Marketing is a hot topic for writers because everyone wants to know the magic bullet. How do we tweak our approach to nab the most readers?
One of my favourite writers and bloggers, Chuck Wendig had these sage words to say on the topic of marketing for writers, ‘Self-promotion is a seduction, not a kick in the crotch. It’s a conversation in a smoky bar, not a soapbox-and-a-bullhorn. You wrote a book? Congratulations, but nobody gives a hot cup of shit. Everybody writes books now.’
Working authors know that marketing is one of the gnarliest parts of the business. I read at least a couple of articles on marketing a day. I think for those of us who wish to learn about non-offensive self-promotion for our art, we seek information from trustworthy sources. I’m always seeking the right advisors as I try to develop a marketing model that fits me.
When I first ventured onto social media, about five years ago, I remember a conversation I had with some other writers over on LinkedIn. In a public forum, a fellow writer commented that he wouldn’t be getting involved with ‘the sales’ of his books. He was ‘the talent,’ and the marketing ‘was the publisher’s job.’
In the past, I believe the authors could leave ‘the sales’ up to the publishing house. Nowadays, a small tier of top authors may exist in the rarefied realm of being “the talent,” however, the number of first-time authors who receive this sort of royal treatment would likely be nil. These days, if you’re an Indie author and self-publish, you will do 100% of the marketing. If you’re published by someone else, be they big or small, you’ll do 95% of the marketing. Either way, the buck stops with you.
Teacher and digital media advisor, Jane Friedman advises, ‘Before pub day, every author must consider his or her marketing model. What approach builds on the assets you already have, or complements your strengths and is feasible for the readers you currently reach?’
Rather than chasing the magical formula for instant success, Jane gives guidance on how to take the long term approach, here’s a link to the post, ‘Long Term Marketing Models for Self Published Authors,’ by Jane guest posting over on Publishers Weekly: https://janefriedman.com/long-term-marketing-models-for-self-published-authors/ (Thanks to friend and critique partner, Robyn Campbell, who sent it through).
Marketing for today’s author gets harder by the day, as competition for the reader’s dollar increases. And the “marketplace” is constantly evolving, too, which makes it even more of a challenge to keep up, especially for oldies, like me. There’s no more hiding out in caves or towers for creative types these days. We have to keep our finger on the pulse. ‘It took web-based Goodreads seven years to reach 25 million people. It took mobile-based “whatsapp” three years to hit 200 million users and another two years to reach 500 million,’ said Elizabeth Dimarco
Author, Curtis Sittenfeld, said, ‘By not being active on social media, you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot. That said, faking fluency with or interest in forms of social media that don’t do it for you is much harder than making up dialogue for imaginary characters.’
You can’t fake “fluency” which is why I’ve written numerous posts in the past about following your heart where social media is concerned. You have to do what feels right for you in order to create an authentic Marketing Model that will work for you.
What is your Marketing Model?
Teacher and author, Bob Mayer relates, ‘I market using . . .Slideshare, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc, all from home. I used to not be a fan of book trailers, and while I don’t think they do much direct selling, they increase your digital footprint. And they’re cool.’
Social media expert, Kristen Lamb, says in her new book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World , ‘Give a writer a marketing gimmick and he’ll sell a few books today. Give a writer the keys to connect to her digital community, and she’ll sell books for life.’
That’s so true. It’s all about making friends as you go; otherwise it’s going to be a tough, lonely journey. I like Kristen’s advice re building community. Whichever way you choose, my belief is you need to stick to doing the things you most enjoy so that you can maintain them long-term.
Here’s my leg-up. I want to share my own humble marketing plan.
I’m sure there are others out there far more extensive. However, I have young boys at home. I haven’t got time to muck around. So if you’re up for a simple Marketing Model, this is the list I made prior to publishing my debut novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ last year.
*Ask for reviews on the inside rear cover of my book
*Announce launch on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+/Pinterest/Goodreads
*Line up guest posts on other blogs (think, “Adjacent fans”)
*Media page on website
*Make announcement with buy links to mailing list, via newsletter
*Author Page on Goodreads, add my book
*Author Page on Facebook
*Author Page on Amazon
*Launch Page on Slideshare
*Request reviews from reviewers
*Post reviews on website
*Pay for a promotion on BookBub, Beezeebooks, and ShelfLife
*Enrol in KDP Select
The list of possibilities can be endless.
Have you started wrestling with the beast of self-promotion? Any tips to share? Had any horror stories en route to finding your best Marketing Model?
Talk to you later.
Keep on Creating!
Yvette K. Carol
‘Focus on craft; not marketing and promotion. You can’t promote crap. The best marketing is a good story; better marketing is more good stories.’ ~ Bob Mayer
‘Treat writing like a hobby and you will receive nothing but the fruits of a hobby. It’s a vocation. Honor it as such.’ ~ Owen Egerton
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