I am blogging this today because it goes very well with the guest post that Rose Montague did. Marketing is something that I know and I hear a lot of authors say, “I was hoping that my book would do better.” Or, “Why aren’t people buying my book?” Many publishers now do not do a lot of marketing for their authors, it is unfortunate because not only are they losing money by doing this, the authors are losing money. In some ways it does save the publisher some by not printing off press release kits to send out and the like, but in the long run, what they would’ve spent to market they lost and then some.
So, how do you market your book? Aside from being a published author, you need to be a salesperson. Also, as bad as this may sound, you have to sell yourself and your book. Not to be confused with selling-out. When I say, “sell yourself and your book,” what I mean is that people do not know who you are. Okay, so yes, you are on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, and whatever other social media network you can think of. That is a great start. So what are you missing? A lot!
Being an author you know who your target audience is for your book, right? How are you targeting that particular audience? There are some free/cheap ways to market and there are some that you might need to shell out a little cash. I read something from a self-published author once that said, “Always expect to lose money on your first book, but make sure that it is worth it so that when you write book two you make all of it back and then some.” I would give that person credit, but honestly I just know too many authors. She was right though, book one isn’t going to make you a whole lot initially. It can later on but when it is your first novel and you are brand new it is hard to get back into the positive.
Let me first say that your best plan of action is to use your local resources and expand out. All those efforts on social media are fine, but when it doesn’t happen at home, you will still face the same issues. Make your own press release kits and send them to your local news stations, radio stations, book stores, and newspapers. Why? Because your local community wants to see you succeed. We love to brag that people are from our town or our city and they can do that when they have shaken your hand, heard your words, and watched you grow successfully. How do you do this? Do a book reading at your local library, bookstores, etc. Make books available for purchase that you can sign. Make your presence known within your community and word will spread.
I will be honest, I can’t tell you how many times I saw an author book signing event and had never even heard of the person, but I wanted to go and buy the book just so they could sign it. Why? Because autographs are awesome, and I love to support writers. Writing is a tough job and you deserve the recognition for your hard work, effort, countless late nights, hours spent, and tears shed when a chapter just didn’t work out. Seize the opportunity for praise. Most of you are doing all you can in the social media world. You are offering free copies, holding contests, book launch parties, and yes, even making book trailers. I love all of those ideas. However, those untapped resources are there waiting and you really have to push it.
You are now the CEO of your own empire and you are selling your name, your brand, and your work. Dress professionally, speak professionally, and you will be respected as such. Now, let’s say that you wrote a young adult novel…where do you market that? Greatest untapped resource that you may not have considered…schools. Local community colleges and high schools love to promote reading. Talk to them, call them and tell them who you are. Colleges have writing programs and there are many aspiring writers waiting to hear about your experience and how you go there. Same as in high schools….use it! Maybe you wrote a children’s book…grade schools. Let me explain why this is so great…my children’s school has more than once sent order forms home to order and author’s new book a month or two ahead of time, before the author was to come to the school. They would then take the books to the school, hear the author speak and get the books signed. Parent’s think this is really awesome and so do the kids. USE IT!
Let’s say you wrote, what my editor likes to call “a bodice ripper,” or romance novel. It’s super steamy…who do you market to? This may sound crazy, but chances are you have an adult store somewhere near you. You can ask them if they will sell copies of your novel, or yes, even do a book signing over by the toys..hahaha No, really, all kidding aside, I am not kidding. Many of these stores are mom and pop stores and they make money. It isn’t only pervs that shop there, couples shop there, lonely men and women shop there, and your book could potentially sell. Offer the store a commission of the sales. Also, you can offer free book marks with purchase with not only your book, but advertising the store as well.
If you wrote a science fiction novel, go to comic book stores or game stores. This is a great way to build partnerships that can last a long time within your community and as you build your reputation and sales, branch outside of your community; rinse and repeat…yes it is work, yes you have to be creative. You can do it. I want to see you succeed as much as you want to succeed, but success does not come easy. The average novel takes 450 hours to complete, but marketing takes at least that much to get it where you need to be.
Now, as far as social media goes, as great as that is, the big hits are going to come from paid ads. Google ads, Facebook ads, use stumble upon, etc. Yes, this costs money but you can control those costs and set limits. Start off small and build from there. Make sure that you are reaching as many people as you can possibly reach. Best selling authors didn’t start off that way. If your book is getting great reviews, invest in making sure more people are reading it and buying it.
Another thing that you may not be doing is blogging. Blogging is a great resource and bloggers are writers. Some good some bad, some do not want to write books, but many do. These are people that you want to know and they want to know you. Make yourself available, give advice, be a guru and they will follow you. It takes time, but I know many successful writers who do this.
Now, with all of this being said I hope that you can find new and inventive ways to make your book a success. Let me know if you have any other suggestions not mentioned above. Also, let me know if you used these tips and how it may have helped you. I love feedback! Don’t forget to follow me on http://www.facebook.com/eadavis It is a great place to discover new authors, and interact with people in the business. Come join us 🙂 Much Love,