Raise your hand if you have too much time and you don't know what to do with it? Seriously. Raise your hand I and I will send you some work to do.
Most of us have too many things we want to accomplish and it feels like we don't have the time to do everything. You're right. You can't do everything; you can focus on doing the activities that will accomplish your goals.
Let's go back to the graphic I used before from Principles of Marketing (Kotler, Armstrong, Cunningham, Trifts, Toronto: Pearson, 2011) Principles of Marketing
Let's focus on the second step now: who will you serve and how will you be different?
WHO WILL YOU SERVE?
Some writers seem to be only writing for themselves. And that's fine if you don't care about anyone ever reading (or buying) your work. If you want readers, focus on what's in it for them.
Whether I'm teaching writing or straight-up marketing, the first question I ask my students is "Who is your audience?" You'll never please everyone so tell me who you audience is. You should have a rough understanding of their demographics. For an example of the types of questions you should be able to answer go here: NetMBA Business Center article on Market Segmentation
For your first draft I would tell my students "vomit on paper". First drafts are not the time for critical thinking or calculated marketing. Just get it down first. On your second draft, however, start thinking about how the audience will react to what you are doing. Does it suit their needs? If not, change it or delete it.
HOW WILL YOU BE DIFFERENT?
We already have a Stephen King, a Clive Barker, a Stephenie, Meyer, a J.K. Rowling. We don't need any more. What we need is you. We need your voice, your story, your characters. So what do you bring to the table that is different.
This is usually stated as "write what you know". But if we only did that there would no speculative fiction, fantasy or horror.
When you read think about what you would do differently. And why. You may think this will take some of the enjoyment out of escapism. Well, tough. If you want to be an serious artist, get critical. Visual Artists (e.g. paint, sculpture, etc.) study the masters. Actors, musicians, directors all look at work in their genre with a critical eye. For some reason, writers do not start off with mimicking the greats. The greatest copier of all time was Shakespeare. I think he's not a bad role model.
HOW TO MARKET TO TARGET AUDIENCE
Well, you have to think about how your target market makes their purchasing decisions. Focusing on epubs is great...as long as your audience reads epubs. Do they normally purchase from online or from a physical store? If you don't know, ask them.
What shows to they watch on TV? Once you know, consider live tweeting during these shows. Connecting with the people in your target market does not mean spamming them every few hours with "buy my book". It means building a relationship. Be witty. The more fun you are the more you will be retweeted. The more you will gain followers. The more follower you have the more people will check out your book. Follow Neil Gaiman or Joe Hill. See how often they say "buy my book".
Think of your favorite movie (or book). Now, rewrite one of the scenes from the movie. Describe what you see, what you hear the characters say. Don't cheat by re-watching the movie. Go with what's in your head. That's where the real fun is anyway.
Now think of a movie (or a book) you hated and repeat. Only this time, what could you do to make it not suck?
Note: The first part of the Marketing 101 can be found here: Understanding the Marketplace
BOOKS BY M JOSEPH MURPHY:
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