I’ve often heard it said that as a self-publisher, you have to wear many hats. It is quite true that you have a lot of tasks to perform besides filling your role as author. Small publishers, too, have much to do as a small group of people.
But this morning I watched a video of Michael Hyatt (Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers) and Jane Friedman (professor of e-media and writing at the University of Cincinnati and contributing editor at Writer’s Digest), and I really like what Jane said about the whole wearing of many hats thing.
I encourage you to watch the whole interview, but around 8:00 minutes, Hyatt asks what writers sometimes do to sabotage their careers. Jane replied that a lot of authors seem to think that they have to put on that other hat or switch gears when it comes to marketing based-activities. They feel they have to use their marketing or sales voice.
They miss the point that they are still themselves. As an author, you have to do things that match your audience and your own skills and strengths. You don’t have to turn into a marketer or a sales person, you just be you and talk about your book.
Hyatt then uses the words authenticity and transparency. I love this concept because I think a lot of people have the fear being annoying or coming across as spam, yet they feel they have to do it to promote the book.
I think back to papers I had to write in college. Coming from a small high school, where I had the same handful of teachers throughout my four years, one of the first things I had to learn to do in college was learn how to figure out what the professors wanted in the papers. I often had to change my voice to fit their expectations. But I felt that the classes that I really excelled in were the ones were I could write in my same voice. Of course I still had to follow the rules of proper grammar and good structure, but then I could freely explore my topic within those bounds.
I think it is the same way with marketing. There are some rules out there that you can follow. We often cover them in this blog or the articles we recommend on Facebook or Twitter. But you are most effective when you are still yourself within those bounds.