Okay, I’ve read Randy’s e-zine and have a good grasp of Strategic (long term) and Tactical (short term) marketing. Why tactical marketing? Well, as most of you have discovered, writing doesn’t pay well, or at all, during the learning stages. But we have expenses: books, conferences, websites, postage, laptops…it all adds up. Wouldn’t it be nice if all that were paid for by someone else? Take a look down the left side of my blog. I’ve got advertisements from Amazon, Randy Ingermanson, Terry Whalin, and Google. All these are affiliate programs. No, I won’t make a ton of money by advertising these products, but maybe I’ll cover some of my expenses. Check out my book store. This was almost no work on my part. Not only do I keep a list of recommended reading, I get little profit anytime one of you buys one of those books.
You can do it, too! That’s the point of all this. If you’re promoting another website, product, or book on your blog, get something for it. It’s not money grubbing, it makes sense. Everyone benefits. Why not you? By the way, I won’t promote anything I haven’t checked out myself (with the exception of the Google ad, which selects random advertisers based on content).
The Strategic portion of our marketing plan is where we’ll concentrate most of our time. On Friday I told you that Randy wants us to determine our “empire.” That’s not his term, by the way, but, being a mad genius, he borrowed it. That’s a good point to get across now: Don’t re-invent the waffle! If someone is already doing it right, adopt it as your own. We’re writers, not marketing professionals.
So what’s my empire? Well, I’ve got a few choices. I love Jesus, writing, fly-fishing, camping, men’s ministry, mystery/suspense/thriller writing. I can’t group all that into one empire, it would be way too narrow. I can have several empires, but I need to focus on one for now. Let’s see…my novels always involve a man on a faith journey. My current series has a heavy dose of fly-fishing.
How about this: Men’s ministry and fly-fishing. I could come up with a website with a catchy title. Something like “Reel Men…thoughts on fly-fishing and being God’s Man.” That may be too narrow as well. Maybe just “Real Men–being God’s Man in the 21st century.” That keeps my focus on Christ, which is important to me. But will it tie into my fiction? I think so. I could use my current series and the fictional town of Trout, Michigan as my empire. Maybe it will involve elements of mystery, fly-fishing, and faith. I like that. The men's ministry ties in with a desire I've had for several years to write a series of non-fiction books. There's no reason I can't develop this marketing plan to focus on both my fiction and non-fiction ventures. Remember, this plan can cover years, even decades. Look ahead. Think big.
I’ll leave it there for now. I’ve got plenty of time to develop this. How about you? What’s your empire? Space travel? Cats? Scrapbooking? Think about it. I’d like to hear your ideas.
I’ll leave Randy alone for a while and take a look at some other ways to develop my marketing plan. On Friday, I’d like to talk a bit about networking. Put on your thick skin (if you’re a writer, it’s always handy). Some of the things I say on this subject may ruffle a few feathers. But stick with me. Nothing I say will step outside of Christian boundaries, but we have to remain tough and focused to reach our goals and fulfill His will.