Two Schools of Marketing for Writers
Marketing-wise, I am no archmage marketer, but I've been trying to figure out how to approach the online presence of my editing business. I came across two distinct schools of thought as I studied the topic.
School #1 tells you to shout as loud as you can, as often as you can. It promises that if you keep yelling "BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK!" at passers-by, someone will inevitably buy your book. This school dominates practically every online article on marketing, leading to a widespread view that this is how things are done in the industry. But stop for a moment and consider what you read and where you’ve read it. The chances are that you’re being led down the marketing funnel of tools and services that can help you shout louder, or to a bigger crowd. That, maybe, if you spend enough money on marketing, you will sell more books, and earn more money. School #1 is easy to understand and easy to apply. If it’s not working, it says, then you’re probably not spending enough.
School #2, called white-hat marketing, says that if you’re kind and generous, and pay attention to strangers, the same strangers will pay attention to you in return. It says that great ideas spread. It tells you that your task is not to shout but to build visibility and trust. It says that you need to be genuine and put yourself out there in ways that no one can fake. And most importantly, it says that before you'd like to serve the masses, you need to learn how to serve the few. Instead of trying to write a book that the masses can enjoy, write a book at least ten people can enjoy.
If you want to read up on it, check out Seth Godin.
All writers are marketers nowadays, whether we want it or not. We might as well learn to do it well.