Marketing for Dummies

There must be such a book, for people like me, who love writing but not selling. The truth of the matter is, if you gave me this book I probably wouldn’t read it. Life is too short to spend much time trying to figure out how to get people to buy things. Do the endless TV commercials actually make a difference? They must, at least with some people.

I recently did a local radio show and saw some instant book sales on Amazon. That’s great. If only I were speaking to a really large audience, that type of exposure could make a big difference. I tried doing some advertising on Facebook, which got me a whole bunch of clicks, but I didn’t see that it made a difference in sales. Then I spent some money on Amazon, but didn’t know what I was doing, so it was a waste of time. I’m now going to hire someone to do an Amazon ad for me. Eek. You gotta spend money to make money, right?

My favorite marketing activity thus far is Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Without spending a dime, I get 3 emails a day, 5 days a week, with queries from reporters and bloggers looking for someone to share their knowledge. It’s all categorized, so I scroll through all the requests related to something I have written about. When my two cents get used, it’s a chance to get my contact info. out there and a mention of one of my books.

The newspaper column I wrote for a while actually ended up earning me some money. Someone was searching the net looking for information about learning styles and came upon a 700 word column I had written on the topic. I was writing the column as a public service, but I got paid rather well on two different occasions to have that one piece included in standardized reading tests. Yes, millions of high school students got to read my words. I’m sure they weren’t having a good time, but still, it’s an audience!

It’s not like I’m trying to make a living on my books. Thank goodness for that. I just want them to be read and enjoyed. I love hearing people laugh when I do an open mic. I love it when people say things like, “My wife was reading in bed and laughing out loud–it was your book.”

Maybe the marketing fairies will shine down on me and someone will give my book to Oprah. I’m not holding my breath. On to the next project.

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