Alyice, what is it that you do for a living—as a writer?
I am the founder, editor, and publisher of an award winning publication called, The Dabbling Mum. In the beginning, I poured nearly every waking moment into my publication: web design, marketing, promoting, writing content, selecting content, editing content, uploading content, paying writers, replying to reader questions … you name it, I did it.
It’s still that way today, though I now have some great columnists working with me. But after being online for a few years, I’ve been able to back off a bit as the publication is beginning to run itself—with a few minor twists and turns.
I also write a quarterly column for Cecil Child Parenting Magazine, ghostwrite for various small businesses, and even do a little proof-reading and editing on the side.
And in between all of that, I write e-books and promote them throughout the Internet.
If you had very limited time, money, and resources, what marketing strategies would you choose?
There is no such thing as very little time when it comes to marketing your books. If you want to earn any kind of income off those books or if you want to impress your publisher (should you choose not to self-publish) you need to increase visibility. No one will buy your books if no one knows they exist.
But let’s say, for argument sake, that you are so busy managing your personal, work, and family life that you just do not have the time to devote to marketing your books, what can you do with limited time? You can:
- Get interviewed on radio shows (http://www.radio-locator.com/). Most can be done right from your cellular phone without ever having to leave home!
- Get interviewed on Internet talk shows (http://www.wsradio.com/). Same thing … interviewed right from home.
- Get interviewed for websites and publications. Yep, the reporter (or freelance writer) can call you, but many times, they’ll simply email you a set of questions that you can answer at your leisure as long as you respond by their deadlines.
- Send out press releases. You can use a press release distribution service, such as prweb.com for more generalized press releases, but I would strongly suggest that you pull out your Writers’ Market and find publications that meet your book’s targeted audience. Then compile a spreadsheet with the publication’s name, address, email address, and theme (you can use that list every time you have a new pr to send out and it’ll save you countless hours of research!). Next, tailor your press release to each individual publication and mail it off. Yes, tailoring takes time, but once you have the general pr done, it just takes a few minutes to tweak and personalize.
- Market with articles. This is my all-time favorite marketing method! Basically you write one article related to your book’s theme and you distribute that article, for free, to various free content groups. In your byline, you mention where to buy your book. (Not only do I have a free article on this at: http://thedabblingmum.com/books/marketing_acampaign.htm, but I also sell a book that details the entire process at http://thedabblingmumpress.com) And don’t forget writing for paying publications about your book’s topic, then selling reprints to other publications.
- Barter. Some writers I know barter ads in newsletters and barter handing out promotional materials at each other’s book signings or speaking engagements.
- Leave messages. No matter how little time we have, we always seem to find time to browse the Internet, read forums, and chat in chatrooms. Use this time more productively by visiting theme-related forums, groups, and chatrooms and when the opportunity arises, share insight from your book. Say something like, I talk about that in my book ____. Then give a few pointers from your book. And don’t leave an anonymous message on blogs, leave your web address. You’ll be surprised how many people read the comments area and then click over to learn more about the commentor.
I know my answer sounds very basic, but these ideas work—especially with time restraints!
What’s your biggest struggle as a writing parent?
What a question! I would have to say my biggest struggle is getting started on a project. I have my hands in so many cookie jars that sometimes juggling it all is completely overwhelming.
I have become the queen of multi-tasking. But God is calling me to stop multi-tasking and start relishing the moment. In other words, I am learning that I am a more effective tool when I stop to breathe and smell the roses, when I concentrate at the task at hand instead of trying to spread myself too thin, and when I remember to run my writing business as a business.
So you know what I do now?
- I check my email in the morning and then again in the evening instead of sporadically throughout the day.
- I instant messenger my friends AFTER I’ve completed at least half my work—when I need a mental break or stress relief—instead of during my writing time.
- I don’t simply rely on my mood to tell me when to write or work on a project anymore. I’ve never missed a deadline, but I’ve been known to write the day of the deadline! And I’ve been known to put off personal deadlines such as my next e-book!
- When life feels too closed in and I can’t think, let alone write, I take fifteen and exercise! I “Power Walk” with Leslie Sansone and my television set. You won’t believe how much it clears the mind and allows creativity to flow!
- I save specific days for specific tasks.
For instance, I review products, books and movies. In the past I tried to do a review a day or every other day. That seemed to overwhelm me, so now I save review writing for Fridays or when I have free time instead of trying to squeeze them in with my other assignments. I send out my newsletters on Mondays. Since it’s a free newsletter I’ve given myself a grace period and distribute them in the evenings instead on the mornings, which means I no longer have to spend all day Sunday finalizing the newsletter—leaving me to experience family and worship time in peace!
Thank you Alyice for your time. Great tips!