As always, NJRW’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference did not disappoint. From the moment I stepped into the hotel until the final day of presenting and pitching, it was wonderful to be surrounded by writer friends. Speakers tackled numerous subjects, from romance supporting feminism to finding conflict through mythology. Best-selling authors taught how to craft scenes, build characters, and devise conflict. (Beyond the content, I was truly impressed with the volunteers who made the days flow smoothly!)
This year, I was excited to share insights on the role of mindset in marketing. During previous conferences, I’d spoken about author brand, visual identity and book cover design, crafting marketing plans, and how to write authentic Millennial characters. Throughout these talks, audiences described marketing challenges that writers face. While time, money, and know-how are perennial issues, we also uncovered thought patterns that can be misconceptions.
So, along with several dozen talented writers, we discussed these mindset obstacles and ways to overcome them:
- • silver bullet myth: it can be easy to be jealous of writers who seem to succeed overnight and wonder what their silver bullet ‘trick’ is. Marketers know, though, that there isn’t one tactic to reach and convert all potential readers overnight. Instead, it’s better to focus on the ‘butterfly effect’ that you’re creating – the ripple effect from each action that builds your brand and awareness. Just as we write our books one sentence at a time, we build our audience one reader at a time.
- • readers think writing is easy (because it’s easy to fall into a good book!) So, consider applying Harvard Business Review’s finding that when people see the work that goes into a product or service, they value it more. Called operational transparency, this idea can inspire writers to show readers a bit of their behind-the-scenes process (see link to article below)
- • sometimes we don’t want to shift from the creativity of writing to the drudgery of marketing. Together, we discussed the benefit of embracing marketing as an act of creativity. For example, one author told us that creating her promotional materials gave her another chance to spend time with the characters she loved (thanks for sharing, Judith!).
- • if you feel that self-promotion can be crass, consider the reason you’re doing this work – the message you’re conveying, or the value of entertaining readers. Then, shine the spotlight on your audience and that benefit, rather than feeling shy about having the spotlight on you.
Of course, this is a summary from a full talk. If you want to hear more, reach out to book me for your event! For now, I’m sending huge thanks to all the authors who joined me for this stimulating discussion, and for the amazing NJRW crew who worked tirelessly to organize the conference! .
Carol Van Den Hende, MBA