By: Jan Deelstra
You hold your masterpiece lovingly in your hands, and deep in your swelling heart you just know that the eagerly awaiting public will embrace it too. And then when it doesn’t magically fly off the Amazon bookshelves you’re left to deal with feelings of dejection. What went wrong? You built it and no one came.
Writers enjoy writing. Marketing however, is one of those tasks that takes time away from the keyboard, thus breeds resentment. It follows, if one is content to write without selling the results, there is no need for marketing. However, if one enjoys eating and shelter, marketing to the right niche is a necessary evil.
It took me a few years to admit that I am not a marketing genius. I can pen a pretty good nonfiction volume, but I have no desire to door knock or book sign or boast. It’s not that I don’t believe in my writing; I do. It’s just that my book begins with the death of my child, and that’s a difficult subject to continue to sell.
Blessings in the Mire, was written as the catalyst to my survival (although I surely had no awareness of that fact while I was streaming consciously onto the pages). The book is reported to have “healing properties” by those who have read it. The challenge then, is to get it into the hands of those who would benefit most.
Awakening to the obvious, I’ve recently compiled a list of possible venues for distribution of my book. The list includes hospitals, hospice, mortuaries, critical care units, churches, counselors, medical schools, and Unitarian bookstores. The clientele may not have come when I built it, but now that I have the list of possible suitors, I can surely take the book to those in need. And if it helps just one person, or saves even one life, that’s huge. And if it sells millions, that's pretty great too.
Had I simply started with the common adage, “know your audience,” I would have promoted the purported healing benefits of Blessings in the Mire to the accurately determined venues before the ink was even set. You can bet my next release will have a targeted market before Infinity Publishing has the type set! Knowing my audience now comes first in marketing my book, so that the bulk of my time and energies can be spent writing.
Jan Deelstra worked for ten years for The Department of Human Services as a counselor to the impoverished until the trying position led her to open a holistic gift store. There, Deelstra enjoyed the fruits of her labors until, after the death of her son, she chose to follow her heart to southern California. A dynamic, avant-garde woman, Deelstra has some surprising experiences: as a massage therapist, Teamster truck driver, bartender, telephone repairperson, counselor, decorator/stager, Realtor, and author. Currently, she is working on a series of children’s books, and on an ‘under-wraps’ writing project. Her book is Blessings in the Mire: A True Story of Miracles & Recollections.
Article photo courtesy of Kimberlee Kessler Design