Sunday, November 6, 2016

Marketing 101: make connections (true story and...)

Once upon a time, I owned a craft supply store on the small remote island I still call home. I filled that store with...

quilt batting, thread in many colours and even a few bolts of fabric for quilters
knitting needles and yarn for knitters
paper, scissors and stickers for scrapbookers
an assortment of beads and  precious stones for jewellery makers
crayons, faster plaster, markers for children
and the list goes on and on...

I sat in the shadows with my knitting and waited for my customers to find me.

Island residents trickled in throughout the year but they were joined by tourists in the summer.

One day, he came in and walked up one aisle and down the other. I didn't recognize him and thought he must be a tourist.

"Wow, I'm really impressed by the diverse collection of merchandise." From his accent, I knew he was an American. "You've done very well." His smile wasn't out of pity or mockery. It was genuine. This stranger was proud of me. "If this was my store everyone within a 10 -- no -- 100-mile radius would know where to find me and what I had for sale."

What I thought at the time was, Americans are good at marketing.

What I do now is, pull that memory out each time I want to hide in the shadows. 

I don't think authors should say, "I have a book. Did you know that I have a book? Wow, my book is so good. Have you heard about my book?"

Hmm, nope.

Marketing is about making connections. 

I connect with readers by saying, "You like to read. Well, on my blog, I review books and share my writing."

I connect with writers by saying, "You want to build your author career. So do I. On my blog, I share what I'm learning about the publishing industry."

Thank you, Mr. American tourist, for coming into my store that day. You taught me to take pride in what I do. And you taught me to share it with those who can benefit from it.

*about the photos:  they were taken by me of my knitting but not in my store.


How to get over your fear of self promotion 

Picture Books in Canada

Established in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is a Canadian-owned children's book publisher that publishes Canadian children book authors. 

Sharing my author journey

Sometimes magic happens...

A story like a whisper fell gently on the page. Word upon word upon, my pen danced on paper until it was born. Magic.


TWC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darlene said...

We should all be proud of what we do. It is not bragging, it is sharing what we have to give to the world. Your knitting is wonderful!!

Leanne Dyck said...


I think what makes the difference is the intention behind the marketing.

And thank you for your kind comment on my knitting. It's been ages since I picked up a pair of knitting needles. I had wrist pain and during diagnosis the clinician recommended that I take a break.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — Amen siSTAR!

Our writing is our "product."
If we sold "widgets," we'd shout it from the rooftops.
As writers, our unique combination of words is our "product" that deserves shouting from the rooftops as well.

Leanne Dyck said...

Absolutely, Laurie. Now I see that clearly but...
It was a culture shift for me. There's a segment of Canadians who believe that if is their others will see it. To do so is boosting and, horrors, you can't do that.
Marketing isn't boosting. Marketing helps others who are looking for what you have find you.
That's why I'm so grateful for that American tourist. That's why the world wide web is so cool. It provides a venue for culture exchange.