I truly know way deep down in my heart-of-hearts that when I keep bumping into new and old roadblocks popping up unexpectedly to stop progress in whatever I’m doing, it’s a sure fire sign that it is time for me to change course. My gut, the universe and, maybe even the cats, are telling me to pack up my grip and move on. Find a new route. Get a new map. Take the train instead.
So why have I been so stubborn about changing strategy when it comes to this book marketing stuff? I’ve had the same purple folder with the word “MARKETING” written in bold, black, thick-nibbed letters on the front sitting next to my computer since the book was published. It’s full of scraps of paper and business cards and lists of bookstores and libraries and ideas of how, where, and when to get the word out about Mediterranean Journey. But it doesn’t seem to be working — or is it that I’m not working?
I do take this whole “marketing” business very seriously. I look at it as my full-time-and-then-some job right now. I know that my wonderful book is not going to spring to the top of the New York Times Best Seller’s List because I think it’s a dandy book and worthy of the acclamations. No way! So, it’s well written. So, it’s funny. So a lot of people like it. So what, eh? Marketing, marketing, marketing, that’s the key. I used to preach this same message to my unemployed clients struggling to find work in a hostile environment. “Get out there and market your product,” I’d shout at them. “Coca Cola didn’t get to be Coca Cola without someone telling us it was The Best. You know you’re good, TELL THE WORLD.” I’d always use proper hand gestures to get the point across. It was a powerful lecture — sometimes I even got applause at the end.
Part of my problem is, and I honestly confess this, that I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that is required to get in the book marketing game let alone win it or even get to the finish line. Maybe it’s because I’m just not competitive enough so I don’t think I’ll ever win the game so I don’t even let myself get to Start. (Pretty defeating attitude, eh?) Don’t get me wrong, I like to win and I like to play games but sometimes the passion of the competition out there is more than I can handle. (I lived too many years playing games with a competitive-take-no-survivors ex-ex to ever want to willingly enter into that kind of game again.) Can’t I just wave the pom-poms on the sidelines and get attention that way? I don’t think so, but it would be fun to try. Break the rules or make new ones of my own. After all, someone had to come up with new rules for all the “indie” authors/publishers out there trying to get into the old game, so why not try a new game?
I’ll start with the Book Fair in Tampa next week. That will be my springboard into a new direction in marketing. Yeah, I’ll still play the old game, following the new rules, but, at the same time, I think it’s time to stop hitting my head against the same old brick wall and try a new one for a change. I could ask the cats what they would do to market themselves but I know that they think they are perfect already so who needs marketing?
Well, there is one thing I can do right away to get started. I can change that purple folder to a bright green one — the color of hope and spring and new beginnings.