Monday, August 3, 2015

Marketing 101 for Authors: What Exactly Is Marketing?

Before I became a creative entrepreneur, I was a marketing person. I hated it. Mostly because it was all extroverted people being fabulous and I was a quiet thinker trying really hard to pretend I was like them. I wasn’t. But that’s a different story.

While marketing as a job wasn’t right for me, I’m grateful for the things I learned. I apply these concepts to my business and have from the beginning and I think it’s helped me stay on track and make decisions that are right for my business and brand.

I also see a lot of writers struggle with this, and not just in the “I just want to write and not market” kind of way. I mean they struggle with making the right decisions for them because they’re getting a lot of input from agents and editors and other writers and aren’t sure what they should really be doing. But when you understand what marketing really is (and what it isn’t) you’ll have an easier time deciding which marketing activities are worth your time.

What Marketing Is

For now, let me talk about what marketing is. The AMA says that: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Let me simplify it: Marketing is everything that touches your ideal readers.

In other words, marketing isn’t just sales. And if you thought it was, you’re not alone. A lot of people who work in business make this mistake. Some people say “sales and marketing” and even that’s not an accurate description. Sales is not equal to marketing. They aren’t partners. Sales is an element of marketing. 

So if you think your marketing efforts have failed because you aren't making money, you'll have to be more specific to determine where your efforts have fallen short. 

You’ve probably heard of the “marketing umbrella” which is an oldie but still holds true. The whole umbrella of activities is what you do to “market” and each item underneath that umbrella adds to your marketing effort. Here’s a graphic, but keep in mind there are MANY other things that can go under this author marketing umbrella.

Some authors rely heavily on one type of marketing activity (say, social media or even producing more books) and others spread things here and there throughout all the options. What’s right for you and your business will depend on your ROI or return on investment. But be careful with this! It’s not as straightforward a calculation as you would imagine. (I’ll get more into this in another post.)

Books Are Marketing?

Yes. Your books are a part of your marketing effort. Books can prompt sales of other books, they can be used as giveaways to get the word out about your brand, and they can act as a calling card to represent you. Sure, the goal is to sell books but don’t forget the product of the book in that equation. (Which is another reason why having an outstanding book cover and title is as important as the writing itself.)

How Often Do You Have to Market?

The method and frequency of your marketing efforts should be directly related to your goals. If you “just want to put a book out” you don’t need to do any marketing. How’s that? Just sit back and write. No one will probably find your writing, but that’s okay because that’s not your goal.
Or is it? If you actually do want to sell books, you’ll need to market, and before you can determine what you should do, you need to make a goal that measurable and clear. When you do that, how you spend your marketing time and money will be an easy decision.

Marketing isn’t just one thing, one article, one tweet, or even one advertising campaign. It’s a series of actions and items that are meant to grab a reader’s attention. 

Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She's written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: How to (Really) Make Money BloggingVisit her website for more info,

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: Our Lost Constitution

by Senator Mike Lee

            In this important book, Senator Lee makes his opinion crystal clear in the subtitle: "The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document." So strong an opinion would be difficult to prove. Not only must he prove that the Constitution has been subverted, but that it has been done willfully. However, Lee brings to the task a commendable expertise not only on law and jurisprudence, but also broad knowledge of minute details of history. His understanding of law began early, for his father was the "founding dean of BYU's law school" and later solicitor general of the United States. This background and his own study engendered a profound respect for the Constitution of the United States.

            Lee's book is divided into two parts: "The Lost Clauses" and "Reclaiming the Lost Clauses." The lost clauses include "Origination" (all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives), the Legislative Powers Clause (only Congress may legislate), the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment (searches and seizures), and the Tenth Amendment (states' rights).
            Lee's method is to recount in detail the how and why those clauses found their way into the Constitution, the tensions among the various states, and the compromises that made the solutions palatable if not comfortable for all the states. He then explains in equal detail the how and why those provisions have been subverted.
            Typical is the chapter on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." As originally understood, this applied to the U.S. Congress, not to the states. The established churches of several states were not affected, but the clause prevented the U.S. Congress from establishing a national church. The federal government continued to encourage and often fund various religious activities.

            The change came in 1947 from the pen of Justice Hugo Black, the former Alabama Klansman who held a lifelong hatred for the Roman Catholic Church. Black extended the establishment clause to apply to the states and applied the "wall of separation" phrase from a letter by Thomas Jefferson as if it had the force of law. In a later opinion he forced removal of a voluntary religious education course from public school property. Litigants and later courts have taken the situation downhill from there.

            The other "lost clauses" receive similar treatment. The Reclaiming section has chapters on court action, legislative action, power of the purse, and action by individual citizens. The individual can become knowledgeable of the Constitution and influence the attitudes those around him, leading eventually to electing officials who respect the Constitution. Lee concedes that this will be the work of decades, but holds it well worth the sustained effort.
            From the subject matter described, one might think that Lee's book is heavy reading. But instead it is written in conversational style and tone. Lee's personality comes through the writing as a likable person most of us would be happy to know. Readers may disagree with some of Lee's evaluations of current situations, but they will come from the book much better informed on some of the most important provisions of our Constitution and their history.
 --Reviewed by Donn Taylor 

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