On Wednesday, we talked about how I stumbled upon the realization of what marketing means to a traditional publisher.
Money. (I’m sure that maybe there is more to it. This is what I see.)
Money goes a long way when it pays for television and social media adds, arcs, floor displays, book tours…etc. But there is also the back money or money the publisher has invested in their brand. They have FB fans, email subscriptions, author and reader sites for teens…etc.
Most indie and self-publishers don’t have that kind of access to such immediate broad exposure.
So what are we to do?
Yes there is blogging and all other social media networks you choose to participate in like FB, Google+, Triberr, Goodreads, LibraryThing, forums, and newsletters. And don’t forget blog tours.
Branding. (Such a huge topic that I’m not going to get into it here. I’m still learning.)
Please just Google it. All I know is that it has to do with incorporating your keywords in social media so your site shows up on the first page with Google searches.
Networking and forming your tribe to help you get the word out.
Short stories and novellas that help promote your novel.
Blurbs. (Not sure how effective this is.)
As a self-published author this is a huge advantage. Use the coupons at Smashwords to garner reviews and exposure before your release.
Querying book bloggers. (Those that accept self published novels.)
A place where anyone can post their work, chapter by chapter. (It might gain you fans but I’m not sure if this actually translates to sales.)
Tagging and meta-data.
This is all about choosing smart tags to describe your novel, choosing narrow categories on Amazon so your novel gets seen.
Pixel of Ink and paid advertising sites.
Expensive but has lots of potential, for these sites have lots of followers.
What some authors might not think about.
If you only have one book out, it seems smarter to write more and promote less. Wait until your whole trilogy is out to pay for the ads or go free or do the 2 month blog tour.
The only proven effective marketing:
- An excellent story and good writing. Your story has to have a market and readers.
- Writing and getting the next story out there.
All the other items are icing on the cake.
(This is info I’ve decided upon after reading many blogs by more experienced authors. I’m sure after I publish and market and promote my first novel, I’ll have a better understanding of what works for me and how to do these things! Writers are creative and need to tap that to find ways to market and promote. And ask fellow authors what they did!)
Have you seen any cool marketing ideas?
Business cards are a must. Or at least a book mark or small post card with the cover of the book, your name, the name of the book, your website and/or blog address, and then a logline or short blurb. These can be passed out anywhere at anytime to anyone.
You can’t imagine how many times someone will say, “So, what do you do?” or “Hey how’s the writing coming?” and you can just whip out the card. It’s tangible, something they can feel and look at and say, “Well, now isn’t that cool.”
Put them in Christmas cards, regular bill envelopes, pass them out after church, to anyone who asks, “What do you do?”
Anne – I think business cards and the such are necessary to give people contact information but I do wonder if bookmarks and swag actually sell books. I’m sure every little bit helps. And I’ll have some printed up. Thanks!
I think any time you can do anything in person it helps. If you have your book in print, contact the owner of your local indie bookstore, or a gallery that features the work of local artisans, to see if you can come in and do signings, have a little table featuring your book. It might not translate to much for sales, but the more you can establish yourself as a real person the better, I think. People like being able to relate to an author, and so seeing you in person, or having any kind of personal contact (even something as simple as a Twitter “thank you” for some kind words about your book goes a long way) helps.
I agree with Anne that they’re necessary, but I’m not sure how many books they sell. It’s another way of putting your book in front of eyeballs. I carry bookmarks around with me, give them out at school visits, include two in every giveaway (one to keep, one to give away). Sometimes it’s easy to connect the dots between marketing and sales (POI ads), sometimes it’s nearly impossible (bookmarks).
All of your points, Laura, are fantastic and well reasoned. They key is writing a book that people want to talk about – that’s what spurs word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, there’s no formula for that! Which is why you keep writing more books, because 1) you’ll get better and 2) one of them will have the magic pixie dust. 🙂
Simply educating ourselves is probably the best starting point. We have so much information we can access–the experience of other writers, forums to pose questions, blogs to mine for marketing gold.
I also think there’s something to be said for innovation. Doing something new or tweaking something that writers already do is a great way to ‘stand out.’
Overall, I think taking the long, slow build is the most effective. One of your Indelibles crew (Shelli!) is on the blog today talking about marketing too. 🙂
Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse
Angela – Love that. Education. And I love how Shelli’s goes more indepth on the social media platform end of marketing which I chose not to talk about here but just briefly mention. Those topics require books!
Susan – Yes! Writing the next book. You never know which one will take off!
Louise – In person helps for the local area. To be honest, I’m not sure how much I’ll totally focus on that for my books. In person means a lot of time and preparation. One that I’m not always sure is the best investment of time over the long run. But being known in the community is nice in a quaint sort of way. If that’s what one wants.
I’m a big believer in the blog tour and continued presence online. And yes, I have assembled my army!
Wow, I think my brain just exploded from all of this. You mean there’s a world outside story structure I now need to explore????
I’m still figuring out the tagging thing. Because I don’t know what it is, I don’t pay attention to it on Amazon. That, and I only buy self pubbed books from bloggers I know. So right now the tags mean nothing to me. I guess one day I’ll have to figure it out.
I love your list Laura. You’ve condensed everything I’ve read too. 🙂 After reading the comments I’m thinking I might change my business card into a bookmark. Instead of a little short rectangle that no one can use, I’ll make it a bit longer, and have that as a business card. If it gets used it’ll definitely get seen. 🙂 Now if I could only get some great cover art!
So much to learn!
I loved how Jody Hedlund posted pics of people spotting her book and reading it. Great way to connect.
alex – You are definitely the master at assembling armies!
Stina – I know, such a learning curve. I”m right there with you.
ansha – Bookmarks are a great idea! More useful than business cards, for sure.
Wendy – I love how Jody did that. Great idea! *taking notes*
Thanks for all the tips! I feel like it’s a constant learning experience–finding a balance with some things and exploring options to see what works and what doesn’t.
I agree that business cards/bookmarks are a must, regardless if you’re self-publishing or have a huge deal from the Big 6. Since so much of the business is done online, Amazon/tagging are huge and something I really need to learn. As Angela said, there is so much to learn, and that’s probably one of the best way to be successful.
Sounds like smart choices!! Good luck on whatever marketing avenues you pursue, I’m sure you’ll do well!!
Okay, I feel lame. But I’m not exactly sure what Amazon tagging and meta data means. Anyone want to explain?
I sent you an email. I’m just beginning to understand it all too!
Sherrie – And it’s not cheap. $199 if your book is 99 cents and $299 if your book is 2.99. Pretty expensive but seems to have some incredible results.
Wow, Laura, we were on similar wavelengths yesterday, weren’t we? I’m just now catching up with my weekly blogging (man, that day job just gets in the way).
I love your suggestions – some I’ve never even heard of. I’m bookmarking this for future.
Also, I love the comment Shelli Johannes left on my blog yeserday with some of the things she came up with for her book, Untraceable.
I think it’s important to look for ways to reach people for our individual books, as well as reaching people through the typical book-related social media sources.
I love when I find I’m on the same wave length as other bloggers!
Okay, I had no idea that you PAID to have your books listed on Pixel of Ink! Geez. I’m still so naive. Here I thought they just spent all this time searching out good deals to pass along!
Yes, and it’s not cheap but can have fantastic results!
Another Rosetta Stone moment from you. Thank you so much. Off to bookmark this.
Great point about the best way to sell your book is have a great story. That being said, there are many great stories that get hidden because of lack of marketing (and many mediocre stories that get publicized because they have a big marketing budget). So marketing your product is essential. Truly, though, you need to look at your own individual story and think creatively about how to get it out to people. That’s my two cents!
I agree Laura! So many terrific books that need more visibility! Money makes a huge difference when it comes to being seen. That’s why indie and midlist traditional authors need to think differently. I like your two cents!
This is a great collection of tips, Laura! Thanks for it. I think even if you’re doing traditional publishing, it doesn’t hurt to do some of this. 🙂 <3