Sunday, January 11, 2015

Knowing Your Audience(AKA - Marketing Stupidity)

I recently got what I can only assume was an automated marketing email from a website I regularly visit, and for reasons that will soon become apparent, I will leave this site nameless.  The email in and of itself isn't an issue - writers have to market themselves, so if someone subscribes to the site, they make a perfect target for marketing ploys.

However, the person sending this out doesn't seem to know his audience.  The email in question touted this person's work in the area of indie publishing.  No, not a story this person indie published, but rather about the process itself.  There were many platitudes about "knowing the reader" and "subscribing to the process," none of which were specific, but all of which sounded nice.

Then came a monumental blunder.

It's no secret that the indie community as a whole is...well...independent.  Highly distrustful of traditional publishers, we tend to regard anything from the traditional camp with a large grain of salt.  Why in the world, then, would anyone targeting an audience of indie writers include, as a main part of his pitch, an endorsement from a traditional publisher?

This traditional publisher telling me that this person's book on indie publishing being the closest you can get to hitting the market as a traditional publisher not only made me stop listening, but it also made me regard anything else in the email as suspect at best.  Yes, some poor saps may have gone indie out of no other choice, but most of us who've done the research have chosen indie precisely because it isn't traditional publishing.

Trying to talk to me about the dynamics of business in the traditional world not only makes no sense, but it's also counterproductive.  Maybe I'm unique, but I have a Master's Degree in Business.  I understand contract law and the fundamentals of marketing, so touting an endorsement from a traditional source, especially to those of us who know just how badly the traditional world is doing, shows little common sense.  This plea might work with a newbie who is desperate for a big house in New York to notice him, but those who've consciously chosen indie are the wrong folks to tout this to.

Do some preliminary research, or at least exercise some intelligence when you market your work.  If you wouldn't use Monsanto to tell you about an organic product, or Jar Jar Binks to promote the next Star Wars movie, why on Earth would you go so far off the reservation here?  Sheesh...

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