A few weeks back, I held a poll for you to vote on my next blog post series. Here were the results:
Book marketing won the day! (Though I still plan to do the other options.) So thus begins my series on Book Marketing. Let’s jump right in, shall we? Today we’re tackling the word “marketing” versus platform, brand, and advertising. How is it different, where are the similarities, and what is the purpose of marketing after all?
MARKETING vs. PLATFORM
Marketing, in short, is defined as getting your book into the hands of its intended market.
Platform, according to Amanda Leudeke—a well-known agent in the CBA market—is:
“…a number. If you add together all of your Facebook fans, all of your Twitter followers, all of the people who attend your speaking engagements, and so on, you get your immediate platform.” — Amanda Leudeke, The Extroverted Writer
Basically marketing is about people. Platform is about numbers. Or, if you want to flip it: platform is a number and marketing is how you get those numbers.
Marketing is something you do. Platform is something you have.
Only your publisher–and maybe your agent–is really interested in your platform. When you publisher asks if you have a platform, they just want to know that if you were to shout about your book through a megaphone, there are people who will hear you.
MARKETING vs. BRAND
Your brand is basically what you’ll be marketing. But it’s not your book. That’s outdated marketing. Your brand is…YOU.
Your personality, your authenticity and–eventually–your books. But the brand is you. Your name. Your passions and quirks and pursuits.
The messages of your marketing are going to be centered around you and the things you care about.
This is the entire theory behind an “auto-buy” author. Have you heard that term before? It means an author from whom you will automatically buy whatever they write. For me, that’s Marissa Meyer and Mary Weber and Jill Williamson. I not only love their writing, but I love what they’re doing as authors. I’ve grown to like them and how they’re personal on social media and seem to care about their readers.
This is what brand is all about. You don’t have to worry about “coming up” with a brand or a slogan or a mission statement. You don’t have to worry about having a color-coordinated website that matches your clothing—I’ve seen people do this. Sure, that has its benefits, but it takes a lot of energy that can often be better focused on writing.
MARKETING vs ADVERTISING
We are not going to talk about advertising today. Because advertising is boring and math and is hopefully something your publisher will do for you. 😛 Unless you’re self publishing. Then you should talk advertising…but not with me.
In short, advertising is where you pay money for some sort of exposure. Think Facebook ads, Twitter promotions, etc. That’s not your job as an author.
If you’re self-published or with a smaller publishing house, you will do your own advertising if you want. Personally, I only ever pay for an ad once–maybe twice–a year. And that’s on FB during a book launch.
But advertising is a whole different beast and I don’t like to mix it with marketing. Sadly, it frequently does get mixed with marketing…and that’s one reason the word marketing is so distasteful.
So let’s try to fix that nasty taste in our mouth…and get to the heart of marketing.
THE HEART OF MARKETING IS…
We know that “marketing” is getting a message out, but modern marketing is doing it in an engaging, interesting way. You have to think about our culture and the things your reader craves.
We. Crave. Authenticity. Because we live in a culture that is currently all about fake. Advertising, free stuff, photoshop, billboards, consumerism, etc. And we’re sick of it.
When Jesus came to earth as a man, he entered a similar culture. The Pharisees were promoting a holier-than-thou lifestyle. The temple—a place that was supposed to be holy and a place of worship—was made into a local Wal-Mart. Interaction with God became more of a ritual than the relationship it could have been.
Jesus showed up with a message of hope–of salvation that people didn’t even know they needed. He contradicted the culture. He was approachable and didn’t shun people. His method?
- He started with fellowship with the Father.
- He continued to fellowship with the disciples. He got deep with them. Taught them. Poured into them.
- That relationship & authenticity was spread by the disciples…to the public. it attracted other people. They wanted to hear Jesus’s message. People followed Jesus for who He was, and then they accepted the message.
Jesus spread His message through relationship. And the times he said “Buy my book!”–people listened to Him and were interested in his message because they knew him. They trusted him. And they knew he was sharing this message for them and for their good. Not just for himself.
Hubby and I treat college ministry this way as well. We –> pour into the student leaders –> who reach the students on campus through small groups and authentic interaction.
This is the same thing we want to do with our marketing. Author –> tribe –> reading community.
Tribe. That is the heart of marketing. (Tweet this.)
No matter how many ads exist or billboards or giveaways or sales…the proven best way to spread the word about a book (or about anything) is word of mouth. Ask anyone—a marketer, a publisher, a publicist, etc. Word of mouth is the magic potion that we can’t control. And the only thing we can do to help word of mouth is to have a community around us who believes in us and our story and our pursuits…and spreads the word.
So, with that, I think marketing needs a new name:
And that’s what we’ll cover next time. 🙂
What has frustrated you about marketing? (Either things you’ve seen, had done to you, or think you have to do.)
What comes to mind when you think of a tribe?