The topics covered in this blog are (1) what I learned from CreateSpace Marketing Central and (2) implementing social media.
What I learned from CreateSpace Marketing Central (CSMC)
It just so happens that much of what I learned through CSMC was about social media. So the two topics for this post are intertwined.
First, I was overwhelmed with the wealth of information at CSMC. Just when you think you’ve read everything, more links show up with related topics! So you may want to pace yourself – as in reading one article a day, taking action based on what you just learned; then moving on to the next article, repeating the same; so on and so forth.
That being said, having read through many of the articles, the unanimous message by various authors is that marketing is not something you do once and consider it done. It is a continuous effort.
Come to think of it, I noticed that this was what I have been doing since the publication of my book in March 2012. Publishing your first book is like giving birth to your first child. It is such a major event in your life that you are so happy about that moment. Much like raising that first child after giving birth, marketing your first book is where you jump into a completely new territory that you have never experienced before. Soon you begin to realize that giving birth – or publishing your book – was the easiest part. Much as you try to be the best parent you can be from that moment on, you do whatever it takes to promote your book. Trials and errors ensue. Just because you make parental mistakes every now and then does not mean you can give up on raising that child; likewise with marketing. You just have to keep at it day in and day out. Marketing is like parenting.
I was a marketing major for my undergraduate business degree. The articles refreshed my memory about two of the key concepts in marketing. That is, it helps to (1) know your target audience and (2) have a set of your SMART goals spelled out, where the acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Of course, no amount of marketing effort will help sell the product unless it is good.
My book has four target audiences.
The first target audience is World War II veterans – in their 80s and 90s today – and their adult children who are part of the baby-boomer generation. The gratitude that I wrote about stems from what my parents’ generation – millions of Japanese – experienced in Japan after the war. The title says it all, “To America – With Profound Gratitude: My Journey to Freedom and Independence.”
The second target audience is the younger and future generations of people – even those who are yet to be born – over to whom the baton of society will be handed.
I’d like to elaborate on this point because I consider this audience to be critically important. Within the book, I used the history of Japan as an example – because that’s what I know. I lived in Japan for over two decades; and in the United States, for four decades. By observing the cultural differences and similarities between these two countries, I learned a lot about human nature and the basic human needs, which are common across all races and gender. The Beatles had the answer all along: “All you need is love.”
Today, all of us are affected by terrorism, which is like a social cancer. Will it spread so far to the point of killing off humanity from the Earth? Or will we learn from history and contain it, if not completely eradicate it? In entirely different eras and geographic locations on Earth, what most of us would consider insanity – for the sake of humanity – was considered normal, and people accepted it. And in some countries and regions, people still do today. We all know about Germany under Hitler’s rule – and how most, but not all, people followed his orders blindly. Although it is common knowledge in Asia, fewer people in the Western hemisphere know about Japan under its brutal military rule. When we dig a little deeper in human history, however, we quickly find out that Germany and Japan are not exceptions at all. Many countries – in fact, some religious, political, and other organized groups, too – have their own history of such shameful past, inhumanely treating people, even their own members of society. This is a reflection of human nature and behavior that – in many cases – remain unexamined to this day. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have pockets of terrorism worldwide.
To learn from the past, we must first understand the basic elements of human nature. We must understand how utterly brutal some humans can be to others both behind closed doors and on a massive scale. Either way, brutality is evil. It must not be tolerated.
We must develop the ability to think critically – on our own – on issues affecting humanity. Such ability is essential in figuring out ways for humans to forgive the past for the sake of creating a better world for future generations of people. As George Santayana, the great philosopher and novelist, said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This was another major reason I wrote the book so that history – particularly a shameful one – is not forgotten.
The third target audience is the millions of Americans who lost huge sums of money in their retirement accounts, just as I did, who are trying to figure out what to do to secure their financial future. Starting in July 2012, this topic is the focus of my blog on investing.
The last, but certainly not least, target audience is those who value freedom and independence.
At this point, since few people are reading my blog posts, I’m going to dare spell out – for my own record – exactly what I’m thinking without being concerned about potential repercussions. My goal is to sell 1.5 million copies by Fourth of July 2015 – three years from now – (specific, measurable, and time bound) when we will be approaching the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II (relevant). There, I said it!
As you can see, my stated goal easily meets four out of the five SMART criteria; it is Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The only missing ingredient is A for Achievable. The question is, really, “Is it achievable?” That’s where I needed to think outside the box – very hard. The only way it will come even close to meeting such an audacious goal is to work with those who have a track record of helping unknown authors become famous. I was able to secure such individuals to be my marketing/publicity coaches. I will reveal who they are in my future post when I will have met my goal. If I fall short of my goal by the specified time, then their names shall be kept anonymous and I will take full responsibility for the result.
Implementing social media
As one of our dearest friends often says, every word means something. And “implement” is a word with a huge consequence. A much more appropriate heading for this section would be “Baby steps toward implementing social media.”
Today, almost any website you visit has hyperlink symbols for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. And so does mine – believe it or not, thanks to my web master – so that when you find a worthwhile piece of information, you can easily share it with others.
If I did not have a book published or the need to spread the word about it, I would have been just fine not being part of the phenomenon among millions of people worldwide. The fact is, however, that I do want a lot of people to read my book. So I finally opened up accounts with all four of them, a major accomplishment – albeit a very small first step – for this social-media laggard. By the end of August 2012, I will have learned from my marketing coach how to synthesize all of the social media. I expect to be able to post the progress in September.
I found Joel Friedlander’s article in CSMC, “10 Steps for Authors Who Want to Get Started on Twitter,” quite helpful. In fact, it was actually fun to be able to locate potential target audiences for my book in Twitter. In another article, Mr. Friedlander also said, “Just using social media is not a strategy in itself; it’s a way to implement your basic marketing thrust.” I will keep his statement in mind as I formulate my basic marketing thrust and start using social media to help promote my book.
Coming up next month
The topics to be covered next month are “Publicity” and “Baby steps toward implementing social media – continued.”
Footnote: I had originally designated July 2012 as a transition month. In other words, I intended to wind down marketing posts and ramp up those for investing. I am certainly adding a new post on investing starting this month because that’s what I am passionate about – as the basis for sustaining my freedom and independence. By the same token, adding posts on marketing has been so helpful in getting me to do things outside of my comfort zone (such as opening up social-media accounts) and keeping the marketing wheel going for my book, about which I am equally passionate, that I decided to stay with it until such time when there is nothing more to get done. This approach will help reinforce the importance of marketing my book month after month, year after year. Who knows, by the time my second book is ready to be published I may be a pro at marketing my books!
Any comments or questions? I’d like to hear from you!