We are going to post our comments regarding Dineen’s article on Friday the 18th because it really belongs on our Finer Points day, instead of Myth-busting Monday.
For today: Networking is not Marketing.
Marketing is what you do when you have a product or service to sell. Marketing is the preliminary stage to advertising and promotions. Marketing is preparing and presenting your product (book) in the best possible way so your target market (customers) will see it.
Networking is what you do with your Persona. Networking is what you do on Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus, Facebook, or whatever you do online. Networking is what you do with colleagues and others within your professional industry or area of interest. Networking is what you do in person as you live your life, connecting with people beyond your core friends and family. (Do you always go to the same cashier at the grocery store? Consider that cashier part of your food network - and a potential reader!)
You can Market your book to your networks, and hope your Persona has generated enough interest for people in your network to read, review, and chat about your book. When people in your network do that, they are marketing your book for you. It’s the most awesome way to get the word out – word of mouth endorsements are huge!
Networking as a writer with other writers is also huge! Writers are readers but also mentors, colleagues, friends, and your support system on your journey to create books – then as you create your career writing more books. Yes, they are part of your target market but READERS are your ultimate market and they are really only interested in The Book.
When readers connect with your Author Persona because they want to know the creator of that fabulous story, they may become part of your reader network but ultimately, they are FANS and CUSTOMERS. They are also exceptionally fickle and can easily be fans and loyal customers to lots of authors. Your writer network may be tolerant of writer angst, readers could cut you off if they hear the same. This is why your Author Persona must be clearly defined prior to marketing your books.
All a reader wants to know is what other books you have that they will love and purchase. You appreciate their contact and interest and:
- Add them to your notification list for when you have a release date for your next book.
- Promote your backlist, and your blog (or whatever social media you are happy to do.)
- Promote your RECOMMEND page on your website.
This is where your website matters the most, and where you’ve culled a list of favorite books and authors to endorse from writer friends in your networks. You are now marketing books from your network to your readers and retaining an avid fan.