I am a philosophy professor and writer, and so far, I have published five books and many articles. I have spent the last six months researching ways to market myself and my writing, looking to hire someone as a publicist or marketing consultant. I have read countless articles and blog posts and talked with people wanting to sell me their services. Here are some things I have learned so far in my search.
The Best Advice I Heard
An idea I often read and heard about is that as an author, one should concentrate on marketing you as an author rather than on marketing a particular book. The idea is to build yourself as a brand instead of selling a single product. This makes so much sense. That encourages people to not only look at your other books but to see you as a source for future books. It was one of those, “oh, yeah,” moments, affirmed every time I heard it from a marketer. That I am not so much selling books but selling myself as an expert is the advice I now focus on.
Alas Though …
In my search for book marketers, I lost count of how many LinkedIn profiles and Web sites I looked at. Certainly over 250; probably over 300. I followed up with only a few people, not because I am fussy, but because I could not find many marketers open to writers of in-depth social commentary and analysis of current events.
I would have many marketers and consultants to choose from if I wanted to write yet another fiction book, yet another self-help book, yet another entrepreneurship or how-to-sell-stuff book. Granted, these topics are fertile markets for books and fertile markets for seeking clients. Book marketers have their well-delineated simple categories of what books are, and they aren’t interested in any topics outside the box. That is a very human tendency to stick with the well-work simple paths, rather than taking the riskier paths less traveled. I respect that, but that tendency is one of the two main reasons I have yet to find a good marketer to hire.
Another Thing That Frustrated Me (the second reason my quest is unsuccessful)
Relevant to the realization that so many book marketers aren’t open to deep content was the frustrating realization that so many are not open to the idea that books can be an end product. So often my search turned up marketers whose service was to teach you how to write a book as an extended business card for your coaching or consulting business. Even people who portrayed themselves as wanting to help authors, upon my follow-up, wanted instead to coach coaches on how to sell more coaching. Some even flat out told me they believed there is no money to be made selling books and I needed to stop being an author and instead buy their system that will turn me into a coach.
Some of these marketers have a whiff of a con artist behind them. In my search I waded through a sea of alpha male go-getters constantly “crushing it” and others who made grand claims about their life stories of suffering until their salvation of discovering their “can’t miss” marketing systems that will accelerate my coaching business. If I had a dollar for every claim that someone’s system would make me rich …
I’m Still an Author and Still Searching
I am a philosophy professor and writer. Late last month I published my fifth and most ambitious book yet, How We Are and How We Got Here.. As I write this, it remains, for the third week running, a #1 New Release on Amazon. That’s a bit of good fortune to be sure. It doesn’t mean I don’t need assistance in marketing both it and me. Alas, I still haven’t found what I am looking for.
Patience and persistence win in the end.