Marketing A Book is Like Parenting A Child
Marketing a Book is Like Parenting a Child By Marci Brockmann I’ve heard people say that writing and publishing a book is like having a baby. Having done both, I agree with them. But let’s take this a step further. If writing and publishing a book is like having a baby, then marketing a book is like parenting and raising that baby. When you parent a child, you pay attention to its needs, find creative ways to stimulate her growth and development, introduce her to new people and new environments, find novel ways to stimulate her interest. Isn’t that the same as marketing your book? Granted, I am new to this, having just published my first books, but as I develop marketing plans for Permission to Land: Searching for Love, Home & Belonging and the companion guided journal Permission to Land: Personal Transformation Through Writing, and try to find creative ways to introduce them to the world, it seems very similar to me. Being a devoted mother, I have always sought to creatively meet the needs of my children. As a high school English teacher, I use all my intellectual and creative tools to craft lessons and learning strategies for my students. As an author, I’m using all those same tools and strategies – the same skillset – to creatively market my book and bring my message to as many people as possible. For me, this starts with focusing on the reasons I wrote the book in the first place. Sure, I had had this lifelong desire to write a book and leave my mark on the literary world. Beyond that, though, I was compelled to tell my story because of the personal catharsis I sought, but also because as I related parts of my story to others over the years, as anecdotal narratives, I found that they had the power to connect me with others through a shared experience or emotion, and they had the power to shine some light and compassion on other people’s pain. When I think about how to market my book, I’m thinking less about the units sold and more about hearts and souls soothed, the pain eased, the trauma processed, and the humanity connected. For me, marketing is more about my book being of benefit to others. I want my child to make the world a better place. That’s how I came up with the idea to write my second book which is a companion to my first. I wanted to maximize the benefit, compassion, and understanding that my book shares with the world, and my second book – a guided, self-paced writing journal – is the way to do it. By offering a mini version as a writable PDF, I have my free enticement to give to book buyers, to give away to anyone interested, and open to it. When they see how this mini version can help them, then the full journal is there in writable PDF or in the paperback form to help them on their journeys. Sure, I’m trying to build a business (raise my children), but it’s a business founded on compassion, healing, and being of benefit to others (raising children who bring compassion to the world).
As parents, wouldn’t we all be happy if our children grew up to be like that? Compassionate, connected, and beneficial. So where to begin? You wrote a book. Think back to your reasons for writing it. Think about the many themes and connections between disparate concepts you made and list them. Now, either on paper or in your imagination, connect those concepts and themes to the types of people who would be interested in them – these are your readers – your audience. It’s vital to writing your book and to marketing. If you’ve already done this, go dig it out of your files. These are the people with whom you would like your child to have a connection or relationship. Now you have your list of types of readers and their interests. For my book babies, it’s anyone interested in family, parenting, addiction, mental illness/ mental health, therapy, job/ career trajectories, relationships, divorce, dating as a single parent, personal growth, and friendships… I could go on. This is a list of the reasons you think your child and those people would connect and enjoy each other’s company. This way of thinking applies to fiction writers as well as nonfiction. But this connection will only happen if you can find these special people and introduce them to your child. So, where you are most likely to find, meet, and connect with those people? Break it down for each interest. Think about all the ways and reasons these particular people gather together. There are all sorts of clubs and groups out there with a very wide variety of purposes and themes. Find book clubs, artist groups, Meet-Up groups. You can look for specialized organizations that cater to people with your book’s (child’s) interests. You can look toward the school systems in your area and beyond, established businesses with thematic/ demographic connections and suggest collaborations, and even reach out to other published authors, celebrities, and influencers with similar interests and passions. Approach independent bookstores (who often host writing groups and clubs) - schedule readings, signings, and writing workshops. Do your research and be as creative as you can. I think as parents, sometimes we would do things for our kids that we wouldn’t do for ourselves, so put your book’s (child’s) interests first and be bold. Ask. Ask again. Reach out on social media and the Internet. When businesses start opening up again, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and people are meeting face to face again, go introduce yourself and your book (child) and show them how beneficial your mutual relationship can be.
I’ve reached out to semi-famous celebrities and authors whom I mentioned in my book and have received permission to send them a copy of my book (and their postal address) so that I can thank them for their impact on my life, show them my appreciation, and make a connection. Maybe they will be inclined to recommend my book to others, write an endorsement, or agree to a recorded interview. It’s too early to tell, but the point is, the answer is always going to be ‘no’ if you don’t ask. It’s like asking to get your child onto a sports team, scouting group, or introducing your child to a mentor who has the expertise to offer. Go back to your reasons for writing your book and use them to creatively market your book baby and bring your message to as many people as possible so she will grow up with compassion, foster connections, be of benefit to others, and make the world a better place.
Marci Brockmann has journaled for over forty years and swears it keeps her sane. She is a columnist for Elephant Journal and the reception her writing received told her there was a book begging to be written: this book. She earned her B.A. from SUNY New Paltz, an M.A. from LIU/Post and an M.S. from the University of Phoenix, and she has been a high school English teacher for more than twenty years. She lives in Long Island, NY, with her husband, their kids, frisky cats, and many fishes. marcibrockmann.com
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