Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five Marketing Tips For Authors

I've been asked several times recently how to market a book, so today I thought I'd give some ideas of things that I've done.  The thing is, though, is that there is no one way to market a book.  Each book and each author is different so what works for one, might not work for another.  It's good to try out a lot of different things and see what works for you.

The one thing, though, that I KNOW works is this.

Write another book.

When you find an audience for your work, they will no doubt look for another book from you. Write one. My sales were fine for my first eight books, but they really took off after my ninth book, so don't get discouraged if you have two or three and your sales aren't quite what you expect.  Keep writing, keep producing and honing your craft, and you'll get there, even if it takes nine books to do it.

Some other ideas that you can consider are:

Be visible on social media.

This sounds so basic, but honestly I'm surprised at how many authors don't have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter, or even a webpage.  When your readers want to find you, make it easy for them.  Having a basic webpage is a great start, where you list all your books and where people can buy them, an about you page, reviews, maybe some fun things like deleted scenes, stuff for book clubs or whatever.  Also make sure there's a way for them to sign up for your author newsletter.  Personalize the page to you and give your readers that behind the scenes glance at what you're about and what books you have.  Same with Facebook and Twitter or Google + or Pinterest, or whatever social media you choose to focus on---be yourself.  Don't talk about your books all the time or you will be unfriended quickly.  Build relationships and a community and the side benefit to making great new friends is that people will generally want to know more about your books.

Do a Book Launch/Tour/Blast

It gives you visibility and you usually can get a jumpstart on reviews on Amazon and Goodreads if you do a book tour or launch.  There are several sites that will set up a book tour for you, or you can do it yourself with bloggers and reviewers.  But as someone who gets tons of requests to review books, please be courteous and know what kind of books are reviewed on the blog.  For example, if the blog reviews romance and you write horror, then you probably won't be a good fit.

When you are setting up a blog tour, you should do it at least a month in advance of your book release. Give the reviewers a choice of dates and then help advertise them when the post is live.  Some say ten stops on a blog tour is a good number, some go much higher, I think that's a personal decision.

With a book launch there are so many ways to do one.  Author friends used to do a physical one in a bookstore with prizes and a party atmosphere, but lately I've mostly seen online ones where there are prizes offered every hour or something on Facebook or Twitter, like the one I recently did with Jordan McCollum. Decide what works best for you.

Have an Author Central page

This is a way for authors to track their sales and rankings, and to do a professional looking page for their work on Amazon etc.

Engage with Readers and Groups on Goodreads

I've enjoyed the people I've met on Goodreads and love to talk about books so it's a perfect fit.  I don't talk about my own books unless asked, but word of mouth marketing is the best marketing out there.  When someone knows you and your reading tastes, they are likely to ask about your own books because they know you. Does that make sense?  Just be yourself. I can't stress that enough.  And make your presence known on the web.

There are tons of ways to "market" your book, but it all comes down to letting people know you and when they do, they will want to know your books, too.  Raise your visibility, build a fanbase, have fun doing it, and above all, keep writing!


Debra Erfert said...

All of your ideas are probably the best way to sell a book, but what happens when you are inherently shy? Like, I can't go on Facebook everyday and say something personal. I see other authors who will tell us what they've just eaten, or that a spider just scared them, or some such thing. And, I'm sorry, I can't stand the way some authors are always "name dropping" the title to their books when they leave a comment to a post--related however slightly to the subject. I'm great at writing that next book, and then the next, and so on and so forth. I guess that's something.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Actually, most authors I know are a bit on the shy side. It does make it a bit harder, but I think it's still do-able. If you can't post something personal (and really who wants to know what you've just eaten) maybe you can post about fun things you found doing research, or a TV show you like, or post a picture of a beautiful sunset you saw that day or something like that. It doesn't always have to be personal, you know?

And you have tons of talent which will take you far. You're amazing!

Debra Erfert said...

Ah...flattery does go along way with me. Thanks.