5 Basics of Authentic Book Marketing
Marketing. Love it or hate it, it’s how your work gets into the hands of more readers. There are a lot of great marketing books, blog posts, articles, webinars, Facebook groups, and email newsletters to help you sell books and reach readers. I’m not one to reinvent the wheel, but I am a college-educated people-nerd (communications, intercultural studies, ESL), experienced teacher, and a pragmatist who loves doing things better in less time.
So here are some basics to authentic book marketing for encouragement, edification, and enlightenment (alliteration rocks).
1.) Know Your Push.
Your Push is what motivates you to write–what pushes you along, no matter how you’re feeling or what’s going on in your life. You have to be confident of your motivation and your goals before you launch. Does authentic book marketing mean you put everything out there all the time? Nope. But it’s still helpful for you to know it so you can make wise decisions.
Years ago, I had a publisher request a manuscript for a contemporary romance. During final edits before submissions, I started having issues because I couldn’t picture myself selling a contemporary romance. I rarely even read contemporary romance, except out of occasional curiosity (nothing personal, just lacking in dragons or vampires). I’m a speculative fiction, dyed-hair, monsters-and-misfits kinda gal. While the story had misfit characters, that lack of speculative element was a deal-breaker for me in terms of putting the book out there.
When you’re considering your writing goals, have fun imagining where you’d like to see it published and marketed, and who you’d like to be reading your work. Make sure that lines up with your own Push and that you can see yourself going into those areas.
2.) Play to Your Strengths.
Some people do better in text. Some people do better in podcasts. Some people shine in videos. Some can do more than one thing–which is great if you have the time! The goal is to find out where you shine and focusing on that area.
Love pics? Instagram might be your thing. Master of the witty one-liner–or just too succinct for your own good? Twitter might be your spot. Enjoy connecting across a broad array of people and hopping in and out of groups? Try Facebook. LOVE talking? Try podcasts or YouTube videos.
While I think everyone should give a shot at in-person sales and appearances (because nothing connects better than actually meeting with others) and email newsletters appear to be with us forever (and for good reason, if only to allow you step outside of Twitter and Facebook algorithms), everything else is up for grabs. Research, find out where your readers are, and go for it. See what works for you–and don’t be afraid to try something new!
3.) Get Your Name Out There.
As much as possible, put your name out there–or at least the name you write under. Make the Amazon Author Central page, make the Goodreads author page, make an author website (even if it’s just a basic landing page and some links to other places), etc. Anywhere that you can make a static, leave-it-and-forget-it author page, do it. Yes, ideally you’ll want to be active in these places, but even if you can’t be, put your name out there with links to where people can find you. Be available online and on Google if people type in your name (or pen name).
4.) Do What You Can.
Preferably, focus on a few areas and invest in them. If you’re an indie, you’re a one-person creative machine, so chances are, there will be days when you can’t get on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to post. That’s fine. The worse thing you can do is beat yourself up over it. Just be as consistent as you can and relax about the rest.
Now thankfully you can set up posts in advance using Buffer or Hootsuite, but if you’re crazy busy, those time-savers still require you to sit down and spend precious minutes and/or hours organizing the posts–plus, you’ll want to get online sometime to engage with others and maybe put up something spontaneous in response to a current event or new development in your writing.
Authentic book marketing means acknowledging that you can’t be everywhere or everything all the time. And that’s okay.
5.) Make Your Product Good (Enough).
Whether you’re indie publishing, going through a small press, signing with one of the large traditional presses, or something in-between, it’s important to have a good story, solid editing, and a good book cover that meets the conventions of your genre and readership.
But it won’t be perfect. Your ebook or print copy might have typos, because even at publishing houses, people aren’t perfect. Your cover may not look the way you imagined it (because you’re on a budget, because of poor communication, or because it’s literally impossible to transfer the most glorious image from your head onto a cover image–yet).
Authentic book marketing isn’t about perfection. It’s about doing the best you can, where you are, with the tools you have and the passion inside you, and always seeking to improve.
I’m always looking to level up as well, so post in the comments with your favorite marketing books, gurus, and articles!
And if you’re looking for free, personalized, one-on-one feedback on your book marketing ventures, sign up for a free 30 minute video coaching session! Lots of getting to know how your brain works, what pushes you, and fresh ideas on your future, plus notes and encouragement to give you a jumpstart.