It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group! And today marks the one year anniversary of the IWSG website. Has the time flown by or what???
I recently ran across the blog of an author who was having trouble marketing her book. In her blog post, she said something along the lines of, “I don’t do much marketing. I kind of just put the book out there, don’t publicize it, write something else, and then say to myself ‘I’ll do better next time.’”
I thought about that for a while. Though I’m no psychologist, something tells me that this author is purposefully sabotaging herself. Hey, it happens. We don’t want to finish our novel so we clean the dishes instead. We’re afraid of what our beta readers are going to think, so we lollygag on that last chapter longer than necessary, or go back to the beginning, obsessing over every little word, never really finishing the darn thing because we’re afraid of being judged.
Or, we’ll have a perfectly fine novel but we don’t do our due diligence at marketing ourselves.
“But, Quanie,” you say, “I’m no marketing expert! All I want to do is write and I don’t have a budget to hire somebody! So you see, it’s really not my fault that nobody, not even my closest friends, knows about my novel!”
Yes, it is, and I’ll tell you why: your writing career is your responsibility. I’m assuming that if you wrote a novel, you wrote the best novel you could possibly write, so you owe it to yourself and your potential fans to get the word out about your story. And besides, who says you need a huge marketing budget to promote your novel? Does it help? Sure. Is it necessary? Absolutely not.
Here are a few tips:
- Pick your poison: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Pick one (or two), learn how to maximize it, and start networking. Avoid overloading on the “buy my book” posts/tweets like the plague and start making genuine connections. Help other authors promote their books and you’ll be surprised how quickly others will be willing to return the favor for you.
- Start blogging. Yes, I know. You don’t want to blog, and you can name a ton of successful authors who don’t touch the stuff, but this is a great way to connect with other authors, readers, and reviewers. Whatever it is you’re going to blog about, make sure the content is interesting enough to draw readers in and make them want to share the content.
- Get on Goodreads. Yesterday. Join some of the review groups and offer some free copies of your book in exchange for a review.
- Organize a blog tour. If you don’t have the time or plain ole just don’t feel like doing it yourself, hire someone to do it.
- Guest post on another author’s blog to reach readers outside of your normal circle.
- Tell people you wrote a book. Yes, I know: for some reason you’re treating your novel like it’s the world’s best kept secret, but people can’t buy a book that they don’t know exists. Besides, once your family/friends/coworkers realize you wrote a book they’ll probably be impressed and will tell everyone that they know a real life published author. And there is nothing like free, word of mouth marketing.
- Get some bookmarks and business cards made with your book cover and your social media info. And don’t be shy to casually mention you wrote a book! The conversation might go something like this:
“It looks like it’s going to rain.”
“Oh? Did I tell you I wrote a book?” Bam: hand out the bookmark. Easy peazy.
- If you have a physical copy of your book, leave a few copies with your hair stylist. If she double books like the stylists I know, her clients will be there until kingdom come: why not help them discover your book while they wait? It also wouldn’t hurt to ask the stylist if you could leave a few bookmarks on her workstation. It’s worth a shot!
- Make a book cover flyer with your social media info and buy links and post them at local coffee shops.
- Got some wiggle room in your marketing budget? You might want to consider paid advertisement (Goodreads, Bookbub, etc).
There are many ways to market a novel, and if you’ve taken the time to write the best book you can possibly write, why not do everything you can to promote yourself? Is there a chance that you could publish your novel and, with little to no marketing, experience J.K. Rowling like success? Sure, but it’s highly unlikely since most authors have to be diligent about helping readers discover their books. If you’re serious about your writing, you’ll be willing to put in the work it takes to have a stellar career, because after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither is an author’s platform.
What about others? What marketing strategies do you find work best? Which do you find are a complete waste of time? Which social media outlets have you found most beneficial? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is my entry for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I give permission for this entry to be included in the anthology.
Title: How to Help Readers Discover Your Book
Bio: Quanie Miller writes paranormal novels and romantic comedies. You can catch up with her at quanietalkswriting.com.