I've worked in different industries in my career and I've found that each one has its own lingo and culture. Decoding the culture and translating the rules to make them work for you are essential stepping stones to success.
Anyone who has been in sales, marketing or business development has heard of Business to Business, or B2B, interactions which describe the relationship of one company selling a product or service to another company. I want to introduce you to the world of "A2R" Marketing - Author to Reader - by taking the best practices of B2B and applying them to writers in search of (paying) readers.
Promoting a work of fiction and launching a book is not unlike starting a business. There has been a spark of an idea that was fleshed out - maybe on the back of a napkin in a dusky bar - then many sleepless nights as the idea was sharpened and honed to a point. At some point the entrepreneur/author looks at her product and believes it's ready for investors/publishers. For the writer, the first steps in finding an audience, or market, is often the query letter to agents or publishers which is akin to the business plan presented to a Venture Capitalist. The entrepreneur looks for a VC with the same dreams as the author looks for a publisher.
The publisher and the VC share a similar role. They can bankroll a good idea and provide enough managerial muscle and experience to take an idea from napkin sketch to reality. Both the publisher and the VC are going to be rewarded for their risk taking. The VC is rewarded with ownership, or equity, in a company. The publisher is going to be rewarded through a greater percentage of a book's sales via a royalty stream. The VC will provide guidance in areas such as additional development, manufacturing and distribution. The processes of editing and the art of promotion and marketing, and distribution falls into the hands of the publisher. Depending upon the size of the publisher and scope of their efforts, the author is remains an essential player in the marketing of their work. The author takes on the role of the entrepreneur and becomes the CEO, Chief Evangelical Officer, in pushing others to believe in his or her vision - the book.
In today's publishing environment, authors are required to remain actively engaged in the promotion process regardless of whether they have a publisher behind them or not. I find that many authors just are not comfortable in the roles demanded of them to push and sell their vision.
This is where A2R marketing comes in. I explored in a past blog about the 3F Softstart. Stay tuned for more posts on market identification and prospecting for readers.