Marketing and strategy

(image from here)

Marketing has a bad reputation.

People hear the word ‘marketing’ and think, ‘that’s the thing that’s going to trick me into buying all this stuff that I don’t want.’

Then they run in the other direction as quickly as possible.

That’s not how we think about marketing here at First Second.

We think all of our books are wonderful and that if only people were adequately informed about them, they would read them and buy them.

(Given the awards and starred reviews and industry and popular praise we receive, we think this is pretty accurate!  We hope you agree.)

Of course, not all of our books have the same audience.  The reading population who is buying Ben Hatke’s delightfully fantastical picture book comic Julia’s House for Lost Creatures is not the same population who is reading Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s superhero reinvention that emphasizes diversity and the Golden Age tradition, The Shadow Hero.

So when we talk about marketing, what we mean is identifying the unique audience for each book that we publish and doing our best to make sure those people are aware that the book exists and is awesome (and therefore worthy of their time and money).

Absolutely no hypnotism is involved!  The goal is for more people to easily find books that they enjoy.

As an author, marketing can at times feel uncomfortable and inappropriate — not everyone is at ease with spending time telling other people about their own awesomeness.  Changing your frame of mind so you’re thinking about marketing as ‘making sure that people know my book exists’ rather than ‘forcing unwary/weak-minded people to buy my book’ can help.

When thinking about marketing along these lines, there are lots of things that authors can do to raise awareness that aren’t just saying ‘buy my book’ over and over and over again.  Using your social media outlets to talk about different aspects of your creative process, and to share quotes and art and excitement are both things that don’t involve compromising any creative integrity that you may have.

All of that seems pretty harmless and non-evil, right?