While at the Interactive portion of the South by Southwest conference, I heard or participated in many conversations about the author’s role in marketing their book. In almost every instance Gary Vaynerchuk’s name came up as the perfect example of what every author should be doing.
While I have complete regard and respect for the online empire that Gary has built, that line of thinking is completely ridiculous.
Gary Vaynerchuk built his business over a long period of time that consisted mostly of creating new web content every day. Once he was ready to release his book, he had the huge following needed to make it a best seller. The problem is most authors have other things going on in their lives, as well they should.
Authors like Dan Ariely or Clay Shirky don’t have time to spend every waking minute creating new web content because they are busy doing the research that makes their books so spectacular, not to mention teaching at their respective universities. The same goes for many of the business book authors out there. They are spending their time building profitable, innovative businesses and would have nothing to write about if they spent that time creating web content.
So this notion that Gary Vaynerchuk is the example that every author should follow is a farce and will only cause discouragement on the part of other authors. Their thinking is what’s the point of trying if you can not do it like Gary, right?
Authors can be successful in building an online platform without it consuming their lives or being the focus of their business. While it does take showing up daily, it does not mean you need to spend hours every day building your online presence. It would be a complete shame if an author was distracted from the seeds of their great ideas by striving to create “enough” web content every day.
The truth is that, while the author does have a responsibility in marketing their book, it does not have to consume their lives. You can begin the process of building your tribe by spending just a few hours a week. It does not have to consume your life. Get started. Keep at it. Little by little, your community will grow and you will sell your book and spread your message.
March 18, 2010