Today is June first, a strategic date that marks the halfway point of the 2014 marketing plan I wrote six months ago. It took me a few minutes to find it under the scattered Post-it notes that clutter my desk. It is dusty. The ambitious plan is hand-written in a spiral bound journal that also contains my passwords for all the Internet sites I frequent. I give it a cursory look—and note those items I’ve actually accomplished. My critical nature zeroes in on the goals not achieved, and I’m annoyed with myself. Rather than toss the plan aside and start from scratch, I decide to give myself a break and review it without judgment. Success is not linear, a borrowed quote I use often. Have I accomplished any of the most important goals I established in a blissful haze of naïve optimism?
My eye hones in on Platform Development, and I review the items I specified under it. My blog, the Culture and Cuisine Club, and my Author Eats feature stares me in the face. Great ideas that are a natural fit for my author platform because they are an authentic representation of my interests. Platform must be authentic. I haven’t spent enough time on my own blog. I make a notation to contact more authors to invite them to post their recipes.
As much as I want to chide myself for the lack of attention to these two worthy projects, there is a reason for it. I decided that my blogging time would be better spent at IU. Pooling my efforts with the group of authors who blog here has placed eyes on my writing that I could not hope to achieve on my own boutique blog. I have watched other contributing authors come and go, and I am honestly confused by this. If the opportunity exists, why not do both?
I am not looking to be controversial. I respect the right sidebar on IU that lists the writers who have over the years contributed to this site. My observation is only my opinion, and I am a businesswoman first and foremost. There is no way for me, at present, to replicate the Alexa ranking of this site. Therefore, I need to find a better balance and redouble my efforts on the niche I have created while continuing to write posts here.
I have had great success on Pinterest. I have approximately 1700 followers, and add five to ten every day. I have not converted my personal account to a business one. Pinterest is struggling to figure out how to monetize their site, and they may begin running ads. I am certain that at a point in the near future they will begin to charge those who reserve Pinterest for their Etsy or Ebay store, or those who list themselves as a business. Frankly, the changes on Pinterest annoy me. I will not follow anyone who has all group boards because they will then appear on my page and push my personal boards down a spot. I have to manually move the boards. There are a few so-called Pinterest experts who want to show you how to create pins that will help you market. I am less interested in this than I am in getting an e-mail address for a good majority of my followers. I want to start up my newsletter again, another project that fell by the wayside. To make that even more effective I need more emails. Check out Jim Devitt’s post on newsletters here.
Which brings me back to platform. I would like to set up a vacuum and suck all the contacts from the myriad of social media sites I belong to back to my blog. Why? A book I read recently pointed out the example of MySpace. Facebook is now the dominant force, and all the efforts people put into MySpace had to be repeated on Facebook. This is the danger of spending too much time developing someone else’s platform. You don’t own it. If it fails or is sold you have lost years of work. You have to hedge your bets and use a platform like Facebook but always remember to build your own blog and platform when you can.
There were lots of items on my marketing plan that I accomplished. I applied, presented, and have been accepted into a tightly vetted author program at the Hillsborough County Library. I launched a new murder mystery with a targeted, professional news release, complimented by a creative use of E-vite and all my other social media channels. Check out K.S. Brooks’ post on press releases. I advertised for the first time and sold more books. I have attended a couple of Meet-ups with other writers. This has been a bit tricky. There is a lot of selling going on, it seems, and I am hoping to share what I know in exchange for what another writer knows. For free.
The marketing plan is now tweaked and I’m ready to take on the second half of the year. I need to get my book in front of some local people who will care about a murder mystery situated in the town they live in. I need to convince the two local Indie Book stores to take a chance on my novel, and not simply fill their shelves with traditionally published authors. Doesn’t it make sense that indie bookstores should carry indie books? I need to get on the schedule at the library. A booked event is something I can advertise. I need media attention to keep momentum going. I need to do all this and more.
Most importantly, I need to finish the two projects that are with beta readers. The writing comes easy to me. My head has always been full of stories and releasing them into the world to people who want to read them is a privilege. The books are, without question, the cornerstone of an author’s platform. Producing the highest quality book I can is where it all starts.
Have you tweaked your marketing plan recently? Please share any pearls of wisdom you may have. Good luck.