It is the curse of Adam–no, not marketing–that one must toil to produce from the ground. It takes sweat and effort to turn a seed into a fruitful plant. I do see a parallel, however, in what I will simply call gardening and the business of marketing a book. I am not an accomplished gardener. Neither am I especially adept at marketing, though I spent a couple of decades in sales. But I am an author who wants to market my books.
Acknowledging that every analogy will eventually break down, I would like to offer three thoughts about personal marketing as illustrated by a comparison to personal gardening. By way of caveat, I realize that there are those who love the process of gardening and those who love the process of marketing. I approach the matter here from the position I believe most writers share–a reluctance to dirty their hands in either.
ONE: Work The Dirt. Producing a fruitful garden starts before the seed is planted. The soil must be prepared by loosening and fertilizing. Even before the book is completed, the author should begin to prepare the way for the time it will face the light of day. The “soil” that surrounds it may be already rich with established recognition, irrigated with channels of contacts, and cleared of any obstacles that would shade it from the required exposure to sunlight. Or the “soil” may be fallow, an unprepared plot of ground previously unplanted. The latter is most often the case for the new author. Regardless, if the “book garden” is to grow, the groundwork must be laid. Read the rest of this entry »