Thursday, July 17, 2008

Focus spelled backwards is "suck off"

Many years ago when I worked a corporate job for a southern US media giant, I attended a marketing retreat with other managers and marketing folk in the Internet branch. A guest speaker named Laura Ries spoke to us about the need for focus in business, and how companies that lose their focus and try to do a hundred different things at once tend to fail. Case in point: Toys R' Us. They did well just with the toys, but when they branched into satellite clothing and speciality stores Babies R' Us and Kids R' Us they lost their focus and their foothold. That's why you saw so many Babies R' Us stores closing over the last decade.

Laura spoke and we applauded politely, and after she left a few people sniggered. Oh, we'll be fine, our web portals are going to be everything to everybody in our respective markets. Focus, schmocus.

Four years later, our parent company decided to focus on print and TV, and lopped off a good chunk of the Internet branch, including moi. Meanwhile, Laura Ries is still doing her thing.

The point of this story? Focus is indeed important in every aspect of business, including promotion. As an author, I must make it a point to make sure my book is exposed to as many people in my target audience as possible. Now, there are two different way I can achieve this:

A) I can spread myself over a wide range of Yahoo lists, social networks, and other message boards promoting my work, or

B) I can keep to one or two places and devote the bulk of my promotion there

I couldn't tell you which answer is correct. I can tell you that Laura Ries had a point when she spoke to my company. To find success, you must find your focus and keep to it. Focus can work in writing, but for this post I will concentrate on promotion, since I have pretty much decided to maintain a focus on the books I plan to write.

So let's consider this an experiment of sorts to see how well I do. I will limit promotion to The Romance Studio, where I have a membership, this blog, and will contribute to RT BookClub ads where applicable. Yet, I will do more promotion at these places. If I detect improvement in my sales, I will report it here.

And hopefully I won't suck off.

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