Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Author's Seduction

I’m a big fan of marketing guru Seth Godin. You may have heard me talk about him before, and if you follow me on Twitter you’ve definitely seen me retweet his posts. Seth tends to write very short blog posts, but in a few words he is really able to get me thinking. His recent post on the Art of Seduction made me think of what both published and unpublished authors need to do when it comes to marketing.

We live in a world where everyone wants everything to come easily and be easy. Unpublished authors berate agents for not having uniform guidelines that would simply allow them to shoot out one query letter to everyone, and published authors are seeking the magic promotional item that will hit all potential readers in the same way and make them buy books.

It’s never going to happen. Uniform submission guidelines mean that you’re assuming all agents are exactly the same, and thankfully that’s not true. We all have different tastes and different ideas. We love different types of books and different authors, and thankfully so.

The same holds true for published authors. I talk to authors all the time who seem to want to know the magic of marketing. They want to know how another author had such success and what she did to attain it. The truth though is that it doesn't work that way. One uniform promotional idea that will resonate with everyone means that all readers are the same and even if you are writing in the same genre as another author, your readers are not the same.

If you really want to succeed when it comes to finding an agent or getting new readers, then you constantly need to be re-creating and rethinking your strategy to appeal to many different types of people. What works for one might not work for you, what works for one of your books might not work for the next. What works when charming and wooing one girl is not likely to work with another and what works on that girl one night, might not work the next.

Jessica

13 comments:

Rick Daley said...

Adaptability is a key to survival.

Gabriela Lessa said...

It sounds so odd to me that writers would actually want standardized agents and opportunities. Isn't writing all about being creative, different, getting something out there that you truly believe no one else could? Unified agents would lead to unified books, and that would just take all the magic away from literature. And that would hurt more than any rejection.

Kate Douglas said...

Boy, does this post strike a note. The marketing I use for my erotic paranormal series is totally different from what seems to work for my regular paranormal books. Same readers, in many cases, but the approach had to be adjusted. I keep wondering if I'll ever figure it all out, and then I realize that no, probably won't, because it keeps changing!

Shakespeare said...

The last metaphor works, especially because an author wants his/her relationship with an agent--and a publisher--to LAST. That means the connection has to exist at many levels, or it won't.

No standardized format can handle that.

Dawn Chartier said...

So true. Now I'm going to see what else this guy twittered about.

Thanks for sharing,
Dawn Chartier

Erika Marks said...

I agree, it is the individuality of the business that keeps it fresh and full of potential. As tempting as it may be to want a uniform system of appeal, be it to agents or editors or readers, there is great comfort in knowing that what doesn't work for one reader, might blow another's socks off.

Linda Leszczuk said...

A basic truth: "one size fits all" doesn't.

jjdebenedictis said...

This reminds me of the comment I made on the last post! :)

You always want to target your marketing. Shot-gun advertising wastes effort, because your message is forgotten by most of the people hearing it.

If you make sure you're talking to people who genuinely want to hear what you have to say (i.e. will genuinely enjoy the book you've written), you'll get better results with less effort and you'll annoy fewer people too.

Levonne said...

Thanks Jessica. That makes perfect sense. I wouldn't expect anything different than what you are saying. If you have a few minutes, come by and meet Jonathan and Nellie Tate - The Midlife Cruisers at my blog - A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings http://acamphosthousewifesmeanderings.blogspot.com/. Take care...

Jemi Fraser said...

This made me smile because it sounds like what I tell my kids in class - be yourself, be unique, make your own choices. :)

CFD Trade said...

Call me crazy but I leave it to the universe to make my case different. No matter how you work at things, there's a line that separates where the power of the universe sets in...destiny...think about writers who made it big...theirs are stories that are simple, magical and destined to be...

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actagamut said...

Madonna. She sucketh now; however, back in her hay day when she reinvented herself, tirelessly, every year, every album (Lord, here I go, dating myself with that last word) she kept most of her current platform and gained a slew of others. Many jealous, fans and haters, chalk it up to luck. There is no luck, there is a very tired, but successful person in the driver's seat.

If the entertainment industries standardized the roller coaster ride, writing would become an SAT Testing ground where the truly creative would be blown out of the water by someone who knows the circumference of a door knob. Who wants to read a romance novel, written like a how-to?