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 4 - Marketing
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– Four –
Marketing tools for Self Publishing
Marketing – Marketing – Marketing
     How does one differentiate the product from the individual who created the product?  Which is more significant – the Product – or the Individual?  Actually, they both are very important in the marketing game.  An aspiring writer should take time to devote promotional efforts for one's self as well as one's products.  
     In this first elaboration, we will discuss the promotional avenues available to an individual -– with an understanding that your product is certainly vitally essential, but the product may not be completed, or perhaps as yet non-existent.
     If you have a partner, spouse or ally – promotions are always made easier.  However, in my case, I am alone and without companion support – but I enjoy the benefit of being without a partner's potentially injurious lack of approval or endorsement.  But, for certain, a supportive companion can uplift and share in the marketing effort – and even bathe in the glory of their mate's person and product.
     Okay!  Marketing the individual takes attitude, creativity, and time.  You must identify with your product and, for starters – let's assume that you are a member of a church and you will write your deceased mother's biography.
     Now that this is spread on the table – we have identified the author, the genre of the product, the main character, something about the setting, and an allusion to a book title.  It is important that you select subject matter which is familiar to you and just as important to weigh in on a literary style that you can be comfortable with.  The “Literary Genre” in this case will be Biographic -- Non-Fiction –- therefore connoting an historic sense of place, time, and character.
     Since we have used the above description as a brief entre to your product, and without delving into literary style or techniques of writing – we must keep our focus on marketing.  By scribbling out an outline and generating a few pages of comments, you will enlarge your cast of characters.  Example: “My sister, Marilyn was always close to my mother.  I recall after graduation when . . . “ and, ”My aunt Sarah, was the darling of my mother's attention.  Aunt Sarah always said . . . “ and, ”Grammy was a sweetheart, even though she was appalled by my dad's dining habits, she would . . . “  – And, be sure to include each of them in your marketing team.
     Even if your primary desire in genre selection is Fiction or Non-fiction, Crime, Horror, History, Romance, or poetic prose, etc. – write what you are most comfortable with – even if you wind up with four, five, or more, half-started incomplete novellas.  (The great thing about modern computers is the amount of available storage space where you can keep all your incomplete material tucked away for another day.)  
     If you feel comfortable with someone, invite them to read and critique your rambling pages.  This is when having a computer is important.  You can store the original copy along with variations and changes to the original in different files.  You can print out whatever portion or portions you wish to be edited by your selected invitee.  If their critique is not of value in a literary sense, then disregard it promptly.
     It is important that you reinforce your attitude with a positive advantage.  Do not accept rebukes.  A good marketing stance takes boldness.  After you have been evaluated by Sister Marilyn, Aunt Sarah, and Grammy, take their comments as genuine and if any of them were not conducive to your completing the biography, then put their character aside until later, or make them a lesser character in your finished book.  Remember, your main character is your mother – so expand outward to her friends and associates in the neighborhood, the clubs, the church, or elsewhere.
     An interesting facet to writing about someone related to you, is that you should also include yourself as a significant character.  In this regard, as you input memoirs of your mother, you are also creating computer files on your own memoirs – which later can be a part of an auto-biography, or simply a character in your eventual intended-for Romance Novel or Mystery.
     Also, you are creating resumé information about the Author of your Product — You!
     So, how does one market their alter-ego?  Initially, by simply telling everyone you know – that you are writing about “such and such.”  Ask them if they have any suggestions.  Accept them eagerly.  Then move to the next person without burdening previous ones unless they ask of you during future encounters.  Join the same clubs or types of clubs that your mother had participated in.  Go to church services to sense her feelings and impressions in which she may have been absorbed.  Examine the church walls, the statues, the pictures, the furnishings, the backdrop, the entrance, the surroundings.  Ask if there had been changes since your mother's participation.  
     You are learning more about your mother.  You are letting people know what you are about and most of them will compliment you for your devotion.  You are making acquaintances.  You are expanding to other groups.  You are Marketing!
     While your writings are still in the literary mold – call the local universities to find out if they have any writing classes that you may attend.  Ask if there is a writer's circle.  Go to the library to find books that describe the era of time in which your mother lived.  Ask the librarians about local writers in the community and try to make their acquaintance.  Ask if there is a Writers Organization in your town or city, or a neighboring town or city.  Ask about the “Friends of the Library” organizations.
     Back to the computer.  If you have one, many of the above questions can be queried via the “Internet.”  However, visiting local libraries is a must in planning your promotional endeavors.
    Another benefit of having a computer is to print out a short run of business cards.  What! -- Business Cards?  Yep, Business Cards!  Be creative - below your name, address, etc.,  add a title – “Writer-in-Waiting” – “Author – Author” – “Keeper of My Mother's Diary”  –  “Member - Literary Guild”
      By the way, my handle on business cards has a logo and includes my self-made title — “Historiographer and Scrutinier.” When asked, which is almost always, I explain, “A Historiographer is a writer of history — And Scrutinier – means scrutiny with authority – I do a lot of research.”
     Promoting oneself is an evolving process.  One step at a time.  Trial and Error.  Tried and True.  Presenting a business card is like sending an invitation to a party through the mail, but it costs a lot less – and is very effective.  Business cards have shelf life!  And, it doesn't hurt to continue changing your business card logo and title until you get the one or ones that best fit your personality.
     Remember – once you join an organization or club – make a few meetings.  Regular members will be glad that you take the time to show – even if on an infrequent basis.

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