I am a “newbie” publisher and, probably like many others, I’ve been devouring everything in sight on marketing, publicity, increasing sales, touching the hems of Oprah, and the like. I’ve read the books, subscribed to online newsletters, attended local publishing groups, listened to tapes, felt guilty about the tapes I didn’t listen to, and glommed onto publishing buddies. I am swimming in information. And just the other day, I realized I’m choking on it. Truly choking.
I’ve gotten so caught up in all there is to do. At this point, I can literally stand in the middle of my office staring into space–seeing an infinite number of tasks all telling me my future depends on them. Each and every one of them must be done this very second since I’m already too late to the table and backsliding as we speak. There’s too much for one lifetime, much less for this day or hour. And then I read another publishing secret, another surefire technique to get noticed, and yet another newsletter article that addresses eight things I can and must do to get my book sold. I don’t even know which expert’s newsletter to buy now, which tip I absolutely must have. Pretty soon I forget that I figured out how to write a book by listening to my natural instincts and that I will probably figure out how to market that book in much the same way.
Letting Go of Lumpy & Lethargic
Right smack in the middle of overwhelm, I realized that there are probably as many marketing styles as there are writing styles. I’m not likely to be someone who wears a button advertising my book at a neighborhood potluck or someone who talks it up during every phone call and even manages to sell copies to telemarketers who call during dinner. And instead of feeling lumpy, lethargic, inferior, and possibly doomed by this self-awareness, I’m accepting it and remembering that I will no doubt find my own inspired and equally effective marketing style.
And you’d assume I would, given the fact that my book is about finding your own way of creating the work you love. After all, I left a high-paced legal career to drop out, become a writer, and follow the wondrous intuitions of my heart.
In an effort to distill my own wisdom, I wrote down three tips to help myself get over overwhelm and arrive where I want to go. I hope they will help anyone else who’s dealing with the same self-inflicted panic and self-defeating behaviors.
Go Easy if You Want to Run a Marathon
I took 15 years to write, craft, and become the message of my book. Every time I rushed myself, I actually slowed my progress. I now see the same is true for me with marketing. I’m committed to going the distance with this book, probably to the point of becoming a household name. I don’t have the energy to do a marketing blitz right away and all the way. I need to pace myself because I am going to stay with this for a long, long time. If I try to do everything all at once, I won’t have the stamina to keep giving my best quality. So I’m choosing slow and steady. I’ve seen that “slow” allows me to be steady, and steady consistency over time produces results.
[subhead] Dulled Minds Can’t Create Pointed Marketing
We live in a culture that tells us more is better and more than that is better still. But I’ve seen that something else is true in my speaking, teaching, and coaching career. When I do too many workshops, I often get a little too automatic or less present to the energy of the room, the needs of my audience. When I take time off between workshops and speaking engagements, I find that I am more dynamic and inspired. At these times, more people will buy books and tapes, and sign up for workshops or coaching. In other words, I often sell more by teaching less.
I believe the same is true in writing sales material or following through on a marketing plan. The more white space I have in my activities, the more room I have for creativity to find me, new perspectives, and more direct routes. I guess I look at my creative energy as a tube of blue paint. The more I spread myself out, the more watered down my blue gets. When I choose carefully instead of relentlessly, my blue displays an intensity and poignancy that gets noticed and moves people to act.
Market from Self-Expression, Not Desperation
Many of the marketing books I read made me feel fearful–like if I wasn’t doing something all thetime, I was certainly going to roll down hill into the sea and drift away into oblivion. But I realized that when I’m marketing out of fear, I usually get results that make me feel fearful. Empty gestures produce empjIwIesults.
When I market from fullness, what I send out or say or produce has a feel to it, an electricity or zing. Oh heck, I’ll even say it has love in it. And I think people feel the love, the authenticity, the genuine excitement and respond to that. You know how when you’re really lonely, no one wants to date you. Then when you’re feeling good about yourself, everyone wants to know you. I think it’s the same thing with marketing. I think that along the way, we emit little vibes, and readers, buyers, producers, reviewers all feel them and respond in kind.
So I’m going to focus not only on “doing” things, but on how I do them. I don’t want my marketing to be one more voice in the madhouse of commerce screaming at consumers “Buy this or else…” I want my marketing to express my message with a richness and ease that attracts people and connects them to my work.
The tips I gave myself seem to be working, I’m happy to say. My book–This Time I Dance! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love–has hit the best-seller list here in Denver twice!
Tama J. Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her practice with one of Denver’s largest law firms to write and embolden others to live and breathe their most meaningful self-expression. To find out more about her work or to contact Kieves, visit www.AwakeningArtistry.com.