On the 4th of February 2015, I attained a major milestone. I am still useless at twerking but I am a published author who is useless at twerking. If you were wondering if the previous sentence was facetious – well, it was.
Late last year I promised myself I would publish before my 25th birthday and I was so happy to be able to make that promise a reality. My friends have been, and are, the most amazingly supportive people. They all gathered around me and purchased a copy of the book. Then, after a free promotion I was able to get the book out to several hundred people. However, after the initial hustle and bustle passed and I got over being a proud mama to my creation, reality set in.
It will not be enough to have the book on Amazon. It will not be enough to continue writing so as to bring up my catalogue. At some point in time I will have to market so that I can sell the damn book. Yet, I don’t have the first clue about how to go around achieving that. Thankfully we live in an age where information is at the tips of our fingers. I decided that ahead of the release of my second book, ‘The Gift’ I would commit to researching how to market. All the reading and researching has led me to the conclusion that the most effective way to market a novel (or anything for that matter) is word of mouth. Every technique honed and used must be with the aim of not only getting someone to buy your book but also to encourage those who have read the book to talk about it. In this day and age word of mouth is more powerful than ever before. This is because it now consists of more than a friend whispering to another, “Have you read ‘Sail With Me”, you know the book with the hot sex scenes?” (To see if that was an accurate assessment of the sex scenes – buy the book here.) Word of mouth includes tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram snaps. One person has the potential to influence a host of other people with just one recommendation.
Below are my top five recommendations on how to take ‘baby steps’ into the crazy world of novel promotion. In a couple weeks I will do a follow up blog detailing how effective each of these were and speaking about new marketing tips I would have (hopefully) picked up by then.
- Write a well-crafted story.
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation. It is a lot easier to recommend an engaging book to another person than a crap book. Focus on creating realistic characters and an interesting plot. In order to this, it will be necessary to know your audience. The advice that a writer should write what they read isn’t without cause. I eventually started writing romance novels because I realized, despite my determination to write Fantasy and Literary novels, whenever I was in a bookstore I was always browsing the romance section.
- Create a social media presence WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are just a selection of the social media sites where a presence can be created and used to publicize current and upcoming projects. The key here is consistency. This is something I have been very open about struggling with. Schedule blog posts and tweets but remember to be real. The biggest turn off I’ve seen on many Twitter accounts is that all they do it promote. Be genuinely interested in interacting with and getting to know readers as well as sharing aspects of your life.
- Get a review!
This is definitely easier said than done. When I first realized I needed to market one of the first things I did was try to send copies of Sail With Me to bloggers asking them to review it. As it happened, I only managed to secure a review from one blogger. She was very helpful and thorough. I am gearing up to do a second round of soliciting reviews.
While we are on the topic of reviews, reader reviews are very, very important on sites like Amazon.
I am currently working my way up to offering a giveaway to persons who purchase and review my books. It helps to give readers an incentive. So far I am currently trying to position myself to be able to use a big incentive in the form of maybe an iPad or a Kindle Fire. Hopefully, I will have this up and running in time for the publication of “The Gift.”
- Keep on Building
My favourite phrase in the world is: Build it and they will come. I also think it is one of the most accurate. Keep expanding your catalogue with amazing novels. In three years someone discovering and liking your most recent novel will be able to go back and buy everything you have written.
- Patience, grasshopper
I know I promised five but this extra one is so very important. I am realizing that this is a very slow process. It is easy to be discouraged because sometimes it’s very, very hard to see progress. Keep on moving. Keeping on trudging. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Are there any other newbie marketing advice tips you want to share? Leave them in the comment box. I am interested in reading them.