Brand Me, Love Me, Share Me with Your Friends

My mind is on three things this month: (1) Finding the motivation to finish my novel; (2) Choosing a project for Camp NaNoWriMo; & (3) Marketing. If you all have come to know me by now, you know that the writing motivation is a constant struggle for me. There is always an excuse not to put in the work. Somehow the struggle has gotten worse, as I’m now so close to finishing my first draft. I still think much of this is due to the fear of progressing fully to that first stage of editing. Am I going to read the completed book and hate it so much that I print a hard copy just to throw the whole thing in the trash?

If I could just accomplish #1, accomplishing #2 might not be so difficult. I have finally settled on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month (a springtime and more flexible version of November’s National Novel Writing Month). My current conundrum is deciding on a writing project and setting a goal. Since I am technically not finished with my novel, should I set a very plausible goal of writing 10,000 words toward its completion? Then again, my heart would so love to have this novel completed before April 1st rolls around, so that I may start editing in April. Should my goal then be focused on editing my novel for “X” number hours instead? Should I just throw caution and planning to the wind, table this novel, and start a brand new novel? I think I’ve almost totally ruled out the last option, but I don’t trust myself enough to say for certain yet!

Then comes thoughts of next steps. I’m a planner by nature, so, even though my novel is incomplete, I’m learning about and attempting to outline next steps. I’ve been absorbing as much advice as possible about branding and marketing oneself as an author. Even planning to pursue the route of traditional book publishing first, it seems as if much of the marketing is still left up to the author. Obviously, it would be better to have a solid social media following in place beforehand, so that many people line up to buy your novel once released. This seems much easier said than done. I definitely wouldn’t not describe myself as an adopter of social media, but there are many social media platforms that I don’t utilize at all. I guess a blog is a good start, but it’s only that…a start. Then there’s the question of how to lay out a marketing plan and utilize social media to the best of one’s ability, when considering using a penname. Certainly I can put the time and effort into setting up my author page on multiple social media platforms—using my real name or a pseudonym—but that doesn’t mean that I’ll actually generate (and retain) followers either.

 It certainly seems like marketing oneself takes a great deal of skill, magic, and…money. Having a dedicated author website and following the most touted online advice in doing so means that I should plan to shell out not too small an amount of money per month/year for my desired domain name, hosting, website customization, etc. I’m also reading that in-person marketing can be just as important as virtual marketing. I actually believe traveling to writers’ conferences could be helpful for furthering my own knowledge and skill as a writer, with the added bonus of providing exceptional opportunities for networking. However, writers’ organization memberships and conference attendance fees can be very expensive. All of this is a lot to consider, especially with my having no prior experience in this arena and currently receiving no revenue from writing.

Basically, there’s a lot on my mind this month! I don’t pretend to have any of the answers yet. As always, I plan to keep you updated on my writing and (hopefully) publishing journey at each stage. If any of you are also writers, I’d love to hear if you have faced similar challenges with motivation and marketing! Misery loves company. If you’re enjoying Love & Other Mugs, (shameless plug) please do tell your friends and followers about us!

-AW

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