Marketing Help: Let’s Get Your Crown Shiny (Guest Blog by Michelle Raab Marketing.)
I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m an OG geek girl. Ok. I’m far from
being a girl at this point. I’m a proud middle-aged woman, but I was a geek girl before it was cool, so the way I see things in my imagination is like gaming quests. You can see, then, when I talk to my fellow indie writers and clients about marketing that I may start seeing what they need in terms of a gaming quest. I’m assuming that you don’t game, so I won’t go into any details on gaming mechanics except one. Whenever you create a new character, there’s always a series of quests that your character has to complete to get their basic skills built.
I’ve noticed something when some indie writers are dipping their toes in the marketing pool. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter how many books they have published, so much as how much they’ve marketed. There is an apprehension on marketing themselves and their books. For a long time, I couldn’t figure it out. Because of my psychology background, I felt compelled to figure it out. One, it was a people riddle that needed to be solved. More importantly, there were people who were not completely happy and living their happiest lives… they wanted to get their work out… they wanted to sell their books… but they some invisible force was stopping them. I saw that and said to myself, “quest accepted.”
My first challenge was to find out why. I started writing blog posts and social media posts about how to overcome marketing shyness. It was as much as my trying to help as my putting out a hypothesis and seeing if it was correct. And… it wasn’t. Not completely. Huzzah!!! Wait, you were happy you weren’t right? Yes, I was. Why, you say? Because I collected a data gemstone is why. I found out that for many indie writers that they don’t like being in the spotlight. Okay, I can work with that. From there my series of make your reader the hero of your brand’s story was born.
Because I’m a social scientist, I didn’t stop observing and collecting gemstones. Don’t forget that I was on a quest to find out what was going on. I also started observing that many indie writers have trouble embracing the identity of writer. For many, this is a big hurdle to marketing themselves and their books, even though they really want people to read their books.
Another hurdle is that many indie writers seem to think that no one will think what they have to say is interesting… either their book baby or in their content marketing or both. They doubt the appeal of their own voice.
Another hurdle I’ve seen related to the one I just mentioned is that they feel like they are repeating themselves and are being boring in their marketing, which is somewhat related to the next thing I’m going to mention.
Finally, I have seen indies trying to create so much original content that they burn themselves out and don’t have time to write their fiction. They don’t have a mindfully planned workflow for their marketing.
I’m sure there are other hurdles. I just haven’t observed and story-fied them yet. But when I do, I will add them to my list of gems needed for the Indie Crown Quest.
What’s the Indie Crown Quest, you ask? Well. It’s the acquisition of the
gemstones you need to put into your crown so that you can make your book baby shine. Ok. Let me back up.
Here’s what I’m thinking. I’m imagining that for an indie to be ready to start marketing their book baby that they need their Indie Crown. This Crown will shine and be a beacon for all to see. It will help readers find their next favorite read. So each time you work on each hurdle, you earn a gemstone for your Crown.
Let’s start with the writer identity gemstone. Being a writer is not like a lot of other professions where you get some sort of certificate and are thus dubbed that profession. I got a diploma for my doctorate in psychology, so I am now a psychologist. I never got a diploma for writing, but I am a writer. I had to define that for myself. For many people, they feel like they haven’t earned that title because… well. There are probably a million reasons why. (If you feel this way, I’d love to know why). From my perspective as a social scientist, I’m guessing though that what it will eventually boil down to is that someone (a person) or something (as is a societal expectation or message) told you that you can’t be a writer unless X, Y, or Z happened. My suggestion to start trying to get that Writer Identity gem is to write down what you think you need to do or be to be a “real” writer. Then ask why? And, is that true? That’ll shine a light on those beliefs. You may be surprised that the beliefs will melt away. Now. I’ll have to warn you. This beast is tricky. It will come back again and again, so you may have to shine light on the beliefs more than once. (If it’s related to trauma, then seeking professional help would be the best course). But once you shine a light on that beast your magical gem will emerge and will float up and go into your Crown.
Let’s go to the next hurdle. You have nothing interesting to say. Let me ask you this. What inspired you to write? … … I love that. And. That’s what makes what you have to say interesting. That spark of inspiration. That expression of the human experience. Your inspiration is what your readers will connect with. Write down what inspired you to write, to write this story. Why do you want to write? What kind of journey are you trying to take your reader on? Imagine your reader. They are engrossed in your story. Who are they? What do they like about your story? As the picture of your reader emerges, as you fully imagine who they are, and visualize what they are enjoying about your story, a gem materializes, floats towards your Crown, and fuses into your Crown and shines.
So far we’ve talked about getting two gemstones for your Crown. Let’s go onto the next one. You may feel like you’re repeating yourself. Let’s look at that. This is a big one so we will spend a bit of time on it. Why do you feel like you’re repeating yourself? Are you literally posting the same post over and over again? Are you bored with your own content? Are you concerned your content is boring? These are three very different questions.
Let’s tackle posting the same thing--repeatedly. There are times when that’s actually a good thing. If it’s a high performing post that establishes your brand, then it’s a good idea to do it. There’s a lot of noise on social media, so repeating yourself helps get through the noise. You can also target new hashtags to expand where you are sending the message to. For more on branding, check out this blog post I wrote.
The next thing is getting bored with your own content. There’s a lot that could be going on here. You could be burned out and need a break from marketing. You could be burned out because you need to regroup and create an overall plan. Related to this, you could be going through the motions but not knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. Whatever the reason, if you’re bored, then this is a good signal that you may want to take a step back and evaluate where you are and where you want to go with your marketing. Boredom is often a signal for being lost.
The last thing I mentioned for this gem is a concern about boring content. Maybe you’re bored. Maybe you’re worried others are bored. Either way this is indicating a lack of connection with your content. If it’s you, then you’re not connecting with your content which may mean it’s not authentic. If you’re worried that others are bored, then the concern is that you’re not connecting with others. In that case, who are you trying to connect with? Are you being authentic? Are you actually reaching those you’re trying to reach? When you do connect, what’s different about those posts?
As you start to unravel these questions, you’ll notice that a gemstone will emerge and float to your Crown.
The last thing I mentioned was workflow. If you find yourself spending all of your time creating content and no time being creative, then your workflow is not optimum. Having an efficient workflow takes planning, but it will save you time in the long run. One way to save time is to double up on your content. Let’s say that you write a blog post, you can use quotes from that blog post as captions for your social media. You can also take captions from your social media, piece them together, and create a blog post. You can reuse old posts that did well by tweaking them a bit. Longer posts you can break up into smaller pieces. Smaller posts you can combine into a longer post. The point of your content making is to tell the story of your brand. As long as your content is doing that, then reusing and recycling is ok, especially if you sprinkle in posts that have updates, shout outs, reviews of books/movies in your genre, and other kinds of posts. If 50%-ish of your content is establishing your brand, that’s fine, because until you’re a household name that’s where a lot of your effort should be. And that is your final gemstone.
You’ve collected all of your gemstones. Now what? I’ll let you in on a secret. There’s no magical order in collecting these gemstones. You can do this in any order. I’ll let you in on another secret. There are many upgrades for these gemstones. You’ll find that you’ll revisit these doubts. Why? Because you’re human and you care about your work. It’s a good thing to revisit these gemstones.
Are these the only gemstones in your Crown? Certainly not. So, what do you do then? First, know that you’re not alone. There is someone else out there who has had your challenge. There is a solution. The magic is being brave enough to face it. I know you are brave. I know you have that magic. You’ve got this.
Let’s get your Crown shining!
Michelle Raab has a background in marketing, public relations, and messaging, holds a doctorate in psychology where she tackled the dreaded algorithm for her dissertation and analyzed psychology related data, and is a mommy to the most adorable 4-year-old that ever lived (at least in her most humblest opinion). She is currently working on a dystopian novel and a marketing guidebook for the beginner or the seasoned writer who is utterly confused and deflated and just needs a friend to hold their hand while they work out their marketing plans. Michelle is known for being goofy, kind, and supportive with her friends and clients alike. You can find her on her website michelleraabmarketing.com or michelleraabwrites.com or Instagram @michelleraabmarketing or @michelleraabwrites.