Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Creativity or More Marketing?

Suppose I ask a friend, "Which would help me sell more books? Learn how to be more creative with my writing? Or learn better marketing skills?"

The two go hand-in-hand. One without the other is nothing, a big zero, a failure.
However, I think most writers are better at one than the other.

Take Example #1: Jane Author. Jane is a writing machine. She can turn out stories without even trying. She's highly creative, always taking notes, observing, thinking about scenes in her recent WIP, or a plot for an entirely new story. Her products are very good, if not superior to many writers. But her marketing skills are weak, and she doesn't know exactly how to improve them.

Example #2: Mary Market. Mary knows all about marketing. She's even written a book that teaches others how to market themselves as well as she does. But she's a slow writer, and often has more than one manuscript unfinished. Her one book sells very well, because she knows how. But selling one book will not help the bank account.
Both writers will soon suffer burn-out.

The question is: How do I strike a balance between the two?

Personally, I am better at writing than marketing. Writing requires a good imagination, above average command of the English language, and knowledge about writing fiction. All these still require continued learning, for none of us ever know everything. At least, I'm comfortable writing, and so far I have not suffered burn-out.

Marketing, though, is still a bit elusive--and boring. At the moment, I do as much as I know how, and that's not much. Many other venues exist that I have not mastered.
Question: How important is the fact we should market ourselves....instead of the book? Does this make sense? I've read articles that suggest marketing ourselves goes a long way in selling our product.

Maybe our individual personality helps sell--or not. Personally, I'm drawn to authors who are positive and fun and friendly. That doesn't mean I haven't read books by authors I know I wouldn't like in person--it only means it's not the norm for me.

I study commercials for car and trucks on TV. Most are rather obnoxious, in my opinion. However, one of the most obnoxious ones sells the brand of truck we just bought. But the dealer we bought from was here in town, and not one person in there was obnoxious. In fact, they go out of their way to be kind and courteous and happy. Also, they serve breakfast--really! Four kinds of coffee, fresh, glazed donuts, and sausage rolls. In the afternoon, they switch to big bakery cookies with white chocolate, packages of cheese crackers, soft drinks, and popcorn.
The dealer on TV is in Austin, and I would not go there simply because of the man and woman in the commercial. Completely outrageous and loud.

This is a case of personality. If we hadn't been very happy with the dealer and the particular salesman, we would have gone elsewhere.
I think anyone would have.
And this applies to selling anything--our books and/or us.

It pays to be nice.
Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas