Almost everyday I talk to book authors who have different ideas on how they think their book should be marketed. Everyone has a different approach to the way they think about "self promotion." A handful of authors are really interested in doing lots of lectures and workshops to promote their books... and that really works to their advantage. On the other hand, I find that many writers I talk with think of "self promotion" as an unsavory part of the business. I totally understand. For most people the act of writing is an art form. An act of creation. It's easy to understand the hesitance one might feel when it comes time to sell the work.
The good news is that Marketing doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as it did in the old days. The internet has changed the rules and forced marketers to rethink their old approach of "advertising to the masses."
I recently read a great book about new theories on Marketing titled The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. The book discusses using tools like blogs, podcasting and other online media to reach your audience. This book is full of great ideas about innovative ways to use the internet to market "content". Scott says, "people want authenticity, not spin . . . people want participation, not propaganda."
This message is a hopeful one for anyone who is worried about maintaining the integrity of what they are marketing. As writers, we should all take this message to heart. Marketing our writing and promoting our work should be considered an extension of the writing itself. It's another way of connecting with the reader. It's a way to inform and entertain. Marketing is no longer a "sales pitch". It's the sharing of information. Your audience wants to find out about new things and they want to be entertained. By sharing content with them (either through excerpts of your writing, information about events or related news topics) you are giving them what they want. And you are also getting your work and your name in front of them. Encourage feedback and find ways to make yourself accessible. Just like the act of writing, communication is what marketing your work is all about.