When Walter Danley signed up for my newsletter, as is my custom I sent him a personal welcome. I asked Walter if he had any specific questions he’d like to see answered.
In response to your query, I have two issues I’d like answers to.
- If I found a short cut to the promotion of the book, I could finish one of the two WIP that need me.
- Does paid advertising work, and if so, how would you measure the ROI?
Now, Joel, I read your comments about advice being free if it’s in your head. Please don’t do a ton of research on these questions!
I’ll answer #2 right now: advertising amplifies visibility.
If you are invisible, advertising is like multiplying by zero. (In this case, invisible is relative, not absolute.)
Before we use others’ platforms to extend our reach, we have to become visible.
We become visible by giving. Generosity is your greatest marketing tool. When we help others, they remember us. When we listen, they think we’re a great conversationalist. When we thank them sincerely, they think we gave them something. When we point others at them, when we’re a fan and we say so, they remember us.
And then, we’re not invisible any more.
And guess what? When you’re not invisible, the only type of product that benefits from advertising is a commodity. Luxuries don’t need advertising. People will seek them out.
How often do you see television ads for a truly fine or unique restaurant? Chili’s and Applebee’s, yeah, but Franklin Barbecue in Austin? Forget it. Their closing time is “when we sell out.” As in, when they have nothing left to sell. Gone. Empty. Who doesn’t want that result?
Why should they advertise? They’re so special, unique, people seek them out from miles, hours, states away.
Your book could be viewed as a commodity. There are far more books than we really need right now. It’s like that closet full of toilet paper you got on sale.
But your book should be viewed as the printed equivalent of Franklin Barbecue. “There is only one place in the world to get this stuff, folks, and it’s right here. Come and get it!”
And this is where I segue into your first question: becoming visible takes time. As they say on the licensing documentation for building contractors, getting 5 years’ experience takes about 5 years. The only “shortcut” is to do the work so it doesn’t take longer than that.
Marketing is a long game. If you’ve got a long drive, starting later doesn’t make it take less time. It just means you’ll arrive even later than if you started now.
Great questions. And important for other authors to hear that they’re not alone in asking them.