Marketing your writing isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. If you're writing articles or scripts, you have to sell only once, to a publisher or producer. If you're writing books, you have to sell twice: to a publisher and then to your target readers (or directly to the latter if you're self-publishing). Marketing to readers isn't a one-time thing, you have to keep at it in order to keep your book selling.
Persistence is important, but only if you're persisting with things that work. Here are some tips on what to do:
1. Keep an open mind. Certainly be aware of what has worked for others, but don't assume it will work the same way for you. Be willing to try anything legal and ethical.
2. Whenever possible, measure the results of each thing you do. For instance, you can easily monitor how many people are visiting your web site, how much time they spend on it, and what they look at while they're there.
Don't forget, though, the one key metric is how many books you are selling.
If ten thousand people download your free sample chapter, but only ten of those order the book, that's not a success. If only 1000 people visit your website that's not a failure, either--if half of them order your book.
3. Do more of what works. If we have two methods, one of which works well and one of which doesn't, our impulse is to spend more time trying to improve the one that doesn't. This isn't the best use of your time. Instead, find ways to do more of the thing that's working, and drop the one that isn't. Add another method and see how well that works in comparison to the one that's giving you the best results currently. If it does better, make that your new number one priority.
4. Don't get bored with what works. Have you noticed that some ad campaigns run for year after year without any changes? That means they're still working. Because you're a creative person you may find yourself getting bored with the look of your website or the wording of your sales page. Your impulse will be to change them just for the sake of change. However, while you should always be testing new methods, don't replace anything that's working until you find something else that works better. Just because you are bored with your materials, that doesn't mean your target audience is.
If it's negative, what can you do to make them happy? There's nothing worse than an unhappy customers going around trashing your brand or your products, so try hard to satisfy them. Are some of them unreasonable? Certainly. Should you have to cater to their whims or unreasonable demands? There's no "should", there's only reality. Unless they demand something totally out of the question, it is better to go the extra mile to satisfy them. Then consider whether their complaint contains any useful information for what you might change or add or subtract from your product or service.
If the feedback is positive, brainstorm how you can build on whatever features they like best, and how to make other potential customers aware of these positive points. Be sure to thank people who compliment you or your product. Ask them whether they are OK with you using their feedback as a testimonial, or ask them to write a review on Amazon or other sites.
This completes my series of ten "must-do" marketing tips for writers, but I'll be returning to this topic frequently. To be sure not to miss any of the posts, please subscribe to this blog. You may also want to get my book, Marketing for Entrepreneurs. It's published by Pearson and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.