Last Saturday, I led the workshop, A Business Approach to Marketing Your Work, at Midsouth Christian Writers Conference in Collierville, Tennessee. In that session, I showed the class how to organize their thinking about marketing based on the Four P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. In last week’s post, we covered Price. This week, let’s talk about Place.
For writers, the Place component is tricky—being in the right place at the right time to get the business (writing assignment, book contract, editing client).
The Place Component for Business
Once the business owner has developed a product and determined a price, he or she must figure out how to put it in front of the customer. Place can be very important in determining whether a sale is made. For example, if I, the customer, need gas while driving on the Interstate, Place is often a determinant of what vendor gets my business. The Product will be available on most every exit. The Price will be about the same, no matter which vendor I choose on a given exit. If the traffic is heavy, I’ll look for a place that is easy to get to, also providing hassle-free access back to the Interstate. My favorite situation is a gas station on the right, just after I exit. It should also have a back exit that takes me to a traffic light that will allow me to safely turn left to get back on the road and find the on-ramp on the right. Failing that, I choose to take a left turn across traffic to a station on the left so that I will have a right turn back onto the road to my on-ramp. The vendor must be placed so that it is easy and safe for me to buy the product.
Networking, the Place Component for Writers
The Place component is different for writers than for vendors of a physical product or service. In traditional publishing, you don’t sell your product directly to the reader. You sell it first to a publisher. Networking with industry professionals helps you find out what publishers might buy your work and how to approach them. You may have your product already developed. Or, you may have a prospective product on which you need advice from industry insiders. As Ray Kroc said, being in the right place at the right time, while being willing to do something about it, is the recipe for getting your work published. Conferences and social media are good venues for making these contacts.
Networking on social media helps you make yourself known to publishing professionals. Also, you can develop a pool of contacts, people who may become customers (readers). You won’t necessarily make a sales pitch for your writing with every social media post. Keep in mind that people want to know you before they consider buying from you. As a non-fiction writer, networking can help you establish yourself as a credible source of information on your specialty. Many fiction writers successfully promote their blogs and their books on social media, keeping their names in the readers’ minds.