Please help me welcome marketing guru Candice Hughes to RU! Author of Small Business Rocket Fuel: Marketing Tools to Boost Revenue, Candice will share her insights on how to make your small business financially successful.
Good morning, Candice!
Earn More from Your Writing with MBA Marketing
When you first decided you wanted to become a writer what plans did you have for your future? Did you want to earn money from your work as a professional writer? If you did, then guess what? You’re running a small business.
One aspect of running a successful small business is marketing your products and your company. As a writer, your primary products are your books. Here we assume your books are knock-outs (marketing will not alter quality or improve sales if quality isn’t there). Your company brand is yourself (either you [“the author”], or your pen name or both).
“Hold it right there!” you shout. “My publisher and agent take care of all the business stuff. I just write.” Who cares the most about how much money you make? Your publisher? Your agent? Or you? Who cares the most about your career path, your image? I’m betting that you’re like me. I really, really care about making enough money to pay my bills. I also deeply care about where my career is headed. Publishers have lots of writers, as do agents. No matter how good they are, can they care as much as you? If you don’t care about how much you earn, how about having the power to decide what to write, when, and how to project your image? Money is power. Don’t give that power away to someone else. Take it. Use it.
Now that we’ve decided you are running a small business and you want to manage that business yourself because you care the most about your business (even if you are delegating some parts to others like publishers and agents), let’s get back to marketing.
Many people teach writers to market individual books. We know the drill, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, websites, etc. What I ask you to do is take a step back. You’re marketing more than one book. Before doing anything, develop a plan. Every business needs a marketing plan in writing. Why? Because if you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll never get there. Developing a marketing plan is critically important and is usually left out of advice for writers. Your plan will be a step by step map that serves as a reality check. Without a plan there’s a tendency to either 1) do nothing from inertia (as in, “We’re all too busy writing. Who has time to market and sell?”) or 2) to go overboard and do everything in a scattershot approach. Neither of these strategies is good. Following either one will cause you to leave money on the table. Profits you could have had, but passed up.
As you develop your marketing plan, you want to ask yourself questions. “Who am I marketing to? Who is my true reader (a.k.a customer)? How am I going to reach my customers? What are the best tools to reach my customers? How much do the tools cost?” Most importantly, “How much should I spend?”
Whew! Tons of questions there. You may have considered some before. You may have a ready answer. That’s good. Write down your answer. But then dive deeper. So often we do the same things over and over without questioning what we’re doing. Even major companies put blinders on. To market well, you need to take a fresh look at every question. Research them. Talk to other people. Get new ideas. For example, a recent marketing trend is flash crowds where fans are quickly gathered to act out something slightly wacky like a pillow fight in Central Park. Would that engage your fans?
If you think planning and executing top marketing strategies takes too much time, consider this ̶ J.K. Rowling made $19.7 billion from marketing tie-ins. That figure doesn’t even include her book sales. That’s the power of marketing. Embrace it.
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RU Crew, do you have a marketing plan? Care to share what has worked for you? For our readers out there…what marketing device normally catches your eye? Candice has generously agreed to answer any questions you may have about marketing. Ask away!
New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown is topping off this week of fabulous guests with a discussion on the power of first lines. Psst–she’ll be giving away prizes!
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Candice M. Hughes, PhD has run and marketed her own small business for the past six years plus writes thrillers (with romance subplots). She is the author of “Small Business Rocket Fuel: Marketing Tools to Boost Revenue”.
Her “in the trenches” knowledge comes from working on a wide range of marketing programs, from product to department promotions, during her 20+ year business career that included 15 years in biotech/pharmaceutical communications agencies. In addition, she is currently concluding her first year in an MBA program at the Kelley School of Business (rated among the top handful of schools for marketing worldwide). She expects to graduate next year with much joy and celebration. Learn more at http://www.candicehughes.com
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