Write It and They Will Read It Is a Lie

The Great Widget Marketing Story

Once upon a time (I love stories that start this way), John Doe invented the greatest widget in the world. He called it The Great Widget. (John was an inventor, but not that creative.)

He worked with a distributor and got some widget chain stores to carry The Great Widget along with all of the other widgets they had for sale. Because there were so many other widgets for sale, The Great Widget didn’t really stand out, but that was okay for John. It was available for sale in many places and that was enough.

John mentioned The Great Widget to his family and a few friends of course, as he was justifiably proud of his accomplishment. But he didn’t concern himself with any other promotions like TV ads, YouTube videos, magazine ads, blog reviews or mentions on the social networks. After all, this was The Great Widget and it was available for sale in many stores. Because it was so great, people would find it on their own.

Enter the Customer Looking for a Widget

Customer Bob Smith was in need of a good widget. He went to his nearest widget store to browse for a widget. They carried so many different sizes and shapes of widgets that he had a hard time deciding what to get. None of the widgets that he looked at seemed to be exactly what he was looking for.

The Great Widget was the widget that Bob really needed, but amid the sea of other widgets, he never found it. He hadn’t seen any ads for it, or heard about it from any of his friends (as they weren’t friends and family of John, The Great Widget inventor). He hadn’t seen it mentioned on any blogs or any social networks. So even though Bob really needed The Great Widget and was ready to buy it, he couldn’t because he didn’t even know it existed.

Exit the Customer Without The Great Widget

After a time of lackluster sales, the widget chain stores stopped carrying The Great Widget. John was outraged. This was The Great Widget. It should have sold millions. Instead, it fell off the shelves and drifted into obscurity. John railed about the unfairness of the widget system and went back to designing gadgets instead.

Don’t Be John, The Ex-Widget Inventor

Sadly, many writers act just like John with their books. They write it, sell it to a publisher or self-publish it, and then sit back waiting for the sales to roll in, figuring that readers will find the book on their own once it’s available in stores and on the Kindle.

A few readers might stumble across the book and buy it. But the greater reality is that the book will sell very few copies unless someone advertises it to the reading public. That someone can be either the publisher or the writer or both.

If you’re lucky, the publisher will put a large marketing push behind your book. If you’re like most writers, you’ll be lucky to get any marketing budget at all from the publisher.

That means it is up to you to promote your book. I know, I know… you just want to write them. You need to determine why you write. If your main desire is to just write books, not sell them or make a paying career as a writer, then stop reading. You don’t need to worry about marketing.

Enter The Career Writer

If you want a career as a writer though, you’ll need to do your own promotion of your books.

People can’t buy a product that they don’t know exists. Your job is to let readers know that your book exists.

A marketing plan is your map that guides you through the activities that will tell readers that your book exists.

Can you promote your book without a marketing plan? Sure you can. You can also drive from New York to Los Angeles without a map, but you’ll probably take quite a few wrong turns and waste a lot of time, money and gas along the way.

You’re a writer. You don’t have time or money to waste on random promotional activities. You need to focus on only the best-targeted promotional activities for your book, so you can spend the rest of your time writing your next book.

Your marketing plan coordinates your activities toward your desired outcome and keeps you moving toward your goal–more awareness of your book, more sales, and more fans.

Coming up next – Deciding what you want out of your marketing plan or how not to end up in Poughkeepsie when you wanted to drive to Albuquerque.

Making a career out of writing? Great! Subscribe to my feed, so I can help you with the pesky marketing aspects of your writing career.

3 thoughts on “Write It and They Will Read It Is a Lie

  1. wounded monk

    Good stuff. However, I had completely forgot i had subscribed to your RSS since there is so much time between blog postings.

  2. Pingback: Book Marketing Made Easy-What's your goal? | Novelocity on the Net

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