Marketing is A Four Letter Word
When I began this journey to published author, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only knew I loved to write and desperately wanted to get my first book out there. Honestly, I thought writing was hard…until I tried to market what I wrote.
There was so much I didn’t know about that process and too few people to ask. After a few web searches and conversations with other writers, I just dove into the deep end and have struggled to keep my head above water ever since.
I have learned a lot; some of it the hard way, but three things stand out for me:
- It is the single most time-consuming (and vital) part of the publishing puzzle.
- It begins months before your book is published.
- It never ends.
You’ve written a great story, but you must get the word out and keep getting it out to be successful. If you are fortunate enough to have someone do the marketing for you, congratulations. But, for most indie authors, we do it all – write, edit, publish and promote, usually on a shoestring budget.
A common thread I have found in my research is fan interaction. What can you do to interact with fans more? I got these suggestions from a Google search: allow fans a preview of your next book, pick a fan of the month, host a contest to name a character, pick a title, or get advance copies. How about a fan page for your characters and letting the fans ‘talk’ with them?
Think Outside the Box
And just as important, outside your community. Once you have sold to your friends and family, that market is gone. Like ripples in a pond when you toss a rock, you want to go outside your area.
Social media and online sales are great but there is nothing like meeting a reader in person. Decide how far out you are willing to go then start looking for opportunities. A call to the local chamber of commerce or a Google search will tell you events taking place. Pick one you like and go for it. If you write romance, you probably wouldn’t want a gun and knife show, but some type of arts and crafts show might work. Can your book be tied to a particular event or cause? Can you team up with another author or two and donate a portion of sales to a cause?
Think outside the box. Not every event will be successful, but your name will be out there, and you may make a contact that will lead to something else.
Regardless of which event you choose, you will be expanding the ripples, growing your fan base and increasing your visibility.
Appearance matters; your setup matters. Don’t just stack books on the table and expect folks to be enticed to buy.
Take time to ensure your display is neat and tastefully arranged, not cluttered. Limit free items to useful things such as keychains, pens, and notepads. Ensure you have a book for folks to sign up for your email group. Set out a bowl of individually wrapped candies to get people to stop at your table. But no chocolate; it melts.
The Bottom Line
There are limitless ways to increase your visibility and spread the word about your work. The only limitations are the time, effort and sometimes money, you are willing to invest. It will be an on-going project requiring constant attention and participation to be successful.