You really can’t market your book these days without some familiarity with online tools (unless maybe you hire it all done). But so many authors become frustrated when they deal with marketing technology. I’m working on a course that will help those of you struggling to market your book, but until then, here are some suggestions I’ve gleaned from research into the area of frustration with learning online tools.
Allow extra time.
What this means is you shouldn’t try to learn a new tool when you don’t have time to fully explore it. Editing your podcast in Audacity when you’ve never used it before shouldn’t be done when you’ve notified everyone it will appear in a few hours. Estimate the time you think it will take you–and double it. You know best how you work, but don’t underestimate the time it will take.
Understand what the tool’s purpose is and why you are using it.
Before you purchase or download a new software program or app, understand what it does. I know that sounds a bit strange, but you may have been told by someone you “must” have it to market your book. Read reviews and evaluate the program based on what it does and how it fits into your marketing strategy. Purchase or download it only if it fits your needs.
Curb your unrealistic expectations.
While the marketing materials may have portrayed the software as the greatest thing since homemade cornbread, don’t think it will be the answer to all your marketing woes. Even a highly-rated program may not work the way you think it should.
Take advantage of the way the tool works rather the way you’ve always done it.
I confess I’m one to jump right into using a program, relying on my intuition and experience to guide me. But there’s no substitute for reading instructions and watching tutorials. I know I’ve developed some habits with Photoshop, for example, that are influenced by my experience with similar programs rather than the best way to do it.
Offer specific suggestions for improvements.
Once you’re familiar with the program, send the company suggestions for how you think it could work better. Most companies are working on their software frequently, and may incorporate good ideas for improving the user interface or adding new features. That way, all your hard work is part of the solution!
Technology frustration is a complex issue, as I found when researching the topic. Here’s a wonderful quotation I found from Gino Robair in a recent Electronic Musician. He points out that “while the result of all the time and energy we put into our craft is a greater understanding of our field,” we become more aware of what we don’t know and don’t measure up to, “making us feel like we haven’t progressed at all.” Robair says, “If we permit ourselves to focus on process rather than goal, and look at our work in the long term, then we can better determine which is the best direction to take. And each time self doubt crops up, we use it as an impetus to ask new questions, challenge ourselves, and generally up our game.” [Robair, Gino. 2015. “Embracing the Learning Curve.” Electronic Musician 31, no. 1: 82. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed August 19, 2015).]
Working with new online tools and software can be frustrating, but we channel that frustration into a new learning experience to add to our knowledge base and improve our online book marketing skills. I wish you the best in your progress!