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Motivated to Market: Beyond the First Poetry Book--Guest Post by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, M.Ed.

So. You’ve written another poetry book.


Maybe it’s your second, maybe it’s your 15th.


Either way, if you’re feeling that dip after it’s gone live, you aren’t imagining it. You know the one I’m talking about — the little letdown that maybe this publishing thing isn’t giving you the rush you once got from putting your collected works out to the public. I’ll put it here in the first paragraph: It’s okay to feel a little depressed after your book has been released, especially if it’s not your first book.


You aren’t alone.


BUT…you don’t need to be a victim of that feeling, either. And you don’t have to let it seep into your marketing efforts.


Here are some lessons I’ve learned and actions I’ve taken to keep myself motivated to market long after the thrill of publishing books ghosted me.


Remember your why.


This is critical not just in marketing, but in life. Take a moment and think about the bigger picture, the reasons behind embarking on any project. Now think about your book publishing.


Why do you keep at it?


Maybe you simply and inexplicably feel compelled to share your art with the world. Maybe you want to leave a legacy for your family. Maybe you are trying to make a name for yourself.


Or maybe you just love books.


Whatever the reason(s), write it down and put it somewhere visible. Read it more than once. Read it out loud. Write about it.


Whatever it takes, keep your underlying motivation front and center. You can’t market your books effectively without knowing your reasons for publishing.


Honor your accomplishments.


Just because you’re missing the publishing high doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself a pat on the back, a little party celebrating your accomplishments.


It takes hard work and dedication to produce any collection, never mind more than one.


So take out those books, line them all up, light a candle, eat a big bowl of ice cream, and post a pic on Instagram. Or buy yourself an ugly holiday sweater on clearance. Or just hug yourself.


Remind yourself you deserve to be rewarded for your work and that not all rewards are royalties. What does this have to do with marketing? You can’t convince people to value your work if you aren’t valuing it yourself.


Plan and pace your marketing.


This goes for book one through book 21.

Start early by creating a strategy for marketing this new book. Then develop a realistic plan, one that won’t overwhelm or exhaust you. Hold yourself to it.


Do your pre-marketing, your build up, your launch. Build relationships and presence. Send out press releases, take part in readings, engage regularly on social media, get your books past and present into stores. Do it all on a schedule that fits your lifestyle and goals.


Avoid marketing helter-skelter, which is ineffective and will burn you out and kill your motivation.


And remember. If you don’t plan and pace your marketing, you might end up not marketing at all. Or even writing anything new.


*


I will leave off by saying I recognize not all writers have the desire to market, and staying motivated to do so can be harder than staying motivated to write in the first place.


This tendency can be exacerbated by the post-publishing letdown, especially for poetry, which admittedly can be a hard sell to a more general audience. Sound like you?

Rethink why you are so reticent to get your newest poetry book noticed. If you need support, reach out to the writing community. Connect with people who want to see you succeed. There might be more of them out there than you realized.


You’re hearing from one.


About the Author

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt hails from the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area. Born in Billerica, Massachusetts and of Lebanese and Sicilian descent, she considers herself a writer by nature and by trade, having begun writing as soon as her mother helped teach her to read. A first-generation college graduate, she received her master’s in education with a writing concentration from Cambridge College. Her first published poem, “Remembering Thoreau,” appeared in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum in the early 1990s. Since then, her work has appeared in publications such as Yankee, Frogpond, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Panapoly, North of Oxford, The Southern Quill, Miracle Monocle, Big City Lit and dozens of other journals, anthologies, books and online media. Her poetry has been taught in secondary and post-secondary classrooms and workshops. As of 2023, she has had 12 books published and has received numerous awards and recognition for her poetry. She works full-time as a marketing writer and creative for a prominent technology corporation. Learn more at www.KatherineGotthardt.com.

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