The biggest weak spot for most writers is marketing. Some writers hate all marketing activities, as they feel it’s just precious time taken away from their writing practice, and others are open to marketing but feel overwhelmed by all the advice on different marketing strategies to be found these days.
However, whether you’re a seasoned author or a total newbie who’s in the very beginning stages of building your writer platform, there are three things you can start doing right now that should be the cornerstones of your marketing method as a writer.
As each of these strategies has equal potential to bring you new readers, more sales, and more exposure, all should be given equal time in your schedule:
Build Your Email List
I see so many writers spending a ton of time on social media, with only the vague idea of “social media is something I should be doing” driving them. You need more than a vague idea driving your marketing efforts, and you also need measurable results whenever you can get them. It’s easy to spend hours on social media every week with no tangible outcome.
The best approach to social media for writers is to use it to encourage people to sign up for your email list, and the best way to get someone to sign up for your email list is by offering a free gift. When a person signs up for your email list it’s a sign of trust and an indication they have some level of interest in you and your writing. So, whenever you release a new book or a new story, you’re most likely going to get the greatest number of sales and shares from the people on your email list. For this reason, your email list is a incredibly valuable asset that’s worth the time to cultivate.
Network with Other Writers
This is the one where I see the most writers miss the mark. A lot of writers are introverts, and so we struggle with initiating contact with strangers. Added to this is the fantasy so many writers carry of writing being a solitary art, something to be pursued in “a room of one’s own,” behind closed doors, in quiet solitude. While this is true of the actual writing process, if you ever want to move beyond process and get your work out into the world, you’re going to have to give up the idea of being a lone wolf.
The online world today is a busy, noisy place, and it can be very difficult for one person to be heard above the din. But if you begin to form connections with other writers, you can band together and launch collaborative efforts that have a big impact. You can plan virtual events like group giveaways, Zoom parties, online summits, and help each other land interviews with popular blogs and podcasts. The power of a group is much greater than that of an individual writer, plus it’s fun to make friends who are on your wavelength too.
Produce Consistent (and Quality) Content
Before I dive into this one, I want to say first that “consistent” does NOT mean you have to blog every day or post articles on Medium on a strict schedule. You do not have to be strict, rigid, or unforgiving in order to produce consistent content, you just have to be—somewhat—consistent. So, if you get sick, it’s okay to take a week off, just don’t fall off the face of the online world for six months and all will be okay.
Also, “quality” does not equal “masterpiece” (for all you perfectionist writers reading this). A piece of quality content can be under one thousand words, simple to read and digest, and basic in its premise, and still be “quality” as long as it’s actually helpful or entertaining. So don’t kill yourself trying to write the best article anyone has ever seen, just write something that you think someone out there might enjoy, and post it online in the places where people are likely to be.
The 3 tips outlined above are all simple tips, but they can be so easy to forget or overlook because so many writers overthink things. This isn’t surprising because, as writers, our job is to go deep and think about all the hidden angles that most other people miss. It’s our gift, but when it comes to marketing strategies for our writing, it can sometimes be more of a curse.
The truth is, marketing is not hard. It’s a series of systems you build and then follow consistently over time to yield compound results. Kind of like investing money in a savings account. At first, it seems tedious and it feels like you’re not seeing much change, but over time, your little nest egg grows and you can see clearly that your consistent efforts to add value have taken root and are yielding real results.
It’s the same thing with marketing for writers. Little steps (consistently!) add up to big results over time.
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer and The INFJ Revolution. She is also currently offering a free copy of her book on creative marketing for INFJ and INFP writers to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. SIGN UP HERE to get your free copy of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers.