Putting Reckless Romantics To Rest
I died last week. Again. I’ve died hundreds of times in my life, although admittedly the final mortal version has yet to happen. Still, the recent death was quite painful, at least emotionally. Last week a dream died. My dream. And, in its final moments, I was the one who had to unplug the life support system that sustained it. Yes, I had to kill my dream.
I’ve been working for months on marketing my book, “Remedies for Reluctant Romantics,” having tried everything from online giveaways, author blogs, soliciting reviews, and finally social media. First, I focused on the specifics of my target audience and when I felt clear that they were young, tech savvy, educated and action oriented folks, I sought and found someone to help me put together a social media campaign to get my target audience involved and ultimately connected to my book. We started with FaceBook but quickly switched to Instagram as our audience was rapidly migrating to this relatively new site.
“Reckless Romantics” was the Instagram site name we came up with; our thought was that this title best fit the character of the people we wanted to connect with. We focused on “Love in Action” and used the themes in my book as titles for our Reckless Romantic Challenges, contests where we asked our Followers to post their short videos of “Love in Action.” Surprisingly, the site did quite well and we had nearly 700 Followers in three months.
But we didn’t sell one book. In fact, when we gave the book away to our contest winners, they didn’t even bother to download it.
Ouch! Gut punch!
We tried a number of “fixes” but as noted above, the clincher was that even when we gave the book away, people didn’t want to look at it. Eventually, I had to accept that the money I was paying for the social media campaign might be making some of our followers feel good, but I was bleeding to death financially and had to stop being “nice.” I pulled the plug and our Reckless Romantics Instagram site is now in internet purgatory, floating in cyberspace unattended.
Was this all bad? No, actually it wasn’t “bad” at all. It was simply an effort made to achieve a goal that failed. I still have the goal of being a successful writer, meaning I make money from my writing to support myself, but now I need to evaluate what happened, what i learned, and decide what I can do next that will be more successful.
What did I learn? One thing came out loud and clear: people crave intimacy. Our followers were mostly inactive until we started personally responding to each of them, welcoming them to our site, and encouraging them to get into our Challenge. Activity picked up radically. Yes, people want to feel connected to other lives, to warm and friendly spirits and they want to feel part of something bigger, such as our theme that Love In Action Makes A Better World.
I also learned that authenticity leads to intimacy. When we were open and honest with our followers, they opened up to us. I also learned that my book was either not interesting enough for our Followers to read or they just don’t read many books period. I suspect a bit of both is true, based on research I did that noted the diminishing reading habits of our younger population.
Yes, I did die again last week. The dream I had of social media success also died, but from the ashes I will come up with a new strategy to be a more authentic writer building a better world.
Dead again, thank you. Now I can be reborn.