Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 1)

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Have you written a book? Do you market it?

Extremely important question that, “Do you market it?”, because if you market it then you want to know which marketing is effective (yes, we’re back to the ROI discussions).

Knowing which marketing is effective involves numbers. Not “Look what I can do!” but “This number tells us something. We may not like what it tells us but it’s telling us something we can use to do better.”

You may be spending money on things but that’s not marketing. Example: My tweets. I tweet for fun. It’s a relaxation for me, something to do when I need a break from writing, and it probably shows. I long ago gave up believing I would sell books via Twitter. A few here and there, sure, but to make that a profit center?

I don’t have that kind of time.

More correctly, the time necessary to turn Twitter into a profit center takes too much time away from my writing. I want to improve my writing. I can be a crappy author and a great social marketer, a mediocre author and a mediocre social marketer, a dynamite author and a crappy social marketer.

I’ll take Door #3, Monty! And I must be doing something right because Mary Elizabeth Jackson said in Writers’ Corner Live’s interview with Sergio Troncoso “Joseph’s a great author. You have to look him up” (it’s up around 30m49s) and she talks to lots of authors so she should know!

Caveat Emptor
I get lots of emails and such from people who want me to spend money here, money there, and I’ve found the quickest way to stop them is to ask “What’s your success rate?” and “What’s the ROI?”

Can’t provide those numbers?

Then they don’t want you to invest in marketing, they want you to invest in snake oil. I responded to two emails earlier this week (and it’s only Wednesday as I write this) specifically asking for numbers.

Dead silence.

Excellent. I can get on with my writing. No distractions with hoohah that amounts to fubar.

And just so we’re clear, being told “Some authors have received thousands of dollars in royalties using our method” is a pit someone wants you to fall into.

First off, “Some authors…” How many, exactly? Two out of ten-thousand? That’s not a success metric, that’s an indication people don’t know what they’re doing.

Second, “…thousands of dollars…” How many thousands, exactly? (followed up closely with) How much did they spend to make thousands of dollars? My favorite story is of the author who spent $90k on marketing but never considered making a profit (she didn’t). Did you spend $2,500 to make $2,000?

Then you lost money. I hope someone is financing your hobby.

But I do have a history with market analysis. My patents are all about developing actionable data.

So when somebody suggests I do something and calls it marketing, I ask, “What are your metrics?”

You don’t have metrics? Then you’re not marketing. You’re throwing spaghetti against a wall and not even noticing if it sticks.

I’ve got no problem with that.

But please don’t call it marketing. It’s not.

(next up, some recent twitter advice that spawned these posts. won’t be available until 22 Jan 2020. hope you can wait for it)