Reading vs. Watching

I’ve been trying to dig more into marketing, since it seems that my books don’t actually sell themselves, and that’s involved a lot of trying to learn more about things to do. So much stuff is out there now, and it seems like everyone’s putting it in videos and podcasts instead of writing articles, which frustrates me because I learn by reading. If I just hear someone say something, it goes in one ear and out the other. I need to see words in print.

But that makes me wonder if videos and podcasts are things I should be doing. Is that how people get information now? I learned something earlier this year, which is that I am not my reader. I held off on doing a newsletter for a long time because I don’t like them and feel overwhelmed by e-mail, but it turns out that about 200 people (so far) want to get a newsletter from me. Could that mean that there are people who want to see videos from me?

And if I did that sort of thing, what would I even talk about? Stuff about my books? Writing tips?

You see why I’ve been holding off. I have the technology and the skill set. I just don’t know what to do with it.

One thing I am noticing is that there’s a proliferation of how-to courses out there about publishing and making big money at it, though at the cost of the courses, I suspect that they’re really making money by selling courses. And there must be a course on how to make money with courses because I’ve run into the same pattern a few times. Someone offers a free “master class” or webinar on a publishing-related topic. Frequently, this gets mentioned in the newsletter of someone who writes about publishing stuff (I do get those newsletters because there’s useful information). The “master class” ends up looking a lot like an infomercial, with the presenter spending a lot of time on their credentials before spending even more time setting up the importance of their topic (getting into how many books are published and how much money can be made), then giving one or two useful (but pretty basic) tips, and leading in to the pitch for the course, with lots of testimonials. I’ve been burned a few times by this, to the point I’m skeptical of any web event now. I’ve taken a couple of free classes, and I’ve even bought books by those people when I thought they might have good info but didn’t do the hard sell. I feel like there’s a bait and switch when the class turns out to just be an ad for a course and a way to harvest e-mail addresses.

I will not be putting together a course because I don’t think I know enough to be able to teach anyone else. But I might have some tips on writing and the writing life. Or I could talk about the background of some of my books — the sort of things I put in blog posts, but with me talking instead of it being in writing. I’d rather just read it, but I am not my readers.

So, any thoughts? If I did something like this, would anyone watch/listen?

4 Responses to “Reading vs. Watching”

  1. Emmely

    If making your own podcast isn’t really your thing you could also try if you can be in an episode of someone else’s. That way you would be able to get exposure to a new audienceas well. Probably even more than if you started your own which would at least at first mostly be listened to by people who already know you.

    • Shanna Swendson

      The tricky part is finding a podcast that wants me. It’s that old conundrum that you need to be famous already to be able to do the things that will make you famous.

  2. Angie

    I also prefer reading over watching or listening so I wouldn’t be likely to watch or listen to any videos or podcasts you created.

  3. Michelle

    I prefer reading over watching or listening. I started listening to audiobooks earlier this year, but I don’t know that I get as much out of them as I do with reading a book. I’ve seen blog tours for book releases instead of actual book tours, but don’t know how you’d go about setting one up.

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