Marketing Tuesday #1 – Reading Emails, Building a “Loves, Hates, and Recommends” chart

So because last Tuesday was TAX DAY, in which I had to finish up everything to get to my accountant, today is my first ever Marketing Tuesday.

In which I am building a chart to help me understand who my readers are, what they’re looking for from me, what other work they like and what they like about it.

The Research Chart Header
The Research Chart Header

Reader and Email are on there so the folks who answered the three questions I asked, whether via email, on my blog, or over in the HWC forums, can get their stories.

And so far, it’s looking very much like I’m going to have to write a new story for them. The people who like my work are enthusiastic about it — but in most cases, not for the reasons I thought.

SO FAR… (and I have a LOT of feedback yet to go through) many of MY readers love the fact that I mix genres, love my insertion of grim and gritty and real-world into fantasy and science fiction, love the fact that my worlds feel real, and do not mind at all that I smoosh all the stuff I love from nonfiction (anthropology and archeology and history and science and pseudoscience) into books that are ostensibly about other things.

Turns out… I’m not the only writer who is currently doing this — and the fact that there are folks who write what I love to write and who have really good audiences for it is encouraging as hell.

It just means I’ve been putting the stuff I love to write in front of the wrong people.

And the answers I’m getting to the questions I asked are showing me everything I was getting wrong… and better yet, how to get those things right.

So I’m going to have to write a story for these folks.

I think it’s going to be a short one-off that will introduce a new character, a new world, and an idea I have for my first “now I know what I’m writing” series.

Hugs and thanks to everyone who answered my questions. You guys are magnificent. 

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5 responses to “Marketing Tuesday #1 – Reading Emails, Building a “Loves, Hates, and Recommends” chart”

  1. Mea Avatar

    I appreciate your vulnerability in this process. The ability to say “I don’t know” and search for the right answer is admirable, and people with this characteristic are people I like to be around. Maybe that’s why I’ve hung around your digital space for almost a decade! Do I smell a new nonfiction mini-course in the future once you get this all figured out?

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      Only if I can figure it out so well that I’m a credibly successful practitioner of the techniques I’m learning. My standards for “successful,” by the way, are pretty high.

  2. Reetta R Avatar
    Reetta R

    Very cool. Looks like you got a lot of replies. The reasons you listed above are definately why I like your stories. I like gritty, even grim sometimes but your books always have a happy ending eventually and there is always hope and determination to do their best. Your world building is very creative and I love the mix of everything. And you are really talented with good kind of twists. The clues are there but are subtle enough that there is a real surprise.

    Once you have gone through all the replies, I’d love to hear more of your insights. This would be really useful to your writing students who are trying to establish their own author brands, especially those who will write in more than one genre.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Got a LOT of replies, and almost all of them go in depth. I may still be doing this next week.

      I’m reading each one all the way down to the bone, so it’s taking me about ten minutes per reply to set up the name/contact info, copy and paste specific quotes, separate what matters to that reader, add the recommended writers and their titles, and make sure I’ve understood the gist of what that reader is saying. I’m deeply grateful for the folks who replied, and who took me at my word and understood that I really needed help understanding what it is about what I write that matters to the readers who like it.

    2. Rebecca Avatar

      Thank you Reetta! You perfectly articulated what I had been trying to say in my email response to the question but hadn’t completely figured out myself. The one thing I unconsciously look for in all my fiction and love in Holly’s is the hope and happy(ish) ending. Life is like that. It can be dark and scary and funny and any number of things but it is the hope that keeps us all going. I am so glad you responded to this post.

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