I’ve never liked serving my books—making them, yes, serving them, no. I was so afraid I’d ram my book down another dinosaur’s throat and make them choke (I’ve had too many other Authorosauruses do that to me). Joanna Pentaceratops (aka Joanna Penn in the human world) showed me how to serve (aka market) my book with class.
I thought this was impossible, because I’m just one little-yet-not-so-little Authorosaurus among thousands of dinosaurs. No one knows me (okay, except those precious seventeen people who are following this blog, bless their human hearts). How could this Pentaceratops possibly know my struggles? She’s a bestselling author, writing one of the top blogs! But I learned that she started out with nothing, like me. She couldn’t even sell her first book and her first two blogs were flops!
Now I wanted to listen.
Now you probably want to listen.
Now everybody wants to listen.
Because everyone wants to be famous overnight, right?
But she wasn’t famous overnight. She wasn’t famous over two nights. It took her 1,095 overnights (that’s three human years) in between a lot of book cooking (and burning) and having people spit up the books she served them. But she did it. And I can too…
Once I figure out which fifty percent of marketing works.
One of the things I liked about this book was that it was an all-you-can-eat buffet, offering tons of different marketing options. In all her smorgasbord of options, Joanna was careful to compare them side by side (short vs. long term, paid vs. free, traditional vs. indie, etc.), going into detail in each category and differentiating between selling fiction and nonfiction.
The best part was that she didn’t force me to try everything or insist that one option was better than another. I could eat what I like, as much as I like, whenever I like. She told me that it didn’t matter if marketing technique number 3,567 works most effectively—the main question is:
Does it work for me?
Doing what you love is the only effective way to market—otherwise, it’s like serving strawberries at a party when you know they give you hives. Quoting Austin Kleon, Joanna writes “Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love, and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.”*
Joanna showed me that marketing my book is literally serving my book—because whatever marketing I do should serve others. I need to offer them something nutritious, delicious, and isn’t a bunch of preservative-packed paragraphs that are only good for causing cavities in the brain. The only way to get is to give of myself and let my personality become my marketing strategy (which can be scary, because I’m not sure I want everyone to know how nutty I am).
The part I found most helpful (or likable, or whatever you want to call it) was the long-term marketing section. Short-term marketing is great, but I really like the idea of building something that will last through our frequent meteor showers. The part I found least helpful was the video marketing section. Not that her advice wasn’t helpful, but making videos doesn’t work for dinosaurs. Have you ever tried YouTubing yourself from the shoulder up? That doesn’t work so well for brachiosauruses. You see more of their neck than anything. And forget about the T. Rexes. No matter how many times you tell them, they won’t look at the camera unless it’s moving!