Monday, February 7, 2011

MM - Your Blog IS a Marketing Tool, Whether You Like It or Not

This week is crazy-busy with my benefit book signing Thursday and real life in general, so just a quick Monday Marketing note today. Once again, I'm pointing you over to Tawna Fenske's blog because, along with another discussion, she wrote about something that got me to thinking.

Her post is about how some writers play the victim when it comes to the querying process, complaining on their own blogs (and other social media) about rejection after rejection and agents who are too stupid to be in the business. Okay, she didn't exactly say that last part, but implied it because we've all seen or heard about writers who do say these exact words. I don't understand why writers do this because it only hurts themselves. Which brought me to my point here.

Whether we like it or not, our blogs are marketing tools. Let's go back to one of the basic definitions of marketing: "any contact between the company/product and the public." This can be Price/Cost, Place/Convenience, Product/Customer Needs and Promotions/Communications. All of these are contact points between the two parties and note that last one, specifically "Communications." You are the company/product and your blog is a Communications tool that reaches the public...and your potential customers.

Many authors post on their blogs, after their debut book's release, that their blog will never be used as a marketing tool for their books, that they'll keep doing what they're doing and their readers don't need to worry. But...




Their blogs have always been a marketing tool, whether they realize it or not, whether they like it or not. They have been communicating in a public space, accessible by anyone, including potential agents, editors and readers. In fact, they have built up their readership base with their blog, which is the goal of a marketing tool.

Any marketing piece - from query letter to advertisement - needs to emphasize the positive and downplay or ignore the negative (unless you can address it in a positive way). This includes your blog. Going back to Tawna's point, you wouldn't write in your query letter, "114 agents rejected me but they don't know jack, so I'm sending this to you," so why would you do it on your blog or in other social media outlets? Agents do check you out if they're at all interested. And most don't want to work with a negative, complaining, bitchy writer.

Put yourself and your books in the best light possible, regardless of where you are in the publishing process and what obstacles you've had to endure. If you want to talk about rejections and other hard-knocks, do it privately or address it in a positive way. And never forget that your blog is a marketing tool, whether you like it or not.

Your turn: Have you ever seen one of these rants from a writer? What kind of impression did you get of that person? Is it someone you would want to work with? Have I given you a new way to look at your blog? And do you follow Tawna? Because if you don't, you should. Her posts are highly entertaining and sometimes even make a "point" (heh - if you follow her, you get this).


  1. Honestly, I have seen someone who has really negative posts they put up whenever they get a rejection. They not only show who and why but they whine about it. I can understand wanting to be honest about getting rejected but there is a good way to post about it and a bad way. Whining and complaining like it's the worst thing in the world or that they are terrible for sending a rejection is not the way to do it.

    There is a way to post about rejections that is good and one that is bad. Posting about how the world is going to end, about how bad the agent is or going on forever about how they want to give up... That is not the right way. It's understandable to be upset and discouraged but it's not only unprofessional but can be depressing to readers.

    And this is true on twitter too. It's one thing to be real, but very different to be so unprofessional. Agents and editors can research and see that, so people need to remember those factors when posting.

  2. Every writer/blogger needs to read this! You're right, it is so important to remember that agents and editors do read these things when considering an author.

  3. I write about my writing, especially the parts I hate to write about or editing but I never ever talk about the negatives of querying etc. I do the opposite. I have raved about gracious and helpful rejections. Gotta be careful on your blog!

  4. Dawn, you're right on - there's a way to handle it where you don't make yourself look stupid. And yes, it applies on Twitter and all social media...anywhere on the web!

  5. Heather, right - agents and editors do their homework. And once you're published, so do the media, readers, potential TV and movie producers, etc. There's so much we can't control, but we can definitely control what comes out of our mouths...or fingers.

  6. Alison, there are so many other things to write about. Raving about a rejection is awesome! Rene did an awesome job of that here:

  7. Google is so omnipresent, I wonder why people forget it exists. I use Google to check agents and publishers I've never heard of.

    "X Scam" and "X horrible" are two of my favorite searches. I love it when I can't find a person or publisher with them, but I've got to check. I would expect any agent/publisher seriously considering working with me to Google me as well.


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