Is Marketing Harder Than Writing?

October 12, 2015 | By | 17 Replies More

Siubhan, Lucy & Billy I used to think writing a book was the hard part. I was wrong. Getting your book read is the hard part. I’d tinkered with short stories and penned a few poems over the years, and there was no denying my love of the written word but the thought of writing an actual book – a whole 300+ pages of text – with content interesting enough that others might actually want to read it, seemed too overwhelming to contemplate. And so I didn’t write a book. Instead, I wrote a journal.

I had two pre-schoolers and had been rather excited to be returning to my part time job after extended maternity leave following the birth of my second child. On my first day back I was informed that my job had been ‘disestablished’. I mean really, is that even a proper word? Although according to the letter they gave me it was very much a real word, and one which meant I was no longer in paid employment. This meant returning to full time un-paid employment, at home.

Much as I loved being able to stay at home with my children, I missed the balance that a couple of days work gave me. I missed the pay cheque. I missed being able to hold a telephone conversation without simultaneously having to try and remove my son from my leg, and I missed not being able to use the loo alone. No-one ever tries to sit on your knee when you’re in the bathroom at the office.

I discovered that during pregnancy women lose brain cells which never return and was genuinely concerned I would lose the ability to communicate intelligently, instead maintaining only enough mental capacity to retain pertinent information such as “Can We Fix It? Yes We Can!” Good to know, thanks, Bob (the Builder).

I challenged myself to learn a new word every day; which then kind of became whenever I had the time or energy to use the dictionary. My passion for writing was still very much entrenched but the desire to move my fingers over the keyboard less so, it was tiring, I was tired. But each night, whilst in the shower, words would tumble about in my head and continue to trip over each other until I got them down.

And so I wrote; about what I knew best, my own life – motherhood. It became therapy of sorts I suppose; the joys and the frustrations, the misgivings and the fear, the hilarity and the hysteria and of course the guilt. Always that overwhelming sense of guilt; am I doing it right? The words, weeks and months flowed until I reached a point where I realised I actually had a book in front of me. Ok, so it was rough and needed LOTS of work, but it had lots of potential too.

Diary of a Guilty Mother coverThe next few months were spent rewriting. I felt my book was good enough to try and find an agent or publisher and so I started making submissions. Within two days I had found a firm who extolled my virtues and offered to publish my book. I was thrilled. I had made it! Their follow up e-mail asked if I’d be so good as to pay squillions of dollars to ‘edit’ my work. Five seconds worth of research into their organisation and I discovered it was a scam.

Colour me sad and despondent. But then, even though I was quite eager to jump on easy street and start running, I knew I hadn’t worked hard enough. So I submitted and I submitted. I was lucky enough to actually receive some really nice and positive replies but mostly I was rejected or simply ignored entirely. Dare I admit I made over 100 submissions? My ego was a little bit crushed so I went back to despondency for a while.

Two years on and following the end of my marriage, I was a single mum now in the difficult position of providing sole financial care for my children and me. My previous life in the Corporate World of decent sized pay cheques was a distant memory. I vied for the jobs that fitted in with caring for young children without success. And so it was time to re-examine my book; to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, as someone very wise once said. I took a leap of faith and decided to self-publish.

Finding Amazon Kindle, and then ultimately Createspace was a minor miracle for me. The instructions were so easy to follow, the process simple and best of all it was free! Before I knew it, I held my own printed book in my hands.

The reviews I have received thus far have been tremendous. I managed to secure an interview in the local paper, a radio interview and a spot on breakfast television; I was even cheeky enough to send a copy to the Duchess of Cambridge (and received a lovely reply from Buckingham Palace but no invitation to tea).

As I said earlier, getting your book read is the hard part. I am a single mum raising two incredible children and it is my hope to show them what can be achieved with passion, hard work and determination. It is my hope too, to offer them the rewards of my success. But how to get it read? How to get it out there? I wish I knew. I continue to promote and push through, but if you have any words of inspiration or wisdom I’d love to hear from you.

Siubhan Green is an author and single Mum of two. She lives with her children and their two cats on the Hibiscus Coast in beautiful New Zealand. Her debut book Diary of a Guilty Mother is available on Amazon here: and through her Facebook page.

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Category: Contemporary Women Writers, On Book Marketing

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  1. Is Marketing Harder Than Writing? | WordHarbour | October 13, 2015
  1. Deb Coman says:

    I was the last comment and here I am again! Only now, as a communication strategist, I’m now helping someone to do this same thing…market their book. I hope you and all the other commenters here have continued to plug away at it. Some of the strategies we’ll be employing (as with all good marketing of any kind of product) is to think not only about your target market…but AS…your target market…where are they on social media translates into where you need to establish an online presence. Engage with them. Ask them what they want/need/like. Rather than dream up a freebie, ask what they think would make a good freebie (in general: something quick to consume and with impact). How can you build excitement over a launch? How can you foster conversation about the book? How can you continue to repurpose the content of the book – blogs, guest blogs, excerpts on social media; backstories; the big WHY behind its creation; radio interviews; podcasts; live steam like periscope and blab. The list is endless but zeroing in on what will be most effective has to do with knowing where your “people” are, what they like, and what is the easiest, most straightforward way to give that to them!

    • Siubhan Green says:

      I agree Deb, engaging and involving your readers is a critical part of marketing. I guess what makes it hard sometimes though, is that it feels like ‘life gets in the way’. It’s a poor excuse and when you are passionate about something then nothing should hinder you, but sometimes a hiatus is called for as you ponder your next move 🙂

  2. Thanks for this post Siubhan. And I am delighted to hear you made 100 submissions. I am currently working my way through the list so to know it is OK to keep going is great. And also to hear that you came back to the book two years later. When I finished writing my book Ion my dreams I was six months away from agent and publisher. Now I know it might take a little longer and may be not even this book. Good luck with the marketing.

    • Siubhan Green says:

      Hi Lindsay,

      I’m not sure why I’ve not seen this post so my apologies in the late reply but yes, do keep going! I got a couple of really lovely, genuine and positive feedbacks which spurred me on in amongst the dozens of rejections and no responses. I guess the important thing is to maintain faith in your abilities. If you feel passionate about what you have written then there will be an audience out there who will feel the same way. Best of luck 🙂

  3. A very inspiring post Siubhan Green 🙂

  4. Yep. Lots harder. Because it never ends. It’s relentless. It’s the houseguest that will not leave!

    A book, a short story, pretty much anything you create, has an end. You may take a while getting there, but once it’s been pricked and prodded into perfect shape, you send it out into the world and let it fly, buh bye, see ya, I’m on to my next book.

    Marketing?? No such luck. IT’S NEVER DONE. And in that aspect alone, it’s harder.

    You not only have to keep doing it, keep finding ways to afford it, you’ve also got to find ways to do it DIFFERENTLY. Better. More effective. You can’t keep tweeting the same things, people in your Facebook circle start to weary of your book posts; there are only so many giveaways and freebie sessions you can do, and damn if the bigger stuff doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

    Personally, after almost two full years of marketing two different novels, I’m taking a small step back. I’ve used up my current budget, so all efforts have to be in the “free” column, and I feel a tinge of burnout. So a breather is in order. My stuff is all still up and out there, still available; I’ll still share new reviews, articles, etc., but it’s time to let it sit for a moment. Wouldn’t it be sweet if suddenly that sent stats flyin?? 🙂

    Nice article, Siubhan, and I wish you all the best in your own journey.

    • Hey Lorraine, Thank you! My apologies for not replying to you sooner, I’ve only just seen this. Your comments are well written and thought provoking. I too already am starting to wonder “What now? Where to from here?” I am reaching the point where I am starting to doubt my abilities; surely if it were good enough it would be flying by now and the dollars would be rolling in, along with offers of work? *Sigh* I realise that is unrealistic but I’m a typical dreaming pisces. Meanwhile I tap away at my keyboard and keep the faith :).

  5. Yes, it’s definitely harder for me, mainly because writing books suits my personality, but marketing involves *ack* talking to people!

    I’m on my third book (four if you count one I edited and published). I learn with each one. This time around, I’m doing a lot more work in advance of the release (next March), trying to get reviews, doing giveaways, etc.

    I would think with your topic you could do really well…you have a large niche audience who would probably love it. Good luck!

    • Thanks Nadine, I agree, putting yourself out there and promoting yourself is hard. It’s not that I don’t believe in the quality of my work, I totally do, but I’ve never felt all that comfortable in a sales role and that’s where I find I’m at now. Thankfully you are also right in that my audience is large and constant, there will always be mums :).

  6. Rosina Lippi says:

    Hell yes. It’s hard, painful, expensive, a time hog, & never yields anything near what you’re hoping for. Kinda like marriage.

  7. Rachel says:

    I have a theory that marketing a ‘thing’ is always harder than doing/producing the ‘thing’. )I certainly found this was the case when I was a self-employed financial planner.) I’ve recently started to help a couple of friends with getting their novel finished and making money. The timeframe has a while to run yet, but I believe we have to start planning the marketing strategy now and not just leave it until it’s published. Unfortunately I don’t have any tips for you (we’re looking for some ourselves!) but hang in there and persevere. Good luck!

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment. I agree, albeit in hindsight now, that marketing during the process – well in advance of it being ready for market -is definitely the way to go. I had loads of ideas scribbled down in my notebook for marketing, which I am only now starting to pursue. I guess the key is to have confidence in what you intend to market so that you can promote it before it even exists 🙂

  8. Deb Coman says:

    Siubhan, I love this article! I’m so glad you continued to work on your book and to publish as you clearly have a gift. I chuckled over “No-one ever tries to sit on your knee when you’re in the bathroom at the office.” I so enjoyed your honesty and perspective on life with young kids and how you went about getting your book out into the world. I say all the time that these days, anyone can write a book but it’s another story to get it sold and/or read. I imagine your book is being well-received. I love how you write. So glad I found a link to this article on Twitter.

    • Thank you Deb, that means a lot. As a ‘newbie’ to writing for money I appreciate all the positive feedback I get; it helps keep me confident. And with the likes of people such as yourself, I get to reach a greater market so I am grateful to you for sharing my book details :).

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