Friday, April 17, 2015

Push vs. Pull—Fight!

Absolutely NOT trick photography!

A new trend in writerly articles are now making the rounds in author groups about “Push” marketing versus “Pull” marketing and it’s throwing a lot of hard-working authors.  So let’s get down to brass tacks on this.

First, what is Push and what’s Pull marketing?

Think about it like a wagon.  You can either push the wagon or you can pull it.  The same with marketing your books.  Push, is where you’re actively engaged in directing potential readers to your work.  You use blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Ello, flyers, emails, etc.  Anything where you’re actively telling people, “Hey!  You there with the fancy credit card!  Hey!  Go buy my book!

Pull, on the other hand, is where you’re just holding the handle of the wagon, and the wagon follows you, no matter where you go or what you do.  This is done by writing a book and having the readers buy it all on their own.  You do this by writing a good book, winning awards, work word-of-mouth through book bloggers and reviews, participate on panels at conferences, etc.  Because you're so cool, your book must be cool too, so readers want to have to have itEssentially, you stand in the hall of the high school and work on your lean:

Which is better?

Well, that depends on if you’re going up the hill or coming down it, and how rocky the terrain is, how steep the path, etc.  Yeah, the metaphor is wearing out.

I get it.

Push tactics do get results, but so do Pull tactics. Both take time, effort and more time. A number of articles are putting forth the idea that there is no value in Push—that Push actually pushes readers away, because of the in-your-face style of advertising.  You know, like they do on TV, at movies, along the highways, street corners . . .

Pull those readers, ladies!
On the other hand, the idea that Pull-only is the way to go is somewhat lazy thinking. A proper mix of push-pull is how to do it.

Simply put, unless your name is King or Rowling, you can’t just Pull market. When you can slap your name on a phone book and it sells, that's pulling. But to get to that point, you need to Push-Pull. There's no two ways about it. George RR Martin attends cons all the time, and he just talked in an interview with Entertainment Weekly about cancelling some so he could focus on writing.  Patrick Rothfuss blogs like a madman.  I tweet my little fingers off, so much so that sometimes it feels like a second job in itself.

No, you can't Push everyone into following you and reading you and then buying you. But you do need a core, a base, which is generally only had through Push marketing tactics.  I have 800+ followers on my Facebook author page.  But not really.  It’s probably closer to 80actual followers with the rest being reciprocal like-for-like folk.  But if eight of those like what I’m doing, they’ll tell eight people who tell eight people and eventually you're on the road to becoming a Kevin J. Anderson, able to support yourself and your family with your writing, but not really known to the masses outside your niche.

Classic Push-Pull marketing.

Now get out there and write a good book, then tell people about it.  Use all the tools that are available, find what works for you, but above all, remember to keep writing.

Keep writing!

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