So, I realized something about myself. I always knew I was bad at marketing, but I now think I understand the root cause of this predicament: I'm not a sales person, I'm a helper.
In the world outside of the internet, most people don't know me as the author, Hollow Ryan. Instead, most people recognize me as the cute girl at the hardware that can help you with plumbing and paint. And that's perfectly fine because that's who I am supposed to be.
When someone comes into my store, the first thing we're trained to do is greet them and ask how we can help. That's it. That's my job. I'm not there to sell you anything you don't need. My purpose is to figure out what you're working on, what you need to complete the job, and send you on your way knowing that I did my best to make sure you can finish your project.
That's a whole lot different than being a salesperson. My wife and I were discussing it a few weeks ago, how those in her stores are trained and expected to sell items. They're expected to be knowledgeable about product and are expected to be able to approach customers and recommend items.
The patrons of my hardware are a healthy mix of individuals. We have the locals who know what they're looking for and where to find it, tourists just browsing, people who have one item in mind, but they want to navigate the store on their own, and the fun tourists who like to test my knowledge on the location of every item in the store. (Which I pass with flying colors 98 times out of 100.) Yet, when it comes to actually needing to approach customers, it's not with the intent to sell them something. It's to help them.
If I had been trained differently or started my retail experience in a more sales-heavy environment, my approach to marketing would probably be a lot different. But I wasn't and I didn't. So here we are.
It's very difficult for me to sell my books. I can't sit here and tell you that they're the best things you'll ever read and that you need to sit down and enjoy them right now. That's not what I can do. While I do think many people would enjoy it, if I know it's not your preferred genre, I won't recommend it. If I know it's not your preferred age range, I won't recommend. If I don't know that my books would be to your taste, I don't recommend.
Often in writer circles you hear the term 'imposter syndrome' meaning that the writer doesn't feel like they're a real author for a number of reasons.
I've never had that. I'm not insecure about my work; I know how I've improved and I stand by the Prideful Magick Collection 100%. I'm a real author. It doesn't matter how much I sell because I still wrote those five books, rewrote them, edited, and published them. All of that hard work, I was there for. I'm a real author and no one can make me feel lesser.
That doesn't mean I don't have room for a lot more improvement. I don't know how to build a brand. I'm not great with finding an audience. (I always feel like I'm annoying people when I recommend my own works without knowing their preferences.) To be fair, I'm also really bad at writing for an audience; I write what I want and I don't go looking for people to market it to prior to having a finished product. Oops.
Writers hear it all the time: make sure there's a market for your work. If there's not, is it worth spending the time on?
Well, I don't know if there's a market, because I can't seem to find many books similar to what I write. Which, of course, is why I write: to have the stories I want to read.
Even if there was, I'd still say that's shit advice. It's always worth it to write what you want to. You just have to be prepared to look at a project and say that it was only meant to help you improve your skills rather than your bank account.
Which is another problem of mine, probably. While I want to make a living off my writing, I'm still the type of person that would rather write what she wants than what's on the market. (Guess that means I'll just have to be a trend setter, not a follower.)
So that pretty much explains what my issues with marketing are.
1. I'm a helper; not a seller.
2. I don't put enough work or research into building my brand.
3. I have no interest in anything that's trending; I'd prefer to make my own trends.
And now off to finish this chapter of BE and go to bed. Goodnight everyone and thanks for coming to my rambley little corner of the internet.