Today, Mari Christie and I continue coposting on marketing in a bazillion book marketplace. Her turn today, with Make Yourself an Expert.
I know old-school marketing. I have been working to promote products, people, and services since I was about 15 years old.
- Trade and Consumer campaigns (B2B, B2C)
- Strategic and tactical planning
- Design, copywriting, advertising, on- or off-line
- Collateral material
- Printing, publishing, distribution
- Media relations
- Event planning and management
Talking about any of the above makes no difference at all to sales of my books. (It makes a difference in how I sell my books.)
Where it does make a difference is in selling my services as a marketing consultant, business and technical writer/editor, designer, cover artist, and author PA. And, if I were to write a book about marketing—not outside the realm of possibility—my credentials would help sell it.
Because, after 25 years, there are very few promotion situations I haven’t faced. Because I can explain how to sell in plain English. Because when I talk about marketing a product, past results show it is not a bad idea to listen.
Because I am an expert.
As a writer trying to sell books, making yourself an expert is a great way to create brand recognition and a following. (This should go without saying, but I am not suggesting you can tout yourself as an expert with no expertise to back it up.)
Aside from pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (or Master’s or PhD in another academic discipline), and looking for a university teaching position, there are any number of other options that will make you a person to take seriously about the business or craft of writing, or both.
Given enough experience, you can (like me) become a professional writer/editor. You could teach classes in less formal settings, like trade groups or online. Some people set up workshops or formal critique groups. Still others work in publishing or printing or distribution, lending value in traditional or indie publishing settings.
But beyond expertise in publishing, you can also sell books by becoming an expert in your subject area or genre. Historical fiction authors are great at this, using blogs to write up their research, or writing nonfiction about their time period. But history doesn’t have to be your subject matter.
Chefs sell cookbooks by feeding people great food. Self-help authors sell books by creating workshops that help people. Motivational speakers sell books by pumping people up at appearances.
Everyone seems to sell books by writing blog posts and articles in their subject area.
You can sell books by winning contests, being written up in your local paper, giving lectures at trade shows, or being interviewed on local television.
It takes, they say, 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. By the time you are finished writing a book, are you not an expert in—if nothing else—that book?