Eda Utku - on writing and marketing

30 April 2014 / Leave a Comment
I recently came across Eda Utku on Twitter – born in Turkey, she’s been living in Sydney for three years. She has a background in marketing and has set up a website for writers NeedHelpWriteNow.com. She’s also developed a unique approach to get her work out to readers. This year she is publishing the 12 Seasons of Growth short stories, each month she releases one story about a character adapting to life in Sydney. I wanted to find out more about her innovative marketing ideas – so I invited her to do a guest post … Here it is …

Writing and marketing are two sides of the same coin
I’m aware that there was a time where marketers were not widely trusted by artists. Perhaps those days are over now that there are increasingly more channels for artists to connect with their fans and many artists are taking up the art and science that is marketing and finding that at the end of the day, it’s just about telling stories, listening for feedback, improving stories (adjusting the pitch), growing their community and influence through creating virtuous cycles.

I look at art as making connections. For me, marketing is just as much art as writing. So how did a marketing professional like me get into writing? Like all artists, I did not choose to be an artist. I was born this way. My closest friends were words and I was always playing with them as soon as I’d learned how to speak in my mother tongue, Turkish. I had to deny that I was a writer because it was not a socially acceptable profession. Things have come a long way and with the diligence, hard work and willingness of artists to connect directly with their audience, soon enough children will be encouraged to become artists. I feel that a long overdue change in values is happening where intelligence, generosity of artistic gift, and thoughtfulness will be rewarded.

What working in marketing taught me
Marketing is not what it used to be. Mass media is losing ground as audiences are consuming their entertainment and news from various different sources. This is an opportunity as well as a challenge. The opportunity is that advertising on social media is much cheaper than the traditional broadcast media and can be more effective if one spends enough time to understand the networks and the audience. The challenge lies in understanding the culture of different social media and offering marketing content that’s going to be welcomed and not be labeled as disruptive spam, which no one has patience for anymore.

Most marketing ideas don’t see the light of day. However, when they do, well then that’s where the magic happens. Many campaigns flop. Failing, learning and trying again are the steps to success.

12 Seasons of Growth short story campaign
Running campaigns, doing promotions, involving the community and building mutually beneficial relationships are not the typical parts of the artists’ journey, but it’s something I’m trying this year. I’ve had 12 characters in my head for a long time and finally, shortly before the end of 2013 I decided they were going to come out of my head and onto the paper in 2014.

After approaching a boutique publisher and getting rejected, I decided to promote my own stories. I’m releasing the 12 characters as part of a 12 part short stories where each story is released on the 12th of each month in 2014. I was initially contemplating distributing copies of the self-published short stories (Kwik Kopy prints them for me) to 12 cafes and book shops, but logistics got in the way. Fortunately, from the start of the project, I had the support of Lovey Bite Café in Crows Nest. The owners were some of the first readers of the first story and offered their counter space.

My goal for 12 Seasons of Growth stories
A key concept of marketing is that there must be a goal to reach. The goal must be S.M.A.R.T. That is, specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound. As a writer, what are my writing goals? Is it better to strive for a quantitative measure on words, or qualitative feedback from readers? These are some of the questions I consider as I continue to write my stories.

My stories are now available at Lovey Bites Café for a suggested donation of $4.35. The proceeds go towards supporting NeedHelpWriteNow.com, my website where I introduce local writers to my community - I’m looking to grow to 1212 subscribers by 12/12/2014. I was glad when the story of the 12 Seasons of Growth short story campaign got picked up by Mosman Daily newspaper and I got some mentions for Lovey Bite Café. I’m focused on getting readers to offer feedback on the 12 Seasons of Growth stories. As a result, the community is growing. However, I still have a long ways to go before I reach my quantitative goal.

You can check out the campaign on her website http://www.NeedHelpWriteNow.com/sydney-reads-contest


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