What is The Art of the Hustle and Why it Matters

The Art of the Hustle, BadRedhead Media, BadRedheadMedia.com, authors The Art of the Hustle

I had a really good conversation with top music industry veteran, Rodney Alejandro, this week about music and books, and how [share ]the art of the hustle is completely different for recording artists vs. authors.[/share] The mindset is polar opposite. If an artist wants to make it, there’s none of the entitlement and complacency we often see in publishing. No, ‘if I write it, they will come,’ attitude.

What if a recording artist (in this case, Jamie Scallion, who has created a project with the help of the international bestselling band The Script) is also an author? This is now increasingly common (and is the case here, which is why we were having the conversation).

With Rodney’s permission, as I usually do not discuss my clients, ever, I’m talking about The Rock n Roll Diaries, the YA novel series Jamie has written based on his experiences as a singer in a band and touring with The Script, and the work we’re doing together to market it.

All artists in any kind of medium — whether you are a musician, artist, author, designer, whatever — have to hustle to connect with our consumers, right? Yet, as you well know, not every artist does so, particularly I find to my dismay, authors.

Let’s deconstruct.

I Created It. Now What?

In talking with Rodney, he says that singers and bands start hustling when they are young, young young. They grab every single opportunity: singing in local talent shows, latching on to any local opps they can find (big and small), and now of course, YouTube, which has exploded opportunities for young artists. But, that’s still not enough.

They have to connect with fans, managers, record companies, agents etc., on social media, too! That fanbase, and early growth of their fanbase (pre-marketing), is essential to an artists’ success.

How does this translate to authors and books?

My experience has been this: most authors come to me, rather begrudgingly, after their book has failed to sell, after the book has been out for six months, disappointed and full of excuses:

  • I don’t want to market,
  • I don’t have time to market,
  • marketing is stupid.

They have no author platform, think social media is for kids, and still have a free blog on Blogger. In other words, no hustle.

Building Relationships

This is decidedly not the case with me, as many of you know. I started hustling long before my own first two humor books came out in 2011 — I started building my author platform in 2008! Yes, I had a marketing and sales background, but it was also my own instinct regarding building relationships that came into play — I simply didn’t feel comfortable with the ‘hard sell.” I had spent seventeen years in Big Pharma, and had seen first-hand the benefits of building relationships with physicians, administrators, and even receptionists (aka, gatekeepers).

Books would be a different product, but the marketing and selling process is no different — connecting to the end-user is still critical. I didn’t know who I would be talking with — and with is the key word here — so I started there. Connecting with readers.

You build relationships with people; it’s not a one-way broadcast. 

can you be my shelter? fan art, The RocknRoll Diaries, Jamie Scallion, The Script

Fan art, Having It (The Rock 'n' Roll Diaries Book 2), Jamie Scallion, The Script

As for working with Jamie and the books, our approach is to focus on building relationships with fans, sharing fan art as you can see here, encouraging sales via the fan base. It’s all about the relationship building! Additionally, visuals are a huge part of the campaign and for good reason:

  • Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content (Source: Buffer).
  • In addition, researchers found that visuals with color increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80% (Source: Xerox).

Focusing on your Demographic

The good news for you is, it’s not too late. You can start now, identifying who you readers are, and building relationships with your demographic. And, in all likelihood, you’ll write more than one book, so building your base will also help with pre-marketing your next book.

Jamie and his team are everywhere: Twitter, FB, G+, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and I think most importantly, they have a street team who is truly part of their team, whom they actively involve in promotion, creation of graphics, helping to get the word out about events, sales opps (signings, readings), and even charitable opportunities.

Connecting with their YA demo is crucial to sales, so the street team is helpful in this regard. With over 100 million daily users on Snapchat, over half of all users on Pinterest are women under the age of 35, and Instagram — well, if your reader base is YA, there’s no question you need to be on there! (You can find all the stats on Hubspot here).

Own It. No, Really.

Recording artists realize early on that music is a business, ergo, ‘the music business.’ They have a manager (even if it’s their mom or dad — hopefully, someone brimming with ideas like Rodney), a tax accountant, a street team, wardrobe, all of it, because they understand that making an impression with fans is crucial. Fans buy records (or in 21st century speak, download tracks).

While an author doesn’t need all the optics, we still need to understand writing is a business. Publishing is a business. It’s almost cute when an author says, ‘I just want to write,’ because it’s so naive and childlike. I’m sure most singers just want to sing, but that’s not the reality, is it? Unless you have the money to hire a team to handle the business side of things for you (and even then, you’ll still be the one connecting with readers), you — the author — are the brand. Step up.

Book marketing is not a choice if you want people to read your book, to even know about it, if you want to make writing your career. Own that marketing is part of publishing, and that you are now the owner of that business!

Hustle, authors. Perfect the art of the hustle as Jamie, Rodney, recording artists, and successful authors have done for years. Or don’t.

The choice is yours.


Purchase Making It (The Rock ‘n’ Roll Diaries Book 1) or Having It (The Rock ‘n’ Roll Diaries Book 2) on Amazon US here 
or Amazon UK here. The eBook version of Having It is currently priced at only 99p for the month of March!
Connect with Jamie, The Script and Rodney on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or The RocknRoll Diaries website and be sure to catch the amazing tunes that accompany the books by The Script!

Want to learn how to sell more books? Sign up now to be a BadRedhead Media 30-day Challenge Book Marketing betareader! Subscribe to my BadRedhead Media newsletter and we’ll sign you up to beta-read an early copy of my new book. 



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