As I prepare to offer a presentation at The San Francisco Writers Conference on The 6-Figure Author: 21 Principles to Make Money Writing, Teaching, Editing and Doing What You Love, I’ve been thinking a great deal on all the lessons I’ve learned to become a 6-figure writer and the people who helped me get there. I think it’s time I introduced you to some of the wisdom of a few of those folks, two of whom will be presenting at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference.
So, let’s assume you read my last post–also on how to make money writing, editing, teaching and doing what you love–and you understand how to price your services based on value–and how to increase the value of your skills and talents. What next? Next, I’d like you to focus just a little on marketing. I know, marketing is worse than a four letter word to many people. Maybe you’re one of them.
Last year, I worked with a consultant who suggested I apply for three awards, one in the category “marketing.” I felt a little uncomfortable about it but she convinced me. Then, the craziest thing happened: I won Marketer of the Year – Media for my size company (small) from the American Business Awards. It was the GOLD Stevie Award. And, yes, I felt excited, but I also felt a little embarrassed. The worse-than-a-four-letter-word thing.
So, I had to take a day or two and get my head around what I know marketing truly is–and not the dirty word some folks have made it into. At the heart of marketing is service–understanding who you are serving, what they need and want, what keeps them up at night–and then delivering that to them, with a smile, with some panache, perhaps. Listening when your market–the people you serve–have something to tell you. And, yes, marketing is about helping them find you!
In that vein, I thought about some of the many people who taught me about marketing along the way. Here are five people I believe are great at marketing–and what they’ve taught me about serving and succeeding:
Linda Joy: Linda taught me many things about marketing. One of them is to ask people to help you spread the word about your services. Ask your former or current clients, ask the people who referred them in the first place. You’re offering them not only a chance to help you, but a chance to help the person they refer.
Julia Griffin: Julia is a mentor extraordinaire. She’s taught me about enjoying everything in life more–and having success in bringing my vision to fruition. Among the zillions of things I’ve learned from Julia is that less is more. It’s so easy to take on project after project, run yourself ragged and lose the ability to savor all the beautiful things about your life. One of the best things you can do is to return to how you want your work to impact the people you serve. Spend time each day seeing your work making an impact for others. Tap into the feeling of what you’re helping your clients (or students) create–whether it’s a book, an article, a business memo or something else entirely. The more time you spend on this, the more easily the other marketing activities will flow–and the more effectively and efficiently you’ll achieve your vision–including a successful business.
Jeanna Gabellini: I’m taking Jeanna’s Healthy, Wealthy Launch class right now and I see how much fun Jeanna has in marketing her services. I’m sure–well, I hope–that you have fun writing, editing and/or teaching. Can you bring some of that same sense of fun to marketing? Take the edge off?
Rusty Shelton: Rusty was our publicist for The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger. He was a dream to work with and our book got all kinds of national publicity–from a fabulous book review in the Chicago Tribune to a quote in Glamour to a spot in USA Weekend–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But his sense of service didn’t end when our contract was over. He continued to send opportunities our way when they came up. As a result, I’ve become more than just a happy former client. I’m a huge fan and, of course, I recommend his services all the time–knowing that he will more than deliver for the authors I recommend him to. Go the extra mile and people will do the same for you–and they’ll feel so good about recommending you knowing you will provide that same kind of value you gave to them.
Michael Larsen: Mike was a “paper mentor” long before I met him in person. At the suggestion of literary agent Rita Rosenkranz, I purchased the second edition of How to Write a Book Proposal and–with my co-authors–got a book deal using his guidelines and examples. One thing Mike emphasizes every time I hear him speak is community. To be a successful writer, particularly in this time of ultra-connectivity, you need to connect–to writers, colleagues, mentors, clients and others. Communities will support your success–and that includes financial success.
So, can you guess where I’m going with this? What better way to be in community than to attend a truly fabulous writers conference? Well, lucky you, there’s still space at the San Francisco Writers Conference where you can create community with other writers, bestselling authors, literary agents, acquisitions agents (publishers), business experts, publicists and all sorts of great and brilliant people who will be fellow travelers along your path. In fact, two of the mentors I mentioned above, Rusty Shelton and Michael Larsen, will be presenting at the conference (Mike is co-founder), so they can become part of your dynamic writing and publishing community!
Please do join me at the conference for THE SIX-FIGURE WRITER: 21 Principles for Making Money Writing, Teaching, Editing, and Doing What You Love where you’ll learn all 21 of my principles (and at least 3 bonus principles, because I keep getting more ideas!). You may also enjoy my half day pre-conference workshop on Thursday Feb. 13: Writing in the Zone: 5 Steps to Inspired Flow.
And, I want to tell you about all the amazing workshops, panels and opportunities to create community, but the easiest thing is really to go to the San Francisco Writers Conference website and see the schedule. Let me know if you’re coming! And please do share your comments below, particularly any marketing lessons you learned from your mentors or experiences.