The Most Important Quality Great Writers & Book Marketers Share

author marketing a bookMaureen Lee posted a great question in the comments on yesterday’s post about Ed Cyzewski’s book, A Path to Publishing.  She wrote:

Traditionally, it had seemed that the aptitudes needed for authoring books were vastly different from those needed to market them. Great writers had tended to be artistic, idealistic, philosophical and perceptive commentators of society, while great marketers had tended to be pragmatic, street smart, action-oriented and shrewd handlers of resources. (Both share the common ground of being astute observers of human nature.)

Yet it seems that to be successful in this post-technological Age of Recommendation, both gifted writers and gifted marketers need to overcome certain hurdles to function effectively in areas that may not their primary passion and strengths. I wonder if such a trend towards the blurring of roles for writers and marketers (i.e., writers need to sell, and marketers need to write) is diminishing or enhancing the primary strengths of either roles?

While the skills and strengths of great writers and great marketers may seem different on the surface, there is one quality that is extremely important to both.

Social Media Marketing

Before I get to what that quality is, I think it’s important to point out that much of the marketing authors need to do to sell their books is not traditional marketing, but rather social media marketing, which includes things like blogging, blog tours, Facebook, and Twitter.

While traditional marketing is largely well-polished, self-promoting, and broadcast in one direction (from the marketer to their audience), social media marketing or social networking is more authentic, relational, and conversational.

It’s All About Connecting

In A Path to Publishing, Ed Ed Cyzewski writes, “If you’re a writer, you’re goal is to connect with readers.”

If you’re using social media, your goal is to connect with people as well.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that connecting with people is the most important part both of writing a book and spreading the word about it through social media.

We could fill an entire book discussing what it means to connect with people and how to do it.  (Actually, John Maxwell recently did that in his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect reviewed here.)  But I would define connecting as communicating with a person in a way that they feel like you understand and value them.

In that sense, what’s needed to be great at both writing and marketing a book may not be that different.

Technology and Tactics

Don’t confuse the ability to connect with the ability to set-up and use a blog or various social media tools.  Many people who are good at connecting with others, may not be familiar with the technology or tactics of social media.  Many authors would benefit from hiring someone to set-up their blog and social media accounts as well as train them on to use them effectively.

Do you agree that the ability to connect with people is the most important part both of writing a book and spreading the word about it through social media? Why or why not?

Ed and I are giving away 3 copies of A Path to Publishing later today, read yesterday’s review to learn how you can get a copy.

[image by taminator]

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