Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yes, I'm an author: Reasons why I faced my fear of marketing

When my first novel was published, I didn't go about announcing it to everyone I knew. I wasn't even ready to admit that I was writing again, much less tell people to buy my book. And yet I was hoping they would do it anyway, without my having to ask. 

So what I'm trying to say is, I suck at marketing. It doesn't come naturally to me. When I finish a story my instinct is to let it loose in a crowded area and then hide back in my room, as if by doing that I could say my work was done.

But now I regularly do the thing I thought I would never have to: sell my books to strangers. And here's why I eventually came around to doing the marketing thing:

1. It's polite to say thank you.
For me to be able to do that, readers would have to be able to reach me. So I chose to include my email address in my "about the author" blurb. I began receiving the loveliest emails from readers, and it felt right to reply and say thank you. 

2. Might as well be the best source of info about me.
I set up this blog the year I got published, and it's got basic information about my career as an author so far -- a bio, some thoughts about writing and publishing, and a portfolio of my work. It has made answering questions from readers easier, because it's amazing the kind of conclusions people jump to when they want to know something and have no reliable source.

3. I'm a reader too.
This I figured out eventually: I shouldn't shy away from readers, because they too love what I love. I try to be accessible enough, but not so clingy that they feel they can't share honest opinions. It's a fine line, and I figure it out on a daily basis. I'm now on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and other online communities where I can gush about reading and other things with fellow readers.

4. I have to go beyond family and friends.
The goals I've set for my career as an author? Cannot achieve them by just relying on the support of family and friends. (I don't have that many friends!) So now I go and admit I'm an author when asked, and I've accepted invitations to speak about writing and publishing. I even have business cards featuring my book covers. 

Ah, marketing. I've warmed up to it, because it doesn't have to be about constantly selling to people. Simply being out there, being genuinely interested in your readers, that's worth something already. I still have a lot to learn, but the baby steps I've taken so far have led to great people, fun experiences, and yes, more books sold. 

Way better than just hiding in my room.

Bronze Age Media's Author at Once: Marketing will be on July 14 at Eastwood, Quezon City. The three-hour workshop will cover basics of marketing for published (and to-be-published) authors. Register at bronzeage.ph/authoratonce

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