I'm new to marketing. My focus has always been on writing and publishing and unfortunately, without making much of an effort to make my work visible. I haven't used email marketing to reach out to readers and make those connections. Between working fulltime as a librarian and leading a busy creative life, I hadn't prioritized the marketing side of writing and that has hurt my writing career.
I listened to Joanna Penn's podcast with ConvertKit creator Nathan Barry. It struck a chord with me. I like the idea of learning from and connecting with readers. I talk to readers every day in the library. I know how much readers enjoy connecting with writers. With all of my background of author talks in the library, with talking to readers, recommending books, it seems odd that I haven't done more to connect with readers of my books. One of my fellow librarians, while talking to new employees, described me as a “stealth writer.”
A stealth writer?
That was actually a very insightful description of my approach to marketing my work. Which is to say that I don't. I have dabbled with a couple things (rarely), but I haven't really made any effort until now to change the situation.
Realizing that I do want to connect with readers, I signed up for ConvertKit. They do a wonderful job with their introductory material for new users. There is a great sequence of welcome emails, training materials on the site with goals, and lots of documentation. It's a bit overwhelming and scary to step out of the shadows and begin learning all of this. I'm comfortable with recommending books by other authors that I love (really enjoying Akata Witch by the wonderful Nnedi Okorafor right now), but I have a much harder time telling people about my books.
Although I've become comfortable with public speaking, training people, and presenting at conferences, I usually do that as a librarian. Or as a librarian/author focusing much more on the business of publishing. The difference? When talking about my writing it feels much more personal. I'm talking about my books. It sends my inner introvert scurrying for cover. There's also a degree of imposter syndrome. Yes, I wrote more than twenty novels since I decided to go ‘pro'. I've earned degrees and I've had a successful career as a professional librarian. It doesn't matter, I still feel that when talking about my work. It's one of the reasons that I wanted to restart the blog. I wanted to share what I'm struggling with, what I'm doing, and help other writers that face these same challenges.
Since I'm stepping out of the shadows, I'm going to offer a free book! I hope you'll signup, get the free book, enjoy it, and connect with me via email. I'd love to hear from you either on the list or in the comments.
C. Auguste Dupin applies his considerable intellect to help librarian Penny Copper solve the murders in the Reed Moore Library!
Ryan M. Williams lives a double life as a full-time career librarian and a multi-genre writer with over twenty books. He writes across a range of genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror, and romance. He earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.