Friday, September 24, 2010

Have You Had it With Marketing?

What?! That shouldn't even be, you say, a question most published authors would say, especially those represented by small, traditional publishing houses, where most if not all marketing efforts are done by the authors themselves.

Well, a few months ago I would have said the same thing. I was in the throes of heavy marketing, doing all I knew to do: book signings, library visits, a heavy online presence including Facebook, Twitter, my blog, guest blogging, book reviews, etc.

It wasn't getting the job done! At least as far as sales were concerned.

After several months of frustrated marketing attempts, I crashed and burned. I'd had it with marketing and promotional work! I took off the months of July and August, and barely registered a presence at my groups during that time and even into September.

But all those emails from the different Yahoo groups kept coming through my inbox, and I had to spend time reading and clearing those. Finally, I got to the point where I quickly scanned them, and deleted most of them without reading them.

I--finally--realized what the problem was: I'd lost my joy with writing and writing associated projects. More to the point, I was burned out.

"Oh, this isn't me," you may say. And I say, "good for you!" But perchance it is you, what's the next step?

Become less obsessed, and take it easy.

That sounds simple, and perhaps wrong. I mean, how are your books going to sell if you don't promote them, right? Right.

But, if you're burned out, like I was, you simply have to take a break, lean back, breathe deeply, and learn to enjoy once again the simple act of writing, of being less intense, and doing what you know to do, and quit stressing about the rest.

I mean, really, once you've done all you know to do, and can reasonably do, why should you obsess about what you can't do, which markets you have or haven't already found, and so forth?

So, what was my prescription? Lighten up. Make it a goal to be less intense. Unless you're superwoman or superman (and we know some of you are, right?), you're going to flounder under the stress and pressure of marketing. Rediscover the joy of writing and writing related activities, and realize the world isn't going to fall in if you aren't stressing about marketing and promoting your book.

21 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Katie,
Good blog. I agree with you, all this obsessing with promotion has been getting me down too, and I don't even know whether it has done me any good.

cheers

margaret

Marie Higgins said...

Katie, I know what you're going through. Been there - done that. I was with several small presses under a different pen name, promoting my butt off, but wasn't getting anywhere. I needed a break, so I took a long awatied break. I couldn't even write. During my break I sat back and took a good long look at my career... or what I wanted from my writing. That's when I decided to switch gears a bit. I picked up one of my previously pubbed stories and 'converted' my characters to Christian. I turned my story into a Christian romance. That was so much fun, I did two more stories. Then I set the first one off to a publisher and not even a month later was offered a contract. I already have two books out with this new publisher and I only signed with them last May. Do you know what the fun part in all of this is? My books are NOT electronic. They are paperback, and they automatically go to book stores! The publisher I'm with isn't that big, but I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's getting closer and closer... And my dreams are finally within my grasp.

Moral of the story? Breaks are good! lol

~Marie~

Donna M. McDine said...

Katie:

Sound advice, which I need to heed. Thank you!

Best wishes,
Donna

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks for giving us permission. :-)

Cheryl said...

Great post, Katie. It's easy to become overwhelmed. I think we all have to realize that we can't be tied to our computers 24/7 and still stay sane.

Perhaps for me, I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel because Little Shepherd, which just came out at the end of August, ties into Christmas; so I have to push to get sales up through December and then I already expect sales to drop off after the season is over.

Keep up the great work, Katie. I'm sure you'll do well.

Cheryl

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathy, this is an excellent post. I'm sure all of us at one time or another have burned out or been close to it.

Taking a break at a point when it all seems overwhelming and pointless is a GOOD idea.

You made me think about taking a month off each summer, or maybe two weeks in December and two weeks in the summer.
Thanks for sharing with us.

lynnmosher said...

Amen, amen, amen! I am s-o-o with you on this. Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one!

Nancy Famolari said...

I'm with you Katie. Marketing is tough and it's easy to get burned out. Good advice!

Beth Reinke said...

YES! Katie, thank you for writing this post. It is so easy to get burned out marketing day in and day out. It is so important to take a break...to rest and to WRITE. I have been letting my writing slide, not doing any for weeks at a time while focusing on marketing. But if we don't write, how else will we have more books to promote?

As hard and time-consuming as marketing is, we are blessed to have books to market. But a break from that blessing - amen to that! :o)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A nice reminder, Katie. A rest now and then refreshes us and renews our enthusiasm for writing and the marketing part of it. Thanks.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I totally hear you. I can always tell when I'm reaching burn out point. nothing about what i"m doing is fun, and I long to sit back and just write.

It's especially hard if we're not seeing results from our efforts.

Great tips!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Katie,

Oh, yes!

Two years ago I made a New Year's resolution. I was not going to allow myself to feel guilty about promotion (or lack of it). I would do what I could given my time available. I would find what modes worked for me and not try to do everything. And I would put my writing first.

I've done moderately well keeping that resolution. Occasionally I get crazy/obsessed/worried, but I remind myself -- one blog post more or less isn't going to change anything. And I repeat my mantra, over and over:

No writing, no readers.

I've seen that the best promotion is a steady stream of new releases. Once you get a reader interested, he or she is hungry for more. If the time you're spending on promotion is eating into your writing time (or sapping your writing energy), then it's time to rethink.

All the best,
Lisabet

Morgan Mandel said...

My attitude changes constantly. Sometimes I'm gun ho, other times I'm disgusted by all the emails in my inbox. I know I'll never catch up with them all.

I keep looking for that elusive secret of how to get my books sold. It's just around the corner, I keep thinking, but it seems to be a far away corner.

Morgan Mandel

Toby Speed said...

Thanks for a good reminder, Katie. I'm getting burned out, and I'm not even trying to promote a book at the moment, just get the "platform" set for the future (all my earlier books are currently out of print). The other aspect that stresses me out is always having the perception -- through Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, -- that everyone else is doing so much, going to so many events, etc. Peer pressure can be hard. But then, you talk to them, and they're getting burned out, too.

(I found your blog through Indie Debut.)

Jo Ramsey said...

Thanks for posting this, Katie. Because I write YA under this name as well as romance under a pen name, I have a double dose of marketing and promo to deal with, and different strategies for each genre. I frequently feel burned out and just kind of let things slide for a while, then come up with a plan to make it easier and start trying again. Burn out happens, but if it takes the joy away from writing, it's time to take a break from what's burning you out.

I also found this through Indie Debut.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

So glad to come across this post. I feel less guilty already. My first YA novel came out Dec09 - and I'm not even going to 'market' it here. I'm back to focusing on writing and reading and it feels good.

Joylene said...

Had difficulty posting a comment yesterday. I just wanted to agree thoroughly with what you said. Marketing has become far less important to me since I published my first novel. Family and friends have regained their rightful place in my priorities. And that's as it should be. There's nothing wrong with ambition and hard work, but they should never come before what's really important. That's why it's called "burn out".

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Katie, I have to say even when I'm not burned out, marketing isn't my "thing." Unfortunately, I know I have to do it, if my books are to sell. Good thing I'm writing because I enjoy it, not because I think I'm going to get rich LOL.

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for the great post and good advice, Katie. I'm on vacation now, and here I am visiting blogs! I did take a week off when at my daughter's and playing with grandkids. It's definitely good not to stress about the marketing.

terri.forehand said...

Great Post. I will post a link from my blog for beginning writers. Such good points.Thanks for sharing.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Katie, I'm a new follower by the way. This was an interesting read since I'm a new author and will be fixing to do the self-marketing circuit in the coming weeks. I will try to keep all your and the others' advice close to my heart as I get sucked into the turbines of promoting my children's story which is due out shortly. The last thing I need is to get burned out over something I'm enjoying doing. I want to stay on top of my game not get trampled by my own hard efforts. Best of luck to each of you!