My sister and I were driving home from New Jersey this past Sunday and we were stuck in a ridiculous amount of traffic on the Belt Parkway. After cursing up a storm and singing along to the past week’s song countdown on her Sirius XM radio station, I started to vent a bit about my marketing progress…. or lack of progress.
I published a novel about a year ago and it is starting to lose steam. I am working full-time and editing book two of The Hypothesis of Giants series so it is becoming more difficult to develop and implement marketing strategies for my published novel. I don’t have a team of dedicated or paid marketers under my belt and the core team who I had in the beginning, consisting of close friends and family, had sort of weaned out after six months. Now don’t get me wrong. That core group was AMAZING and I don’t know what I would have done without them, but they have their own lives and dreams that they are pursuing. I can’t expect them to drop everything for my dream all the time. So here I was stuck in traffic and that’s exactly how I felt. Stuck!
After venting for about ten minutes, my sister considered what I had said and started to bounce off new ideas with me. Ideas that maybe I had thought of or disregarded because they would be too expensive, I had no time, or I didn’t know where to begin. She helped me revisit those ideas and wonder if maybe I should start looking down those avenues, the scary avenues that I avoided purposefully. The avenues that were too out there a year ago, or even six months ago when I was still figuring out my target audience and how to do this marketing thing. I find that I can come up with a million ideas for someone else, but when it comes to myself I get tongue tied or nervous. Resort to my old excuse of “Well, I’m a writer!” In today’s world you have to be both a Writer and Marketer, in addition to a million other hats you need to wear (editor, promoter, PR person, designer, etc.)
It’s great to think outside the box, but I did have to set certain guidelines during the brainstorming session, and my sister understood that I couldn’t invest tons of money into certain marketing tactics…considering I had already made some poor choices in the past that didn’t pay out. But there were other ideas she suggested that I had some Ah Hah!! moments (so excited). She suggested teaming up with Fantasy Teen bloggers, or holding a “giant” drawing contest for my character, Otus, who is a 30-foot giant. My sister had such innovative ideas and it was such a relief to have someone in my corner helping me break out of my rut and drive through the traffic and see a light at the end of the Belt Parkway…I mean tunnel. =)
Sometimes you need a new perspective for your writing and marketing endeavors. I keep thinking that I am alone in this, but I realize I do this to myself because I feel like I have to be in control of every little detail with my novel. I am not alone and that core group who I thought had abandoned me is still there with me. It is me who had locked myself in my own little world thinking I had to do it on my own. Instead, it is healthy to reach out to your network to get a fresh perspective. This is why building a network is important because you have people that you can call to help when you need the added support.
So it’s back to the drawing board but at least now I don’t feel so lost or stuck. And I know now that it’s ok to reach out for help and not to try to be a martyr. Perhaps I was feeling that a cry for help would make me feel weak, or that I failed. But the only failure is if I never tried or gave up. I have to swallow my pride and keep trudging forward. Maybe I will include more people in my next brainstorming session–or make it fun and host a branstorming session Happy Hour! There is no shortage of ideas…you just need the courage to bring them to life.