December 27, 2017 at 9:44 am #57767
Over the past two years, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life. My dream is to become an author/illustrator. Up until the past six months or so I remained silent to the writing and art world. That was fine, but now that I’m trying to pursue art/writing as a profession, I need to branch out. The problem is that I know little about marketing or building a platform. Josiah’s platforming article got me thinking, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on the subject (without becoming self-promoting or superficial)?
Do you know of any websites/magazines I could submit to?
What tips would you give for someone who is very introverted and knows very few people?
Also, I know it’s good to start an email list, but I’ve heard that people are required to list an address at the bottom of their emails. Is there any way to get around this? I could get a post office box, but I don’t want strangers to know the state (let alone the city) where I live.
What social media is best for marketing? Is a Facebook account helpful? I’m not on Facebook and I’d rather not join if at all possible, especially if I can market my products through other sources. How do you build an audience via social media?
Any advice on the subject of marketing would be much appreciated. 🙂
I have some other platform-related questions, but so y’all won’t be overloaded, I’ll save those for another post on another day. 😉December 27, 2017 at 10:07 am #57777
1. What kind of magazines are you looking for? Art magazines? Writing magazines? Fiction magazines? Something else? The Christian Writers Market Guide has a great index of different publications to submit to if you’re looking for options.
2. The internet is great for this. Figure out who your ideal audience is (age, gender, interests, passions) and figure out where they are online & who are the main people they follow. Then build connections via blog comments, forums (when applicable), guest posts, and other applicable ways.
3. There are other options than just a PO Box like going to your church and seeing if you could list it as your address, but if you don’t want people to know your city & state, you’re probably out of luck since reputable email service providers do require that by law (and if the provider doesn’t require that, I wouldn’t trust that provider since it’s already breaking the law and may do other things like steal your mailing list). :/ I will say that I don’t think putting your state or city out there puts you in any real danger (thanks to white pages & similar sites, people can either already figure out your address w/o that information most of the time, or they can’t even find it with that info), but if you’re not comfortable with that, I understand.
4. Depends on your audience demographic. If you have a big art focus, Instagram is probably your best bet, but it may be helpful joining others as well. Facebook would probably be helpful, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary. I’ve heard Pinterest is really good for marketing if you use it well (the KP Pinterest has been dead since July, but we’re still getting lots of leads from it without even touching it), but I’m not a Pinterest user, so I can’t comment much on that. 😛
Each social media site works differently in terms of how to grow it. The most important thing is to be regularly posting content that attracts your ideal audience. On Instagram & Twitter, you also want to find similar people in your niche whom you like, follow them, and engage with them via likes and comments, and there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back. The major things are persistence and research.December 27, 2017 at 10:14 am #57779
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@mariposa Great topic. I’m looking forward to what other people have to say.
For myself, I haven’t yet built a platform I can really base a business on, but I know that’s mainly my fault for not giving platform building enough attention. I have done a couple things with platform building though, and while some of them did not work, some of them definitely did. You can definitely build a platform and earn a living as a writer/illustrator. You might do it in a year, or you might do it in five, but you can do it.
I’d be happy to share some things that have worked for me, resources, etc.
A few things I’d say is to set three incremental goals. First, try to get 100 subscribers, then throw a party and try to get 1,000 subscribers. Throw a party again and then try to get 10,000 subscribers.
Also, this is something I haven’t done, but find myself thinking would be a good idea. #bigguiltmoment I would recommend asking someone to be your marketing coach. They don’t have to know much about marketing really, but they would keep you accountable. That way you don’t write an article and then delay in submitting it as a guest post like I’m doing right now. *grimace*
As for having your address on your email, I don’t think it’s that dangerous, though I don’t like it either. If it’s between giving away your address or not having an email list, definitely get an email list. However, you can set up a redirect address in another state. It allows you to keep your location secret while using a legitimate addresses and being able to receive mail. (Not that you’re likely to get any mail)
I know social media can be a good thing, but I definitely don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve been able to build my email list without using social media at all. Social media only has two legitimate purposes. 1. to get people on your email list. 2. To interact with your fans and bond with them. Both of these will take a lot of time though, so you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. I could offer a lot of pros and cons, but you have to answer this question for yourself.
While I’m not a social media expert, from some research I’ve done recently, I believe if your goal is to drive traffic to your email list, Pinterest is the best social media to use. Plus, you don’t have to be that social on it. It’s more about the content you post than your interactions with other people, though that still matters to some degree.
That’s all I’ll say for now. I’ve got to get some writing done this morning. 😉
🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢December 27, 2017 at 11:54 am #57787
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I will probably be more help with the “artist” part of your dream 🙂 So, here goes:
— As far as putting your address down for an email list: I use MailChimp and you have to add an address in there. One idea is to just put a bunch of X’s in place of your actual address. (It’s been awhile since I went through this step, so I don’t remember if it even worked ;)) Another idea is to make up a fake address like “625 Dreamer’s Ln. Magical City, NY 70000” – I don’t know if that would work either, but it might be something fun to try. I do not like putting my address out there either, so I understand your concern.
— Building an audience on social media: For Myrtle Glen Market I have an Instagram page and a Facebook page (I don’t have a personal FB [which is what you would need before building a business page], it’s under my mom’s account) – Honestly, I really don’t like Facebook that much so I don’t spend the majority of my time advertising, etc. on that particular platform. However, I do get quite a few orders for my jewelry through there, but with the things you are going to do I don’t think Facebook has to be a necessary tool in your belt.
Instagram seems to be a great place for artists. It allows you to have a “public portfolio” for your work. (I love your page, btw!)
I started Myrtle Glen Market at the end of 2016. So I’ve only had it for little over a year. Here are a few marketing tips that I’ve learned that might be helpful.
1) Patience – I had to learn that right at the beginning as my growth was small and customers were few. This is just a tip that I think is a result of whatever you do. 🙂
2) Personal – I would say one of the biggest things on social media is to be as personal as possible. And by personal, I mean “build relationships” – After people comment on my posts, I try to comment back. I also try to keep my posts somewhat regular. If I make it a priority to post at least twice a week, it keeps my audience engaged. Also, by occasionally posting a picture of yourself working on your art, or writing at your desk, shows your audience that you’re a real person just like them. People like “behind the scenes” and they like seeing who is the artist behind their art or who is the author behind the story – However, if you want to keep pretty private, then maybe just posting a picture of your hand “in motion” of drawing, or the back of you looking off into a sunset, etc. 🙂 (I know one girl who doesn’t post many pictures of herself, but her profile picture shows who she is) Those are just some things I’ve been told/learned. 😀
3) Building A Theme – not until a couple months ago did I really try to do this. It’s another form of art. I try to use the same “filter” on all of my pictures so they “flow” – I also do Picture, Lettering, Picture, Lettering, etc. That’s just what my theme looks like, but others create different themes. Some people “highlight” different colors in their theme. This is definitely not at all necessary, but it’s just another fun form of art for me to do 🙂
4) Gaining followers – I started MGM with a private account because I wanted to know who was following me and who was going to comment on my posts. Then I opened it up and started using hashtags, but what I found is that a lot of, we’ll just say, “unsavory characters” were finding my account and liking my posts. That made me uncomfortable. So, I locked my account down again. Eventually, I went public and instead of using hashtags, I did a few different things: I started commenting on posts of accounts I really liked, (this just started getting my name out there). I also learned this tip from another friend: Follow people and then they may follow you back. I find accounts that “look safe” and maybe they have a Bible verse in their description or something and then I request to follow them. For the most part they follow me back. This gets my name out there, as well as, allows me to somewhat “choose” who follows me, so I know what’s going on. Eventually, if you don’t want to follow them anymore, you can just unfollow. Or if someone follows me that looks shady, I just block them. (I still use hashtags occasionally, but am very selective on what hashtags I use) I’m sure there are lots of other ways to gain followers, those are just a few things I have heard/learned from other people.
5) Authors and Instagram – I follow Author S.D. Smith (who wrote The Green Ember series) and have really appreciated his account. He posts pictures of him and his family, his books, “fan art,” etc. and it really allows me to get to know the author behind the books. This is something that I think would be fun for authors! 🙂 It really personalizes the book.
All of that to say is like @daeus said, social media isn’t necessary at all, however, with the world getting more and more “techy” I’ve found social media to be very helpful in building a platform. Some people go all out and try to cover all of the social media bases, but for now I just use Instagram and Facebook. Instagram being my primary go-to. The other good thing about social media, is that it allows you to stay in the comfort of your own home, yet “interact” with your following. (Which is really nice for Introverts!! :))
I hope some of that helps. The tips I mentioned above are just things that I’ve done and I’ve learned, but are by no means “the way to go” 🙂 A lot of other people on here probably have way better ideas 🙂
But, if you have any other questions just let me know 🙂December 27, 2017 at 2:48 pm #57807
Just as a quick note, it is technically breaking the law to use a fake address for a mailing list. I like the idea of doing a forwarding address like Daeus recommends (and yes; you probably won’t even get any mail), but I would not recommend making one up.December 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm #57881
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I fear I only recently started an email list, FB page, etc. so I don’t have any advice to give you about it. I wish you luck, tho, and am glad you’re deciding to put effort into platforming now rather than later. 🙂 It can all seem pretty overwhelming, but you can do it. 🙂
Here be dragons.December 27, 2017 at 11:55 pm #57974
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Check out yourwriterplatform.com. It has a ton of info on this subject; about marketing, getting the word out about your book and/or website, building an email list and marketing. Also the book Build Your Platform by Jelen and McCallister. That will answer your social media question too.
I get ya, I’m an introvert too. It makes it hard to talk to people and even harder to be the one to start a conversation. But it’s really necessary. I suggest making bookmarks or business card for your book or website to have something to pass out to people, “accidentally” leave with your receipts at restaurant and other places. Ask your friends to help spread the word too; word of mouth is a very effective marketing tool. And if you have writer friends with websites, ask them if you can post articles or short stories or something on their blogs. Then you have a friendly environment to test your writing on readers. A funny way I discovered how to find other writers around you is to wear a writer shirt. I have one that say “it’s ok. writers should be strange.” I love this shirt and I’ve had people come up to me to say they liked my shirt and that they were a writer too! It’s great because then that opens the discussion for casual writing talk and you can mention your book or website.
Hope this helps!December 28, 2017 at 1:46 am #57980
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@aratrea, thanks so much for pointing that out (about the fake address breaking the law and such) – I didn’t know that 🙂 I am always learning 😉December 28, 2017 at 8:51 am #57982December 28, 2017 at 10:00 am #57991
@aratrea My main focus is art, writing, and fiction. However, I can write on a variety of topics. I have The Christian Writer’s Market Guide but it’s very outdated, so I’ll probably invest my Christmas cash in the 2018 edition (I do own the 2016 Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market Guide, but most of the magazines are secular and I prefer to pitch my work to Christian magazines).
I like @daeus’s idea of a redirect address. That way I could still build an audience without worrying about being kidnapped. 😜
From what everybody’s said thus far, I think I’ll hold off on a Facebook account for now. I already have an Instagram and Pinterest account which I enjoy using, so I’ll focus on building those up.
Thank you for your input and advice. 🙂December 28, 2017 at 10:02 am #57992
@daeus I’ve written down a list of various marketing goals for 2018. I’d like to have an audience of around 150 by 2019. Do you think that’s too high? I’d like to make a living from my art/writing someday, but right now my main goal is just to earn a little extra cash on the side.
Hmm… A marketing coach. That sounds like a good idea, but I’m not sure how I’d go about finding one. If it’s mainly to keep me motivated, I probably wouldn’t need to actively seek one since I’m pretty good at motivating myself to do things. 😜
I already have a Pinterest account, but I haven’t used it for marketing purposes; I might try that.
I hope your writing session goes well. Thank you for your advice! 🙂December 28, 2017 at 10:06 am #57993
@lifeofkatie I’ve never much cared for Facebook myself, but I like Pinterest and Instagram.
Aw, yes, patience (that’s not always one of my strong points). 🙃
I haven’t done much personal stuff on Instagram or my blog, so that’s probably something I should try.
Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only person with that problem (I thought I was the only one)! I’ve been using lots of hashtags and I’ve ended up having to block 80% of the people. Needless to say, it did creep me out a bit. *shivers* I’ll try decreasing the hashtags and focus on following people with similar interests, beliefs, etc.
I think I’ll just stick with Pinterest and Instagram because if I were on too many social media channels, it’d wear me out. 😜
I’m thinking about creating a little art business too, but I’m still mulling it over and considering all my options so I may call on you again with questions on that subject. 🙃 I’m still getting my feet wet since I just started my blog seven months ago and I’m trying to figure out what works for me. 😊
Thank you for your tips and encouragement! I really appreciate it! 🙂December 28, 2017 at 10:07 am #57994December 28, 2017 at 10:09 am #57995
@jenwriter17 I’m currently reading How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn so I may check those out when I’m finished reading her book. 🙂 I try not to read too many marketing books at once because it overwhelms me.
You are braver than I (the last time I took the test I got 88% introverted). 😉 I like the business card idea since it wouldn’t take me out of my introverted comfort zone. That is certainly something I’ll consider once I have some books in circulation (I’m hoping sometime in 2019).
Thank you for your advice! 😀December 28, 2017 at 10:33 am #57997
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No, 150 is not too audacious. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly manageable. You could even aim higher if you wanted to push yourself.
Fyi, if you’re going to market yourself on Pinterest, you’ll have to create a business account. (it’s free and the only major difference from a normal account is that it allows you to run paid ads if you want to.)
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