As you have been cruising this site for a while, you've no doubt noticed there is a lot of ground to cover in both writing and marketing. (OY!) There isn't much anyone can do to help you with the writing aspect, and only limited potential in the manuscript prep, but one area where you can - and indeed must - find help is in marketing. This is too big a job for one person to handle alone in a timely fashion. For that you need to develop a Network of supporters.
Your network can have any number of participants - quality is far more important than Quantity. What you need to focus on are people who are willing to provide good help and technical advice, will spread the good word about your writing, and who can give you reliable feedback on various issues. Above all, you have to insist on having people you can count on. You don't need a bunch of trolls and 'lookie-loos' clogging up the plumbing.
And these people don't necessarily have to be amateur enthusiasts, in fact many of them can, and should be professionals. People such as editors, tech support at your advertising outlet, established authors, and bloggers are priceless assets to your struggling efforts.
So why should they help you when there are so many deserving cases out there? Partly it's because you have developed a rapport with them; partly because you listen to their input (when so many shrug their suggestions off. That's annoying) And partly because you had the wit to ask for their help in the first place. So don't hesitate to ask! Asking for help is, after all, a form of advertising.
To know what you will need, you first need to understand what drives the market so you can use those forces to drive them to you.
From the chart above, we see that:
Talent which will be especially in demand are Readers, perhaps an Editor or two, and certainly Reviewers. One reliable person who can get you Amazon reviews can make you.
When building your network, you more or less have to offer a Quid Pro Quo, something of value to entice the other guy to buy into your plan. This can take any number of forms: first dibs on new short stories; book reviewing; mutual promotion (a biggie); a shoulder to cry on; or even personal friendship and advice from someone who enjoys their work. Be creative in seeking out such deals, with three caviats:
One) avoid 'over promising' or you will find yourself spending all your time/opportunities/options on your 'deals'.
Two) be selective in who you recruit and insist they deliver. If they prove a disappointment, don't be afraid to drop them. Remember: 'Quality, not Quantity'.
Three) keep a solid track of the 'deals' you do make, and follow up on them religiously. There is no easier way for a network to collapse than from inattention. You don't want to develop a reputation for big talk/no action.
As for using these assets to drive the market, notice the trends:
As you can see, some popular media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon Suggestions, are effectively worthless. Don't bother with them. Some things you can readily control, such as your Cover, the Rear Cover Blurb, and providing sample chapters of upcoming works, and will produce good results. And some things, notably Reviews, your Blog, and your attendance at cons, will make a steady contribution provided you put in the effort.
The things which give the best results also happen to be the things you have the most control over, so use them often; use them well. These are especially susceptable to personal interaction - networking - and you should pursue them relentlessly.
Building your network allows you to extend your reach far beyond what you can do alone. It is a major tool in your 'Guerilla Marketing' efforts. It gives you friends who can testify to the quality of your work. It gives you avenues for informal promotion. It also allows you to keep an ear to the market and industry, all of which are essential to remaining competitive.
Copyright And Copy Wrong
Your Web Site
Contracts And Other Snares
Who Do You Trust?
Crunching The Numbers
Guerillas In Our Midst - Part 1: Conventions
Guerillas In Our Midst - Part 2: YouTube
Guerillas In Our Midst - Part 3: Networking
Guerillas In Our Midst - Part 4: Advertising
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