You’re a writer, and you’ve just started your journey into the world of publishing, but to increase the odds of your work being successful, it’s important to market your work correctly. Today, we’re going to introduce some new, but important concepts, that you need to consider when marketing.
In today’s competitive literary market place, there’s one critical way to differentiate yourself from the millions of other authors – your voice. You have a unique perspective that will appeal to others, and must learn to use that to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your voice shine through in all your work.
Social Media is the place for this and is where you can connect one-on-one to your fan base. Readers are hungry to know their favorite authors, the better you feed those cravings, the more successful you will become.
- Don’t over promote yourself or your products.
- Learn the basic rules of social media before you engage with others.
- Remember the most important part of social media: BE SOCIAL!
- Be approachable. So many authors hide behind the anonymity of the web and make themselves difficult to socialize with.
- Reach out to your audience or at least meet them halfway so they feel appreciated as a reader and supporter of your work. Without your readers, you wouldn’t have a product to sell.
A proper website presence is the foundation to any successful marketing plan. Your website doesn’t have to be fancy or have a ton of information but it does need to adequately represent who you are and what you do (i.e. mystery fiction writer versus fantasy writer).
- Avoid being too much in any extreme (i.e. too many bright colors, too many graphics, too much content).
- Avoid flash as much as possible. Search engines, which are text based, do not recognize flash. While it looks good, it’s not going to bring visitors and in some cases, it won’t keep them either.
- If possible, use a content management system like WordPress for ease of management.
- Update your content on an as needed basis as opposed to static HTML sites.
- Choose a proper domain name and maintain it. For authors, 99% of the time this should be your name (not a nom de plume or pen name), such as charitykountz.com.
- Do not spend thousands on a website, especially at first. Your website will develop over time and spending too much up front will bring about nothing but regret later.
Find unique ways to get in front of your audience. Yes, traditional book stores are a part of the strategy but there are many more opportunities. Newly published authors make the mistake of pursuing nationally syndicated programs and completely miss the niche-based markets which can be an important part of your marketing strategy.
- Community arts programs and organizations are often open to providing a platform for writers.
- Check with local libraries and book reading programs who offer reading programs.
- University programs, city-based cable stations (not the national channels), smaller niche radio stations both online and off.
- Get creative. If you like community volunteering, look at your local church, senior citizen’s retirement home or children’s hospital.
- Focus on the themes which are relevant to your audience or topic. For example, a children’s book reading would be a great fit with a daycare, school district or church’s Christmas program or summer reading event.
Create Marketing Materials
It’s important to be professional and take yourself seriously as a writer if you expect others to do so too. Business cards, bookmarks, and giveaways should not be ignored. Keep a copy of your latest book with you and while you don’t want to be obnoxious, don’t be afraid to share information about your book with others. Don’t guard your book like a great secret – but don’t be too pushy either.
- Keep marketing materials inexpensive, simple and easy to give away anytime you have a conversation with someone new.
- If you mention your book, give every person a business card or some other material with your book’s information on it.
- Don’t force your book on them but if it makes sense to offer more information, don’t be afraid to.
- Make it easy for others to find your products. There are many options, make yours stand out by being easy to choose and remember.
- Ask open-ended questions rather than make statements to engage others. Have you heard of any good books lately? What’s the most recent book you read in (genre your book is in)? Did you know I wrote a book about (topic) in (genre)?
- Find ways to offer information in a non-threatening, conversational way.
Learning to effectively market your books takes time, there’s no way to avoid it short of hiring someone to do it for you. By now though, you should have a foundational understanding that you can build on, good luck!