, but all the data I'm seeing from other indie authors indicates that they don't reach high sales from one single blockbuster title, but by listing many titles over time. I think promotion is fun, and I would like to do more than 30 days, but writing must come first.

  12. Brian,

    Are these full length books? That is a very ambitious schedule and I applaud your energy. It takes to get the buzz going for a particular book, but it helps when you publish more titles. The more titles you have, the more you pop in in searches.

    Best of luck!