Modern technology -- especially as it applies to marketing as a writer -- can be overwhelming. Do we self-publish, indie-publish, traditionally publish? Do we Tweet or Blog or Facebook or LinkedIn or...? What IS Google+? (For those who don't know, it is Google's answer to Facebook.) If you missed my last post on living in a world at war, you may want to go back and read it.
I've watched writers get caught up in marketing. Do we need trailers? Is my fan base on Twitter large enough to attract an agent? Should I...___? The list is endless.
So today I'm going to offer the first step in returning to sanity in marketing for a writer.
Remember: the best marketing is good writing. If your technology, your social web presence is interfering with your writing, stop.
I advocate websites for writers. I think that a writer without a web presence is missing a critical part of the puzzle. However, social marketing requires a plan or else it will overwhelm you and you'll drown int he rip-tide of changing technology.
Step 1: unplug.
You read that right. I'm giving you permission to turn off the computer, step away from the machines, stop Tweeting, stop...everything. In my family, I often suggest to my kids that they take a break from "flashing lights" -- anything electronic: computer, TV, video games, etc. I'd go so far as to suggest completely un-plugging. Get away from radio. Turn your phone off. I realize that this may be traumatic to some of you, so you can keep it in your pocket. Off.
Take a walk, even if the weather is bad where you are. (Don't get heat stroke or frostbite. In that case, go to a mall.) Go to a cafe. Sit where there are real people having real conversations. You are a writer. You're allowed to eavesdrop.
For some of you, an hour may be enough...it may be all you can take.
For others, you may be able to do longer spells. If you're struggling with Internet marketing over-whelm and your writing is suffering, try for a week or more.
I can hear the gasps of horror. Really? A week without the Internet? How will I know the news? Y'know -- if anything really stunning happens, I'm sure someone will tell you.
Because there's a second step.
Step 2: plug into real people.
Have lunch with a friend. Take your child out for a walk. Go visit your parents. Go to the store and engage the fish monger in a conversation. Whatever you need to do to connect with real people.
Oh, I know. Facebook and Twitter are for connecting. You can find a spouse on-line today. But humor me. Try it. There is something very healing to that one-on-one connection with a real human.
That eavesdropped dialogue may become your next book.
Step 3: don't forget to write.
You can use a computer, but keep the Internet off. Or, try holding pen and paper. If you've had writer's block, the change of input method or venue may unleash your creativity. Write as much as possible during this time.
Step 4: come up with clear writing goals.
"Complete a ___ [character sketch, short story, novel, etc.] by _____."
Step 5: come up with clear marketing goals.
"Increase my reach to _____ people."[insert a number -- this is your tribe size]
Identify my core market and learn to market to them. Who reads what you write? Men? Women? Adults? Young adults? Kids? Be more specific. Be VERY specific.
People will survive if you don't answer your phone or respond to emails. If you tell them that you were on an electronic fast, they may think you're odd...or they may respect you. They'll notice the way your eyes clear over time, they'll probably admire your focus.
What you stand to gain is this: the energy and ability to reach those goals. One step at a time.