It's never too early in the writing process to start thinking about how you are going to market and promote your book.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, "Who am I writing for?" This will be key to your plan of action.
In a previous post on August 6, "3 Ways to Publish Your Book," I mentioned that if you're writing a book for your family and friends, your goals will be different and you don't have to worry about marketing and promotion. However, if you are an indie publisher who wants to sell books, you will have to start "building" an audience of followers prior to your book coming out. This is why starting a blog three years before your book comes out--yes, that's what marketing guru Seth Godin, and other experts recommend--as well as tapping into all the social media resources we have at our finger tips today, is crucial to the success of your book marketing and promotional campaign.
Today's authors are responsible for their own marketing and promotion. Even those who succeed in getting a traditional publisher have to do their own marketing. In fact, most publishers require the author to have an online presence, including a blog, and ask for your stats, including the # of subscribers and the # of unique visitiors you get/month.
If you enjoy marketing and promotion, you're way ahead of the game. Start early and you will build an audience of followers who will be eager to help you with your virtual blog tour, spread the word about your book to their followers, and so on. In a way, marketing today is easier than ever as we are all given the same chance to promote online. The only difference is it takes time and effort. It's also ongoing and requires that you remain consistent.
Here are some ideas on marketing:
- Offer free chapters, essays, blogs, articles or any other format that provides a glimpse into your style and storytelling ability. I plan on reading a couple of chapters and turning them into podcasts.
- Create your own event. You can create your own event and submit it in Chase’s Directory. Just set a date, send your payment prior to the deadline in April 2013, and you might be contacted by the media.
- Speak to audiences at universities, churches, public libraries, nonprofit organizations and other groups that have an indirect affiliation and interest with the content. If the audience is willing to book an author, the list of potential book tour locations are limitless.
- Contact your local indie book stores ahead of time and form relationships with the store managers. Ask about doing a book signing and invite guests, bring food and try to get other local businesses involved so you can alert your local press about the event.
- Virtual Blog Tours. Ask your blogger friends to host a Q &A session about you and your book on specific dates.
- Book tours are terrific and meeting an audience face to face is often the best way to sell books. Stay with family and friends in different parts of the U.S. to cut costs.
- Use video to meet your audience via book clubs, Skype.
- Contact your local media and local radio stations.
- Make a Book trailer.
- Hire a publicist if you can afford it, 3-6 months ahead of your launch date.
I know this may sound strange but if you remember this one secret to online marketing and promotion, you will succeed. It's not about you and your book; it's about helping others, and showing that you care about them and support them along their journey. Building "true" online friendships takes time, but in the long run, word-of-mouth, is the best way for others to hear about you and your book.
More details about building an "audience" and a marketing plan with helpful links and tips on a guest post I wrote here.
Sonia Marsh Bio:
Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s a motivational speaker who inspires her audiences to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a “My Gutsy Story”; some just need a little help to uncover theirs. Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family to reconnect on an island in Belize.
Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family's Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is now available on Amazon.
I'd like to invite you to my book launch party at Laguna Beach Books on August 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. Click here for directions and information.