Why Writers Need Marketing Plans

At the moment I’m in the process of applying for a grant from the West Australian Department of Culture & the Arts (DCA), to publish my novel, The Ark, as an e-book with an interactive website.

Writing grant applications is one of the more time-consuming ‘duties other than writing’. First there is the interminable application form, including the dreaded budget, and then the chasing up of letters of support, quotes, writing samples and the like. As if that wasn’t enough, the Publishing Assistance Program grant application requires a marketing plan.

But what do I want with one of those? Won’t there be an entire department  working in shifts around the clock to promote my novel? Well, if I’m the guy who wrote that book about Jesus being secretly married to Mary Magdalene (you know, the one with the name of an Italian artist in the title), then yes, probably. But if I’m the woman whose first novel sold a few less than 80 million copies, (more like, let’s say a couple of thousand), AND I’m planning to self-publish my new book, well hot damn, it looks like the marketing comes down to  little old me.

But I’m a writer, not a business mogul; what do i know of marketing plans? So I google it, as you do. And I enter a new world. It’s a bit like my experience with Hong Kong: I didn’t want to visit, but once I arrived, it was hard to leave. Yep, marketing is kind of interesting. And a lot of the things you have to do are actually fun. In fact, they’re things I like to do anyway, like blogging (here I am!), tweeting and Facebooking (that doesn’t work quite so well as a verb, does it?).

After a day of research, I was so excited about ‘building my author platform’ that I literally couldn’t sleep. And writing a blog post was at the top of my to-do list.

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2 thoughts on “Why Writers Need Marketing Plans”

  1. Who was it, Annabel, that said, “Write like an artist; publish like a business”? I think it’s very much true yet authors — especially creative authors — are sometimes disadvantaged with certain stereotypes; especially the one whereby if they are market savvy then they must be a hack. As if by helping their work find an audience they are diminishing it’s artistic integrity. Which I think is silly.

    Good luck with the preparations for The Ark launch. I’m looking forward to it.

    1. I haven’t heard that quote Jon, but in today’s market it is very apt. There’s a certain ickiness attached to the idea of marketing your own work – I think it’s still seen as a little shameful and degrading. Ideally, someone else would find an audience – but if you are realistic in admitting that’s not going to happen, you’re left with a choice of finding an audience for yourself, or not finding one at all. I think if you treat the people you meet online as people not ‘sales targets’ then it doesn’t have to be mortifying at all – in fact it can be a lot of fun.

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