Whatever you make or write, there will be a moment when you finish production and ready your product for sale. You may intend to make a new version in a year or a month or a week. You may already know that you’ll be changing the product in the future. You may even know that what you’re selling is broken or incomplete. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Mr. Software Developer.) But the moment you decide you’re no longer going to make changes to a particular product is the moment you transition from marketing to selling — even if you plan to track the product’s sales data and reception in the market in order to modify the product in the future.
It should be dawning on you by now that marketing isn’t a specific task or checklist, but an over-arching philosophy. Where selling means offering a product as it exists, marketing says listen, learn and adapt the product in perpetuity.
That’s the demarcation between the two. Marketing is endless: sales is terminal.
Marketing as Business Principle
Recognizing the omnipresent opportunity of marketing is important. If you are one hundred percent committed to writing your book your way, that says nothing useful about how you will try to sell that book. But even if you aren’t interested in marketing as a means of tailoring your title for the intended audience, there’s no end to the ways marketing can still be useful on the sales end.
Marketing isn’t making your product available, it’s designing your product for the market. Marketing isn’t advertising, it’s designing your ads for the market. Marketing isn’t pricing, it’s pricing your product for the market. Marketing isn’t customer service, it’s designing your customer service to understand, protect and expand your market.
In the end your authorial marketing efforts will be a mix of gut instinct, educated guesses and actual data, all blended in proportions defined by your personal goals and tolerance for risk. If you care passionately about what you have to say you’re probably going to listen to the market less. If you care passionately about being published, you’re probably going to listen to the market more.
What’s important is that your decisions be as fully informed as possible. Ignorance is ignorance, not courage. [ Read more ]