Back to our discussion on Product, after last week's marketing hiatus for Mockingjay.
Last time, we discussed how Products are ideally developed to provide a new way to meet customers' needs - filling the gap between their problems and lack of good solutions. Today we'll talk about why Product is important to you - the writer, the reader, the job seeker, etc. And this is simple: Because, of the entire Marketing Mix depicted above, Product is where you have the most control.
This isn't usually true in our day jobs, where people in the Buying department choose the Products our companies sell or the Research & Development (R&D) team creates them. We usually don't have that much say in the Products. But, most of you are writers or book bloggers or just readers who at some point or another will have control over whatever "Product" you find yourself marketing (which is often yourself).
For writers working on a novel, your book is your Product. Right now, you have all the power over how good it is and how well it serves the customer. You are the creator, the decision-maker and the final say in it (until it's bought by a publisher, but first you have to get there). This is your chance to make the Product yours and to make it the. Best. Freakin'. Product. you can produce. The rest of the Marketing Mix will come in time and it will fall in place (whether it's you or your publisher doing it) when you have a frawesome Product - a mesmerizing, unforgettable book.
And very important: If you are seeking to be published the traditional way, this is the only time you have so much control over any of it. Once you sign on with an agent, you lose a lot of control, because it's now also the agent's Product. And once you sell your rights, you have to let go completely - the publisher now owns your Product. It's no longer just yours. So maximize the control you have now, while you can.
For book and other bloggers, your blog is your Product. **Aside: You may wonder why you should worry about marketing your blog. Because marketing gets followers. The more followers you have, the more influence you have. The more influence you have, the more free books and ARCs publishers will send you. Or the more connections you make in the industry. And the more connections you have, the more likely you'll meet that one person who can change your life.** Anyway...back to your Product. You also have entire control over your blog - its appearance, its organization and cleanliness, the topics you cover, your "voice" or attitude, etc.
And then, we are always our own Product. If you're looking for a job, you are the Product you're marketing. You can make your Product better by updating any skills, adding new abilities, gaining additional experience. You make yourself appear professional and sound desirable at your interviews. You have the control of how you present yourself as your Product.
If you're seeking out an agent, you are also the Product, as well as your book. After all, agents and publishers want someone who can produce more than one book. They want to launch your career so that all the time they devote to you as a debut author will be paid back for years down the road. They want to make sure you aren't difficult to work with, overly demanding or insecure, etc. You must market yourself as well as your book to land that agent.
We don't always get to control the Products we're responsible for in our day jobs. So when it comes to ourselves, our books, our blogs, etc., we need to take pride in our Product and embrace the control we have over how great it can be.
Next week we'll talk about one specific part of Product - packaging. In the meantime, please feel free to ask any questions. Or answer this one: What is one thing you can do this week to make your Product better?