by Keri Wyatt Kent
I’m one of the lucky ones: I write for a living. I get to craft words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs. Except, of course, when I’m writing Tweets: then I’m crafting abbreviations into fragments. Which I sometimes have to do. The truth about us career writers: we’re more than composers of prose.
I write books, articles, blog posts. I also work for a terrific little marketing agency. So sometimes I write articles, sometimes I write books. And sometimes, I write copy for sales proposals, or Tweets, or curriculum, or Facebook posts, or … you name it. Working for a marketing agency has taught me a lot about how to market my own books. It’s also an essential part of that whole “earning a living by writing” deal.
I’m reading Michael Hyatt’s excellent new book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He talks about how writers, creators, inventors, sales people—anyone with “something to say or sell” can do it better. I’ve always been enthused about marketing my books, trying to get my name out there—but it can seem overwhelming. In his usual style, Hyatt offers very practical ways to get this done.
If you are a writer, part of the job is to hone your craft—practice it by simply writing. Then improve it by letting editors or critique partners offer gentle but honest feedback. But beyond the well-constructed paragraph or argument, today’s writers must use their skill to do marketing—even if they don’t happen to work for a marketing agency.
If you are a writer, part of your job is to market what you write—to find ways to let people know who you are and what you’re writing about. Sometimes the most effective way to do that is to write tweets or posts for social media.
I often hear writers complaining about having to market their books. Christian writers add another dimension of wiggy-ness to their angst about marketing: if they were truly humble, they wouldn’t be marketing their own stuff. Um, hogwash. If you were truly humble you’d live in a hermitage someplace and wouldn’t have written a book to begin with. You wrote a book because you have something to say! So say it. You are not “self-promoting.” You are promoting your book’s message. Big difference. If the book’s message is important enough to spend all that time writing it, it’s important enough to share via marketing.
You’re one of the lucky ones: if you’re a writer, you’ve got an important tool in your box. You can create content. You can use your writing skills to post relevant, helpful content on social media. You can write articles that explore just one topic from your book, and use them to point people to your book. You can write Tweets that intrigue people, and link to more content. You can blog about things that matter to you, and to your readers. You’ve got something to say: say it, then make sure you let people know you’re saying it. In other words, you can write, and you can market what you write.