When you become involved in writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, the last thing you may think about is marketing. I’m a writer, you say, not a marketer. If I wanted to be involved in marketing, well then, that’s what I’d be doing. And you’re right. Up to a point.
All writers must be prepared to enter the marketing ring. No one does it alone, not even the ones with the juicy publishing contracts. Indie writers have known this for decades. Finishing a book is just the beginning. Now, you really have to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Promoting your work and interacting with people is a difficult thing to do for many writers. By nature, most of us are introspective, withdrawn, and introverted. You may feel as if promotion is similar to bragging, and no one likes a braggart. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but the fact remains if you have a quality product and you want to get it out into the world, you need to own it and promote it. To this end, here is a list of things you can do to market your book and hopefully, create a stir that will attract the People Who Pay Money for Words. Some of these things you have probably already done long ago, but if you haven’t, it’s time to get cracking.
1. You’ll need a quality website and a regular blogging schedule. Make sure you reply to the people kind enough to comment, and offer a free sample of your work or examples of the types of stories you write. Include a picture, as people love to put a face to a name.
2. Establish your identity on the major social network platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Post updates regularly. Work on getting an audience before you start pimping out your book, because social sites shouldn’t be only an outlet for that. They’re social connection sites, so friends and family are great. This is the beginning of your Army of Minions.
3. Join groups that reflect your own interests. There’s strength in numbers, and the people you meet may have other ideas that can help you get your project off the ground.
4. Trade ads with other websites. Get yourself a nice-looking badge or ad (easy to do yourself, or if you’re not competent in that direction, buy or trade services to get you one – maybe a good friend knows how to do it and can supply you or teach you) and offer to host another writer’s ad if they host yours. Make sure it contains a link to your website so when people click on it, they get what they’re looking for.
5. Do you have classmates or friends from college, writer’s workshops, or the like? Send them a friendly email and tell them about your finished novel. Wouldn’t you love to hear about one of them successfully completing their project? Of course you would! (The pins in the voodoo doll come later.)
6. Speaking of email, insert into your email a signature with a link to where people can buy your book. And since we’re speaking of signatures, include a link to your website and/or your purchasing portal in any forum signatures. Make it easy for interested people to find you.
7. Volunteer to supply potential reviewers with free copies of your book (in electronic or hard copy form) in exchange for a review on their website. Suggest a follow-up of an interview, which can be done in the form of a Q&A through email.
8. Visit the indie bookshops in your area and chat up the owner. Offer to come in for a book signing.
9. Local colleges are a great place to post fliers, with permission, of course, and you can also ask if the English department is interested in a guest lecturer on writing. Of course you’re qualified, you just published a book, didn’t you?
10. Create a book trailer and post it on YouTube. I know, I don’t know how either, but I have friends who do and I bet you do, too.
11. Run a contest on your blog with cool prizes like an autographed copy of your genius and a shiny keychain. People love shiny keychains.
12. Look into the world of podcasting. It is one of the fastest growing parts of the social media monster, and could become a major part of your marketing campaign. There are plenty of resources to teach how to podcast, why to podcast, and where to podcast.
Is marketing a lot of work? Sure is, buddy. Most of the suggestions I’ve laid out here are easy and can be done from the comfort of your own keyboard. Some of them require you to go out among people. Others may need the application of brain cells while you conquer yet another learning curve. But, this isn’t the time to whine about how difficult it is. Now is the time for you to put on your Big Girl/Boy Pants and get moving.
The question is, how bad do you want it? Did you write that book just to impress your mother? I didn’t think so. Now, get out there and do something. All it takes is for one person in the right place at the right time and things can go boom. Keeping your work of art in the dark isn’t going to do you a lot of good. Shine the light, baby, and be persistent. Be patient. Keep busy. Stay humble.
Work hard. The rest will come.