Marketing. It Matters.

One thing a lot of new writers – and some old hands – fail to appreciate is marketing, Yourself and your books need to be marketed. You cannot release a book on Amazon and then sit back and expect the millions to roll in.

Even J.K. Rowling and James Patterson actually have to do some marketing. Granted, not much, as their respective publishers will devote resources to sell their books.

But yours? From a newbie? Or from the small or independent publishing route? You don’t have a marketing division at your beck and call.  Wait, I take that back, you actually do.

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Listen up, cupcake. Get out there and market yourself!

Only thing is, you’re it. You are the entire marketing division so you’d better get out there and market your backside off.

Unless of course you are independently wealthy and only write books as a hobby. In which case, I hate you. And so do all of us writers who have to work 30 hours a day, 10 days a week at our craft.

There’s no sure fire way to 100% success in marketing either. But there are many ways to go about doing it. The key is to find the combination that works best for you that generates sales and allows you time to write your next book, making more money so you can write more books. This is a cycle you want to ride for a very long time.

Book signings, personal appearances at Cons, going on radio shows (over the air and on the Internet there are no shortages of shows looking for writing guests) and book signings. Not every appearance generates a sale, but most do and some lead to sales down the line.

Social media is a huge tool and there are many sites to ply your wares. I myself limit mine to Facebook groups (you have no idea how many groups are out there for every genre as well as generic readrs) and Twitter along with this website and an e-mail list. I have that limit because I could easily spend 12 hours a day posting links and ads on those two platforms, but I’d never write another word if I did that.

The one thing to remember is this: Never pass up a chance at shameless self-promotion. Have you written a romance novel and are posting a comment on Twitter about a publicized celebrity romance? Tag your book on the end of your comment with a link to where it can be purchased.

New COver copyKeep business cards with your name and website on them to hand out at any opportunity. I had postcards printed with the book cover for When The Gods Fell that will be released on Sept. 4th. I will be handing those cards out at O Comic Con in Omaha/Council Bluffs and again at DragonCon in Atlanta.

In case you were wondering, yes it does matter.

During the two months that I spent dealing with the move to Omaha and getting settled in here, I didn’t do any marketing at all. And my sales numbers cratered.

But in the last week that I have been actively marketing again, I’m seeing sales spike upward once again. Part of the reason is due to the LibertyCon special I and several others ran, selling our books at a discount. But without telling anyone about them. there would not have been any sales at all.

So, start working in marketing into your writing schedule. You will be surprised how much you can get done without spending too much time away from writing your next book once you get the hang of it.

Cut and paste is your friend. But, uh, don’t overdo it on Facebook. I once launched an marketing blitz to announce a new book release on 38 groups I was a part of in about a 30-minute span. I used the same tx and the same image for all 38 posts.

I got sent to Facebook jail for a day for my efforts.

26904637_10157067659569972_6352580804947258121_nLimit yourself to 8-12 posts, take off for an hour or two, then come back and drop 8-12 more until you’ve it all of your target groups. Then take a full day off the next day efore resuming on Day Three. You’ll avoid Facebook Prison that way and you’re less likely to get booted from a group for spamming.

Speaking of, make sure when you join a group that they allow authors to post links to their own books. I’ve had some unhappy exchanges over this. Angry potential customers rarely turn into paying customers.

Just remember, get out their and market yourself. If you don’t no one else will.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. You said: “Book signings, personal appearances at Cons, going on radio shows (over the air and on the Internet there are no shortages of shows looking for writing guests) and book signings. Not every appearance generates a sale, but most do and some lead to sales down the line.”

    How does that work if you’re a total newbie (like me)? Even if I (eventually) get one or more novels in a state to where they are publishable, why would any book store or radio show let me within a thousand feet of them as a complete unknown?

    You said: “Keep business cards with your name and website on them to hand out at any opportunity. I had postcards printed with the book cover for When The Gods Fell that will be released on Sept. 4th. I will be handing those cards out at O Comic Con in Omaha/Council Bluffs and again at DragonCon in Atlanta.

    “In case you were wondering, yes it does matter.

    I’ve read the blogs of more than one Superversive author saying how absolutely unfriendly the Cons are to conservative and religious authors. How do you handle these appearances, and again, for a first time author, why would the cons even give you space on a panel or set up a booth (which I assume you have to pay for along with getting yourself there, hotel and food costs and such)?

    I enjoy writing, and dread the editing and beta reading phase, but marketing and especially associating with other more established SF/F authors at cons or wherever panicks me.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. A lot of it is just hard work over an extended period of time. The more you reach out to the radio shows and blogs the more likely you will get a positive response and an invite to their show/blog. Check out the list of appearances I’ve made on my Appearances page. Most of them are always looking for new guests. The Writer’s Block is booked for the rest of this year, likely started on 2019 already, but if you have something planned that far out, go ahead and reach out to the show.

      Once you’ve done one or two, you can use those appearances to help land you some others. For bookstores, start with local stores and mention you are a local author. Most places will work with you, as long as they can see that they can order your book.

      My first radio show appearance was on a radio station in Modesto, CA in 2015 after From The Fields had come out. The book covered the Modesto area and I was living there at the time. From there it gradually grew to me being on other shows and blog interviews. I’ve lost count of all of the appearances I’ve done over the last three years.

      But there is always an opportunity for a brand new writer to get on a show. You just have to keep after it and you will need to do so to succeed. It’s been said it takes about 2-4 years to really get o a point where you make decent money from your writing. I’m coming up to the end of year 3 and this seems to be accurate.

      I’ve been so busy this year with writing projects that I finally broke down and engaged the services of a publicist. Its worth it as e is taking much of that part of the marketing load off my shoulders. But there is still much that I have to do myself.

      As for the Cons, I really haven’t run into any negative people at the Cons I’ve attended. But then again, I avoid the Cons that are openly hostile – hello, WorldCon – and go to smaller, regional Cons instead. DragonCon is a huge Con but it is openly welcoming to everyone and tells politics to go pound sand.

      If I were to be confronted by a hostile person, I would allow security to deal with it. No good can come from engaging a person clearly looking to start a fight so they can go play the victim. Simply respond with “Thanks for coming and have a nice day” as you walk away. They’ll either give up or be shown the door.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. That is amazingly helpful. Thanks. As for when I’ll have anything ready to hit the public, it will probably be next year. I’m not quite through the first draft of one novel and about a third of the way through a second. Then there’s the editing and all that jazz, so who knows exactly when I’ll feel like one or both are fully-baked cakes.

        I’m a published author, but those books are all textbooks or self-study in IT desktop support and networking, and I had to write each of them in three months. I also had the benefit of working with a publisher and a ton of editors. I’m writing fiction all by my onesie, and even my agent won’t touch fiction, so no help there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At this stage of the game, probably self-published, since I doubt I could attract the attention of an agent and/or publisher. Besides, I’m seeing a lot of articles that say self-publication may be the way of the future.

        Liked by 1 person

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