- Guest Post by David Mark Brown
There could be a lot of answers to this question. If you've ever gotten as desperate as I have, you've considered selling your wife's prescription drugs (sorry, honey). But seriously, are writers these days better off to see themselves as purveyors of the written word, or shameless hustlers of their own person?
As I see it, there are two basic options.
Am I selling the books I produce? Or am I selling my personal brand? You may ask, "What's the difference, you delusional freak?" Well, gentle reader, I'll tell you.
If I'm trying to sell books or written word products seen as separate entities from myself then anything I write or spend time on which does not contribute to the sale of said books should be stopped (or not started to begin with). Rarely, if ever, should I embrace selling products at the $0.00 price point since that results in a net loss and devaluation of my labor hour. Blogging is a time and therefore money drain for a product difficult to monetize. Etc.
In contrast, if I'm trying to essentially sell myself as a brand name my work focus shifts dramatically. Now apparent time drains such as a personal blog, social media sites and reading communities such as Goodreads become viable marketing and platform development tools.
Price points become fluid and "giving it away for free" becomes an everyday assumption. A writer selling themselves (rather than products) provides advice, friendly tips, comments, encouragement, reviews, ideas and even prose (short and long) for free on a daily basis. The undergirding philosophy is most often called "content marketing."
For a writer, content marketing basically means letting your writing advertise for you. (Rather than some expensive and/or annoying advertisement that gives the potential reader no enjoyment at all.)
Of course the trick is to employ content marketing as a means of personal brand building while still managing to make money. If a writer opts to sell her own personal brand how can she go about making money if she regularly gives work away for free or next to it?
Most people would say something like by building trust or providing convenience. Personally I'm still trying to figure this last part out. Honestly, I'm not currently making enough money to sustain being a full time writer supporting his family (not for much longer anyway).
But if I understand the idea, I am to make myself available enough and valuable enough to readers until they are willing to plop down a few bucks for a cleaner formatted product (over something they might read on my blog or on a free reading site like Wattpad), and/or until they trust that my next product will be worth a few bucks. And the next one after that, and so on and so forth.
Converts Over Sales
At that point I've made a convert not just a sale. There is no doubt in my mind converts are harder to make than sales. I've seen very poorly written and wonderfully marketed books generate momentary sales (quite a lot of them actually). But these sort of sales make a career will not. Ultimately a career as novelist is what I'm striving for. So for now I'll continue to strive for selling myself as a personal brand, even if the profit margin is low. When my brand becomes a shining beacon, people will be more than willing to pay.
To sample my brand, head on over to my blog where my Lost DMB Filessplash page will enlighten you, or check out my author page on Amazon. If in the long run I make a convert or two from this post, then the blood, sweat and tears* shed during the writing will all be worth it.
(*the sweat and tears are figurative.)
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Genre - Action Thriller / Horror / Zombie
Rating - PG13
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