says, “I know I need to build my
platform, Jim, so where should I concentrate my marketing efforts?
Blogging? Facebook? Radio interviews? Speaking gigs? Bookstore
signings? Twitter? YouTube? I don’t have time for everything.”
Great question, simple answer:
Concentrate your marketing efforts on whatever you excel at and forget
We all have areas we’re strong
in and those we’re poor at. And since
none of us have unlimited time, we have to invest that time in what
will produce the biggest dividends.
Conventional wisdom says we need
to work on our weaknesses. But
conventional wisdom is wrong.
A number of years ago the
Nebraska School Study Council did a study
on the effectiveness of different teaching methods on increasing
Students were tested for reading
speed before the instruction began and again afterwards.
We’d expect the poor readers to
have a greater increase since there was more room to improve, but
that's not what happened.
The students who were poor to
average readers had a modest increase in speed.
The others? The ones already at
the top of the performance grid went from 300 words per minute to
2,900! An 850% increase.
The lesson is obvious: Rather
than improve our weaknesses a small
percentage, we need to concentrate on improving our strengths
Time is limited. We must invest
How to Apply This to
Make a gut level inventory of
the marketing areas you’re good at.
You’re great on the radio? Wonderful! Find another author who’s good on
air and role play together by making up mock radio interviews.
You love to blog and
consistently get comments from readers saying
how much they like your posts? Fantastic. Find another author who blogs
and critique each other’s sites and posts.
Your sense of humor and
entertaining comments have made you a star
on Facebook? Tremendous. Concentrate your time here. Expand your Friend
list into areas beyond just other authors and family members. Create a
killer “Like” page.
Book signings make your heart
pound with passion? You somehow get
everyone in the store to buy your book when you’re there? Become even
better at it. I did a book signing a month ago at a Borders where
another author signed at the same time. She’s sold 10,000 copies of her
self-published book—in the Seattle area alone. I was astounded. I told
her that was more than many authors sell through traditional publishing
houses with distribution all across the country. Bookstore signings are
a strength for this author. It’s where she should spend her time. It’s
what she should get better at.
feel like your video camera is an
extension of your hand? You love acting in and producing videos? Nice.
Then become best friends with YouTube.
Not Sure What You’re
Do you have friends who will
risk being honest with you? Ask them where your marketing strengths
lie. And ask them what you’re not
good at. (Sorry, you’re not allowed to ask your mom. She’ll say you’re
good at everything—no she’s not lying, but her evaluation skills aren’t
the most accurate when it comes to you.)
Compile a list of your favorite
marketing methods and send them to
your friends. Ask them to rank them. Send the list to your agent. Send
it to your publishing house. And listen to your heart. What do you love
to do? Desire reveals divine design.
Then concentrate on your top
three strengths. And become
exceptional in those areas. Take a class, read books on the subject,
and develop critique partners for those areas of concentration just
like you do for your writing.
Your book sales will thank you
If you have a marketing question
you’d like me to tackle, e-mail me
at firstname.lastname@example.org. But don’t make the question too long. I’m a slow
reader and I’m not working very hard to get faster.