Not too long ago, I read Susan Kaye Quinn's Indie Author Survival Guide. I found much of her advice helpful but ran screaming at the prospect of a five year marketing plan like she recommended. Why? Because I HATE marketing. I hate everything about marketing. When I decided to take up writing, I pictured myself alone with my laptop, the sound of my fingertips hitting the keys filling the air. I never imagined I'd be #retweeting people on Twitter or responding to fb comments. I didn't even know what these things were. I like signing. I always say they're like a nerd girl's rock show, but those are becoming harder to book and less productive. So how could I create a five year marketing plan? More daunting than that, the thought of marketing for five years made me not want to write.
Then I found Write.Publish.Repeat. There is a whole section on "funnel marketing," a term I'd never heard before. Simply put, funnel marketing is using a free product to funnel sales into a paid product. I knew the benefits of sampling, and from experience I knew it worked. When The Other Marlowe Girl was released, I made The Fate of A Marlowe Girl available for free. That coupled with Reader's blog tour, put TOMG on amazon's inspirational best seller's list for a while. And it really isn't even inspirational.
Since then I've paid for blog tours, twitter parties and an assortment of other things. Nothing worked. Not to mention, I hated it. I'd rather be writing than doing just about anything else. Write.Publish.Repeat said that if you're releasing a series, your funnel product is obviously the first in the series. But what about stand alones? The authors suggested creating a short story or novella to help sell a stand alone. I felt so stupid for never thinking about this before. The idea of writing a prequel to sell existing products had never crossed my mind. I have two goals: 1) make a million dollars writing 2)write a million words. Part of what drives me insane about marketing is that I'm wasting precious time on something that doesn't seem to be fulfilling either one of these goals. The reason that the term "funnel marketing" immediately caught my attention is because it's writing. I'm writing to market writing. Assuming, it's ineffective as a marketing strategy those words still fulfill one of my goals. They will get me to a million words quicker.
But... my next thought was I have to package books (you're funnel product is a REAL product and needs to be professional) that I have no intention of making money off of. But then I realized I could spend up to $80 on a cover and still come out significantly cheaper than all the other marketing tactics I've tried. And there is more potential for this to work. The people you're marketing to are already interested in you or the story, so you're essentially marketing to a soft audience. You just need click through.
And now I have a five year marketing plan. It's all caught up in my funnels.