Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Your Goal? Falling Down the Rabbit Hole of Book Marketing

As I'm faced with a variety of opportunities for book tour events and networking options on social media sites, I continually have to reset the picture and ask myself: what's my ultimate goal?

A book tour is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole and it's risky to"just do it" like the Nike Ad instructs, even lifehacker says so. Go out and start booking events for your book tour and you'll soon discover that each event needs to be tended like a new plant. Some stores expect authors to come up with marketing ideas, add blog entries for store blogs, provide snacks or do cooking demos for author appearances. It can cost more than you're bringing in. Blindly booking events can be a nightmare when you realize, you get to do all the planning and marketing. And when you book too many events all that precious writing time you dreamed about is sucked away.

In this connected age, it's way too easy to get distracted with things like responding to blogs like this cute one with two bull dogs. (What would my kitchen assistant say about that?) And social media sites are so addictive, they're driving me crazy--do I really"like" this? Or can I "comment" on that? And what does "poke" mean? I can barely keep up with my own life anymore. I don't even have to leave the house to get stressed over whether I've logged in and made comments on sites like FaceBook, Foodista,Culinate and Scribd--and all the blogs I'm following and commenting on.

I continually remind myself why I'm doing any of this, which brings me back to my topic-- keeping your goal in focus.

What do you really want to do with your time? Consider that question every time you start responding to a post on a blog or FaceBook and when an offer comes your way. Say an editor wants you to write an article about South American cuisine, or a natural food store wants a cooking class with raw food desserts, or someone wants to do a podcast with you--ask yourself: does it fit my goals? Will it propel me forward? Am I on the right path?

For me, it's important to reflect about what I do with my time. One satisfying by-product of my book has been helping like-minded people connect through my articles, my food travels and farm visits. For example, recently I visited the Medford farmers' market and Cathy Pennington of Pennington Farms said thanks for putting her in contact with BelleWood Acres who helped her figure out how to get a sign on her barn. And more recently I helped connect this farm with a great farm-to-school program in the Rogue Valley.

A rabbit hole offers many opportunities and lately I've got caught a spark of a trend I want to write about, and catching the spark is the fun of life. Starting a new article or book--the story coming to me in bits and pieces and I love putting it all together. I just have to keep reminding myself: what's my goal in this life adventure?

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