The past few months I’ve found myself down a rabbit hole of book marketing. Do you know what I’ve discovered? No matter how much marketing you do, there always is something more to be done – it’s never ending! It’s like pouring water into a sandy hole you’ve dug at the beach…no amount of water seems to fill the hole. It’s overwhelming and easy to get caught up in chasing sales and reviews.
Being new to the literary world, I pretty much started from square one last autumn learning how to market my book. I’m lucky enough to have an agent and publisher do a large part of marketing my book for me, but I needed to do my part as well. There was a lot of trial and error involved as I discovered what worked (reaching out to book bloggers for reviews has been a great) and what didn’t (wearing a sandwich board downtown and ringing a bell while throwing copies of my book at passing cars). I was lucky enough to make some friends along the way who were able to give me some good advice based on their own experiences marketing their books. All in all, it’s been a productive few months learning how to get the word out there about my book.
Here are some helpful marketing strategies I’ve learned that I’m happy to pass along to anyone just starting out:
The AllAuthor is a platform for readers to connect with authors. It offers authors easy marketing tools to promote your books, an author profile to connect with readers and other authors and it also promotes the books of its members.
Join A Writing Community
Whether you choose Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or Facebook – find a social media writing community to join. I’m a part of communities on all of the above platforms and they have proven invaluable for making connections, getting advice, providing solace and promoting my book. The wonderful thing about these communities is that I find that the writers I connect with help me promote my book and vice versa. When I have a question about my writing, how to market or want to vent about editing, I’ve found loads of support in these communities.
While my house might truly be a disorganized mess, my marketing efforts are all neatly arranged in a giant excel document. I record who I’ve contacted, what I’ve sent and their responses. When you’re reaching out to hundreds of people, it can be hard to remember every single person you’ve spoken to or what they’ve said. This matrix has been invaluable in keeping me from contacting the same person twice of if I remembered to mail a book to a reviewer.
Try a Blog Tour
Ahh, the pandemic. “What a great time to have your first book come out!,” said no author ever!Since I couldn’t do any in-person events, I discovered blog tours were an alternative for getting the word out about my book. You can find tours all over the world and you can book them for a few days or several weeks. The tour bookers have relationships with reviewers and bloggers so they do the legwork for you. You provide the tour booker with answer to interview questions, guest posts, excerpts and possibly copies of your book for a give-away and the tour booker does the rest. If you find a tour booker you trust, it can be money well spent on advertising your book.
Make It Personal
When contacting book reviewers, I make a point to learn a little bit about them before reaching out. Do they read my genre? What’s their name? Are they taking requests now? I read what their review requirements are, make sure I can meet them and try to give them all the information they are asking for in a personalized letter. It sounds like a lot, but a little extra effort will go a long way.
Say Thank You
I’ve been reaching out weekly to write thank you emails or saying thank you on social media to businesses that carry my book online or in their store. It’s a great way to connect to book sellers and it just might get you booked for an event or featured on their bookshelf. And let’s be honest, if someone is taking a chance on my book, they definitely deserve a word of thanks, or perhaps some flowers or maybe even a gold statue!
Support Other Authors
I’m an indie author, so I make sure to buy and review book of other indie authors. I never appreciated what reviews meant to an author until I became one. Mixing an unknown author’s book into your TBR pile is a nice way to give back. After all, another indie author might be motivated to by your book one day.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor will your writing empire be built overnight. Building a readership takes time. It’s easy to get caught up in the vortex of marketing and chasing reviews and appearances. But don’t forget that writing is your first priority. Keep your marketing as your side-hustle and keep turning out those pages. After all, a literary empire can’t be built on one book alone. You’ll need a whole collection of books. So set a few minutes aside each day or once a week to market and don’t get swept up in your sales numbers. Yes, sales numbers count, but you need to keep producing quality work to continue selling new books.
Happy Tuesday! 💕