I get around to quite a lot of festivals and expos, I love it. I was at a Sci-fi festival over the weekend, an annual event that attracts many of the cities published and aspiring authors. I found myself talking with a lovely emerging author about book marketing who is in the final stages of publishing her book.
The topic moved on to marketing and promotion and despite the few considerations made for the cover, no other book marketing planning had been done.
“When should I start?” the author said.
“Yesterday!!” I replied.
When it comes to marketing your book you can NEVER start soon enough. Unfortunately as in this lovely authors case as with the majority out there, up until the time of printing the focus is completely on writing their book. Then, when it’s about to be sent to the printer they start thinking about promotion and book marketing.
Now, I realise all too well that crafting your book to an acceptable final result is vital, but make no mistake there’s going to be overlap here, from writing the book to marketing the book.
If you’ve not taken any action up til the point of your book being printed having left it to the last possible minute, know that you’ve done a HUGE disservice to your book and yourself as an author. It requires time and some effort to market effectively, it takes time to build a readership and get your name out amongst the masses. Tools like social media, live networking and submitting for pre-release reviews all need some time invested to learn and use effectively for book selling and author brand building.
Ok, so now I’ve dropped the seed in your mind that this is something you need to focus on, Your probably now asking;
So what marketing do I begin with without yet having a published book?
Get started taking action with a few pointers and objectives
Here’s a few pointers with some actionable objectives to get you started. Set some time aside each and every week and when the time comes to print you’ll be better positioned to have your book be seen and heard by interested eyes and ears.
Live networking with the hustle edge
I’m talking about live events and expos. It’s best to start by finding the local events in your own city. This means you can get there in person, get comfortable using that conversational muscle and shake a few hands. We all have a natural need to connect and this method is practically free, minus the ten bucks for admission.
Tip 1: Depending on the nature of the event, try to talk to at least two other authors. Ask about their publishing journey and take some notes. If they are writing in your own genre then its an opportunity to stay in touch and even support each other with dual marketing strategies later.
Tip 2: If it’s a publishing event, don’t go seek out a publisher, go the other way and go pick the brains of publicists and book marketers. These people are in the public promotion trenches everyday, who stay current with the latest trends. Make sure you’ve got your note pad in hand. Be sure to get their business cards, don’t be quick to hand them yours first. Everyone is so busy today, that if you have their details YOU have the power to keep in contact and the conversation going.
Using Social Media for actual results
This is another free tool and is a powerful environment to start talking and building awareness about yourself and build buzz about your upcoming book. Now, this is where you don’t just spam people with what you think is your best piece of flash fiction. It’s okay to talk about that stuff, but it’s best to keep it within context and conversation with others.
Tip 1: Start by creating your account profiles to look professional and emit the type of presence you want. A professional writer that’s playing to win. This means you need a professional photo where your smiling and confident, not patting your dog in your pajamas. Have your website link, a good bio including a couple of your goals and mention on your Twitter wallpaper and Facebook profile the other ways people can connect.
Tip 2: Start connecting with other writers, authors and publishing industry professionals. Pick up and learn from conversations, engage with people. Too many writers and authors DON’T ENGAGE in conversation and instead spam links that are ‘all about them’. This only leads you to being blocked. Yes, I’ve blocked or unfollowed people who spam and offer no value to anyone else.
Then I would suggest you go searching on Twitter for ‘readers’ who are potentially your target market. If you have a cook book for example, seek out the cooking and mom blogs and websites that have a presence on Twitter and Facebook. Start engaging to see what their wanting from books, discover new ideas being shared. You can learn valuable insights here that can go into crafting a better product ‘for them’, the people soon to buy your book.
Early/Pre-release reviews oversight
It’s incredible the minority of Independent writers and emerging authors that actually do this! It’s an aspect of pre-launch buzz that gets completely neglected. Yet, these reviews have amazing power of boosting your book with credibility, that helps ‘close’ sales!
Tip: When your about three to four months out from publication, start getting your manuscript out to book bloggers and online reviewers. Select only those that are looking at the same genre’s as your own book. READ THEIR GUIDELINES about what they are taking on and how to submit. This is a time when you’ll need to disconnect from the deep personal attachment for your novel and see it as a ‘retail product’. Don’t let the fear of receiving critical reviews or feedback stop you. At this point it’s not too late to fix last minute oversights, it’s one more professional that now ‘knows about you’ and of course it’s the only way to get all those ‘good reviews’ you need.
You ideally want to spend at least an hour a day on any aspect of your book marketing plan. I suggest you don’t stay too rigid and allow yourself to be inspired about what you’ll do for any given day. Enjoying the process is going to help you stick it out for the long run and Independent publishing for profit and building an audience is about perseverance and persistence.
When the time comes to print your book, the marketing efforts you’ve been working on a little bit everyday will add up to a very healthy platform base to start your book launch from.
What marketing have you started with or what do you intend to begin with? Would you like a personal tip for where to start?
Encouraging writers to begin marketing yesterday