When throwing money isn’t an option


Say you’re a start-up solopreneur (as my friend Kemya Scott likes to call us D-I-Yers) with this great, new book. You are persuaded beyond a shadow of a doubt that this magnificent creation will save its owner time and money. Or, at the very least, entertain them.

The problem is — nobody knows about it.

Grassroots is a good thing, if you’re talking about lawn maintenance. But to the novice solopreneur, the grassroots approach is a time killer. Not only do  you have to make time to learn how to market, you also have to do it and be good at it.

You’d like to hire someone, but you just can’t afford it. Everyone you ask about doing it for you comes up with an eye-popping amount, and when you ask if there’s a lower price range they say something to the tune of “That’s-my-fee-and-I-don’t-apologize-for-it.” Which is fair and their right (I say the same thing when it comes to editing — it’s HARD work!!!). It doesn’t help grease your way out from between that rock and hard place though.

It also doesn’t help that, for the most part, marketing is an inexact science with no clear Return-On-Investment formula. For example, I sent out postcards announcing my first novel with a special deal on them. Not one of them connected with me for an order.

Does that mean it failed? Couldn’t they have bought a book from Amazon or some other retailer? If they did, I never would have known the difference because Amazon does not send me sales figures by region. I didn’t follow up with them, either. In marketing, consistency is key. Random messaging is not.

Something I found that works is this: the most successful marketers are the ones that combine the traditional stuff (mailings, flyers, bookmarks, etc.) with the newer stuff (QR codes, Hashable, social media, etc.) and do it cost-effectively, not cheaply. There IS a difference.

In promotions for my next book, that’s exactly what I did. My blog tour (traditional) is virtual (non-traditional) and I’m only sending out electronic copies (cost-maintenance).

Sounds great, right? I can’t tell you how many hours I spent sifting through blog forums and websites looking for people who reviewed e-books, my kind of fiction, and were open for submissions. Eventually, my curated list came down to under 100 reviewers. I didn’t hire anyone, but it did cost me time.

Remember my ketchup-and-cheese rule: just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Lastly, be encouraged! Surround yourself with people smarter than you and keep at it!

Hope this helps.

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2 thoughts on “When throwing money isn’t an option

  1. Bravo Brian, I couldn’t have said it better myself! There is a huge difference between cheap and cost-effective. And when you’re a DIY marketer, time is your most valuable resource. If you don’t have a marketing strategy that includes follow up, you can’t expect real results. You won’t get any.

    Surrounding yourself with people that complement your expertise and are willing to provide constructive feedback: priceless.

    Many thanks for the mention!

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