Post updated September, 2, 2020
It is shocking how little has changed in the eight years since I first wrote this post. I am still busy, busy, busy- networking, connecting, sharing, and building my platform. One of the things I run across are LOTS of authors, old and new, who are feeling like they don’t know what to do to market their books. When engaging in these discussions, I always start with the traditional information “Have you built a platform?”
And I can relate to their pain. It doesn’t matter how many people you friend on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or network with on LinkedIn, Google +(this post was before the collaps of G+, how cute!), Yelp, Tumbler, Youtube, Stage 32, and all the other sites out there! That is not what gets you sales. (Ok, not completely true, especially as you become more established as a writer.) You can have a website, but unless somebody already knows who you are, they probably won’t view it. (Unless, of course, you share a name with some pretty famous people, such as John Locke!)
The problem with trying to sell books on social networking sites is that people don’t go to these places to buy books. They go to these places to meet people. If all you do is pitch your books (particularly in a straight manner such as “Royal Prince Vince on sale, only $8.99) then people will not listen or pay any attention to you after a while (especially if you get really spammy about it, posting 100 times a day! that is a good way to get un-followed.)
Do the Research
There are tons of free resources out there. Check out my Angell’s 4 Author posts, as well as my courses. I am just one of many resources out there. Many resources offer vague information to get you started but you have to pay for the data that will hopefully get you real results.
Does this mean their advice is useless? By itself, it is not as effective as it could be. But without somewhere to start, you will have nowhere to go. So, read over all the free content and find ways to make it work for you!
For example, Duolit tells you how to put together a media kit for quick reference. Do this. Submit to every local paper, magazine, news station you can find. You know what happened when I did that the first time? Nothing. A week’s worth of work, for nothing. After all, why would the newspaper care that I had published a book? Even my college paper did not publish that their alumni had published a book. It was depressing.
But don’t throw out your media kit, find creative ways to get their attention. I did a reading for a neighborhood program in my town, I let the press know. I did readings for my local schools… and would have let the press know, but the schools would not let me. Find community events to participate in and let the press know (after you get permission from the event coordinators, of course). Sometimes they will show, most of the time they will not. But it is still worth the extra time. Each time you let them know, send that announcement with your media kit!
Writing World gives you a list of people who do book reviews for different genres. Great place to hit up, and most of them will do the review for the cost of the book, but a lot are generous enough to accept PDF copies (sent through e-mail, it is FREE!!)
Are you on Twitter? Start following book reviewers that review books in your genre, share their stuff when you find it insightful. You are building a relationship with them. When you approach them to ask if they would review your book, they’ll be more likely to say yes, accept an e-book, AND give you a positive review. After all, they like you for sharing their work! (WARNING: If your book is poorly edited, poorly executed and crap, no amount of niceness will get you a good review. But your kindness might get you bumped up a star in the ratings.)
Get involved in your local community. Talk to your local library, see if you can get the distributor to buy a couple of copies, but if you can’t then offer to donate some. Then ask them if maybe you could also do a reading. It works. You just put your book into the hands of everyone in your community. I know that a lot of the books that I checked out from the library and really enjoyed, I hunted down to buy! A lot of people do. At the very least, they will probably tell someone else that they read it and that person might buy it!
Look at these blogs as if you were reading the back of a book. They’re just a teaser. You can pay for the service, or get creative (we are creatives after all!) and find a new angle in which you can plug in their advice!
How I Help
Here’s the thing, as someone with over 15 years of experience in marketing, I can tell you that the landscape is constantly changing. When I started out the internet was relatively young-ish and schools teaching marketing were still focusing on traditional marketing practices and principles. There was no discussion of online marketing. Our most tech-focused training was on interoffice email. (Scary, right?)
Every day something new hits the scene and techniques change as bad actors in the sales and marketing space overwhelm users leaving a bad taste in their mouth.
I am here to teach you NOT to be that kind of marketer.
But as marketing is constantly changing, what we learned 2 years ago might not be valid or as relevant. I teach a philosophy called the A.B.L.E. Philosophy (always be learning everything) but I know you are a busy author who is trying to carve out time to write, edit (and publish, if you are indie) and market your books around life: probably a day job, possibly a family, your own needs, and warring interests.
So I try to make life as easy as possible for you. I provide a monthly email with my latest blog posts for authors covering everything from writing to publishing to marketing.
I have also created courses to help you on your journey. (I recommend carving out an hour a week for learning and growing. That is what I do. Whether you choose to learn from me or from other great resources is completely up to you.)
And all of this content I create is free. (though many who take my courses generously donate once the course is complete, what they feel they can afford and what they felt they got out of the course. I also have books and lists that people can purchase to save themselves some time, and I offer services for those who would rather pay than do the work.)
Because often a writer’s success is not based on talent or quality of work, but on privilege (I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades with a $10,000 marketing budget!) or sacrifice (Samual Clemens went bankrupt buying a printing press so he could better control his career as an author and get his books into the hands of readers. Most of us know him as Mark Twain.)
We all have to be like Mark Twain. But not all of us can drop $100 a day on Amazon ads or do a multi-state signing tour. Many of us can’t even afford the programs to learn how to do those effectively like Mark Dawson’s Facebook Ads Course. Everything I teach targets from brand new no-budget up to experienced and a healthy budget. I am here to help all of you grow as much as you can.
Because not having money should not be a reason the world doesn’t get to know about your art.
Until next time,