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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marketing 101: Know Yourself. Be Yourself. Stop Whining.

How do you best market yourself as a writer (and a person)?

In one short post, I’m going to share my playbook.  I’m linking up with Rachelle Gardner and my fellow colleagues at WordServe Literary to give away some unsolicited marketing secrets.

Don’t read this post if you are looking for a shortcut to building a platform.  I don’t have one.  And please don’t read this if you’re looking for time-saving secrets on social media, online communities, or networking with other bloggers.  Sorry.  I don’t have easy answers.  While I engage in all of these strategies, I’d like to share a different perspective.

Know yourself.  Be yourself.  Stop whining.

1)  Know Yourself.

You want practical advice, not a soap box.  Right?  I get it.  So here’s how “knowing myself” has worked so far.

First, I know my limitations.  I have no time to waste.  I’m a too-busy lawyer with three small kids and a husband who already thinks I’m stretched 100 ways too many.  Does this stop me?  Of course not.  I just have to make choices. 
  • I shoot for quality, not quantity.  I choose to connect with other writers and readers that are like-minded – people who inspire and sharpen me, regardless of what they can “do” for me.  And while I’m not making the biggest splash around, it’s been incredibility meaningful.  Meaning motivates me.
  • I hang out on Twitter because it’s fun and efficient.  Of all the social media vehicles, I like Twitter the best.  It’s fast, fun, and incredibly efficient.  I’ve been on Twitter for less than a year, and it’s hands down driven more traffic to my blog than any other source. 
  • I’ve joined one online community, and I’m committed.  About a year ago, I joined The High Calling as a contributing editor.  I guess you could say it’s part of my marketing plan, but that’s not why I do it.  I feel at home there.  It’s a place I’d hang out even if I bagged the whole writing scene.  
  • I’m in it for the long haul.  There’s no quick fix.  I know that my personal platform is going to happen brick by brick.  I’m not looking for quick results, just measurable progress over time. 
2)  Be Yourself. 

Now, you may wonder what this has to do with marketing.  Stick with me, it’s a fair question.

When I was a young trial lawyer, an old pro pulled me aside (come to think of it, I think he smacked me over the head) and gave me some key advice.

“Always be yourself in front of the jury.  If you act fake, they can see right through it.”

Pretty good, huh?

I happen to think readers are a lot like jurors.  So in this world of marketing madness on steroids, I’ve decided to just be me.  I just can’t fake the whole networking thing.  If I went around leaving random comments on blogs that said, “Please follow me and I’ll follow you back” I think I would shoot myself.  (I don’t do auto messages either.)

The good news?  If I’m networking with you, it means I actually like you.  I'm not faking it.

Besides, being myself is the one thing I can do better than anybody else.  (You probably have that same gift.)

3)  Quit Whining.

Writers love to whine (present company especially included).  We have it so hard, don’t we?

Lisa doesn’t work outside her home.  Of course, she has all the time in the world to market and network.

Terry developed a platform because he has a big endorser.  It must be nice.  I don’t know anyone important.

Marketing isn’t what I signed up for.  I just want to write, ok? 

I’m an artist!  Marketing is beneath me.

Excuses, excuses.  Does this sound familiar?

Look, we all know that marketing doesn’t drive us to write.  Writing drives us to market.   You may think marketing is just a necessary evil (or just plain evil) but if you are passionate about getting your message out to other people, you’re going to have to sell yourself to an audience. 

So stop whining and get to work!

Yeah, the work involves things like blogging and networking – the things I already told you I haven’t mastered.  But if you set your mindset first – know yourself, be yourself, and quit whining – it might not be as tough as you think.

It’s actually tougher!

[If you care to continue the discussion on all things writing, please join me and my WordServe colleagues daily at the WordServe Water Cooler.  I'm thrilled to be part of this newly-launched community of talented writers.]


Janet Oberholtzer said...

Hi ... Here via Rachelle's blog.

Love this! Like the no-nonsense, direct approach.
It's hard work, so do it!

Thanks for the kick in the butt ... no more excuses, time to get to work for my memoir being published soon.

Marla Taviano said...

I really admire the way you "just be you." It shows on your blog, in your book, and in the personal interaction I've had with you.

I like you. :)

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks Ladies. I like you too (and no, I'm not faking it!).

Lucille Zimmerman said...

Oh man, what a good tip: Quit Whining!!!!

I know one author complains and posts a lot of inapropriate things. I feel bad because she is leaving her "brand" every time, and has no idea how people experience her.

Even when things go right, she finds a reason to complain.

Thanks Susan - I look forward to getting to know you on the WordServe Water Cooler!

Megan Willome said...

I really like the advice to be yourself.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I really believe it's far easier to whine than it is to tough it out. Well, I like a challenge. Also, it's hard to be nice, but I do it anyway.

I couldn't agree more with the know yourself and be yourself and the whole bit about people seeing through it.

Great points, lady!
~ Wendy

Sonya Lee Thompson said...

Hi Susan,

My favorite line was:"If I’m networking with you, it means I actually like you. I'm not faking it."

What an important thing to remember in being real. I enjoyed your post!

Also good to be reminded of the hard work of it all. I heard a quote once that said (and I'm probably not getting it quite right - sorry) "Successful people aren't the prettiest or the smartest, they are just serious about working hard at their talents."

Ann Kroeker said...

Great stuff, Susan, and we are so glad you are part of! :)