I recently wrote about art and money, and my realization that I need to hire someone to do marketing because I am not very good at selling myself and my work.
This, of course, causes a walk outside of my comfort zone.
To increase my book sales, I need to hire someone to help with marketing. There are a lot of different options out there for this — and choosing the right one is always a challenge.
There are multiple points of focus I could use, too. Let’s face it — I write a LOT. And it is a broad range of material — from sci-fi/fantasy to nonfiction aimed at self-improvement, life lessons, mindfulness, and such — to other fiction and nonfiction ideas.
This is my passion. Words are my stock in trade. My brand is author — without any specifications as to what that means.
However — while part of this is selling my brand, that’s going to be too broad a focus.
Also — there are a LOT of places where improvements can be made to increase my visibility, sales, marketing efforts, and so forth.
I apologize for the forthcoming wild ride. Welcome to a sneak peek inside a sometimes-crazed mind.
Perspective and focus
While I would love to work out how to expand my nonfiction following. I’d love to increase my income via Medium and take my process as a mindfulness/conscious reality creation practitioner to the next level. Coaching, speaking, and other income-generating notions would be awesome, too.
However — to be perfectly honest, while I totally love this — it’s not my first love. My first love is and always has been fiction.
For a long time, Seeker — the first novel in The Source Chronicles — was with an agent who, unfortunately, really didn’t work in fantasy. However, it was also premature — since this was before Seeker got a real, thorough edit — and I learned an incredible amount about both writing and editing from that editor. Then, the whole series was redesigned.
After many years of trying to get an agent and the traditional publishing route from that, I turned to self-publishing.
Now, I have a growing catalog that’s a mix of different types of fiction and nonfiction.
However, this year, my focus has been fiction. So far, I have published the first two novels in my Void Incursion sci-fi series. In just a couple of weeks, I am publishing a standalone fantasy novel ( Infamy Ascending). I have written and completed the first novel in another sci-fi series ( Forgotten Fodder) and have nearly completed the 2 ndnovel for it.
SO — when it comes to working with someone and spending money on marketing and the like, the focus cannot be my entire catalog. It needs to be specific to this years’ fiction and my plans to continue and double my output next year.
That’s one half of the issue. The other is where to put the attention for marketing to increase sales.
Lots of places for spending money
When it comes to getting yourself and your work out into the world — and noticed — there are a lot of places to spend your money to make that happen.
Probably the biggest — and not the cheapest — is Google. Keyword searches have built an entire industry. Hell, this article is written with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. I choose topics that I hope will draw people to my blog — either published on my website or on Medium — which must be a frequent consideration for branding purposes.
That’s the basics. I haven’t a clue where it goes much beyond that, though.
And it goes a long, long, long way past SEO. Three are complicated, ever-changing algorithms and various factors to consider. Whole businesses exist just to handle Google recognition and advertising.
Then, you also need to take Yahoo and Bing into account. They have search engines people use, too.
All very important. This is just online and doesn’t get into greater detail for other advertising options.
Then there is Amazon. A lot of options are out there to optimize Amazon for your sales. When your work is largely exclusive to Amazon this isn’t something you can ignore.
That’s a whole other can of worms. While having the massive distribution options for my work available is excellent — the exclusivity angles of Amazon are also worthwhile. Possibly more so.
As if that’s not enough — it’s a crowded world. There are a LOT of authors on Amazon. Millions of books. Even in a genre like sci-fi the competition (not in the sense of us being in competition — but more in the sense of gaining notice) is vast.
Figuring out the best options for spending money to make money is a form of gambling.
Leaving the comfort zone
If I continue to work at this all on my own — I will continue to draw the same result. Lukewarm sales far below what I should be able to draw.
Hence, I need to be willing to be spending money to make money. I must take a chance and choose to hire someone to help me.
I am 98% certain about the business I am looking at hiring. While another option recently presented itself — it may be possible to attempt to enlist both.
But it’s a risk. This may gain nothing. Maybe my writing has a much narrower appeal than I hope it does. Or maybe I’m not as good as I believe myself to be.
But really, those are excuses. This is my passion. I strive to improve upon it constantly. I know what I have to do — now I just need to do it.
Comfort zones are comfortable. That’s may seem obvious, but it matters because they often prevent growth. Why step out and risk everything when you can stay all cozy under the covers?
The answer, for me, is because I believe in this. I am sure the stories I create are entertaining and interesting. All I need is to get my work in front of more eyes.
Spending money in the interest of making money is never comfortable. But it can be super necessary. I know the risks — but given that change is constant — and nothing is truly certain — I would rather take a risk and potentially fail than avoid it and definitely fail.
I’ve talked the talk — time to walk the walk. Thank you for joining me for this particularly crazy ride.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, my creative process, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on November 21, 2020.