The best time to begin connecting with your readers is now—even if you’re still writing your book. Connections begin with conversations at coffee shops, in church pews, and at bookstores. Connections are made when you sympathize with something a friend is going through and recommend a book you think will cheer her up.
There’s a story behind your story. There’s a reason you’ve chosen the characters you’ve chosen and the setting that releases a flood of emotion each time you picture it. When you share the story about your story, you make connections. Connections that are built, not on fleeting fads or trends, not on gaming the latest social media platform, but on the power of your story.
What I’ve described above—sharing the story behind your story—is marketing.
The word marketing has taken a bit of a hit. We hear marketing and think “selling”, aggressive, obnoxious, weight-loss infomercial selling, and we want no part of it.
But what if I suggested we look at marketing with a new lens? A lens that’s specific to us as writers. A lens that gives us permission to view marketing as another form of storytelling.
The Stories We Tell About Our Story
Although you’ve probably never looked at it this way, writers have an amazing advantage when it comes to marketing. We tell stories for a living.
And our stories run deep. The events that lead up to, and are involved in, penning just one book carry with it infinite mini-stories ripe for the sharing.
We write fantasy because, as children, we read Tolkien and imagined inhabiting his worlds.
You write romance because of the goodbye letter he slipped under your door before you left for college.
We write crime because . . . well, let’s just say there are many wonderful reasons for writing crime that I’ll leave to your active imaginations.
The point is, we all have stories we can share about our stories. And from the minute we hit publish on that blog post, send that first query letter, or announce the idea for our novel to a dinner party of eager friends, we’re marketing ourselves and our books.
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