So, you’re a published author, congratulations! The journey from ‘once upon a time’ until ‘they all lived happily ever after’ can be bumpy, but it’s ultimately smoothed out to seamless satisfaction with the elation of holding your published book in your hand. Once again, congratulations.
Marketing, marketing and more marketing. You now must eat, sleep, dream and perfect the marketing walk. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to write a great story and get it published—unless you belong to a small minority who find the buzz of holding their published book in their hand enough fulfillment—you need to find ways to sell your work. I’ll bet you never thought about that when you happily typed ‘chapter one’, I know I certainly didn’t. This post is for anyone who feels as completely overwhelmed by the word marketing as I did.
Before you do anything else you must develop a web page for your book, this is essential. Most of us aren’t among the blessed few who’re born with the Internet flowing through their veins, so go to www.godaddy.com. This is an inexpensive, user friendly site that will enable you to easily build a great website for your work, and if you do get stuck their fantastic help team will get back to you with a solution within a day.
Once your website is running smoothly the next step is to target your reader demographic. What age group/type of person are you aiming your book at? Where do these people gather?
Children’s books…libraries, schools, play groups.
Young adults…the mall, anywhere musical, college campus.
Women’s health…gyms, fashion places, general practitioners.
Men’s books…sporting goods stores, gyms, fishing clubs, golf clubs.
You get the idea, now go get the marketing gear. Go to www.vistaprint.com. Initially grab the free business cards they offer and turn them into mini postcards. Upload your book cover on to the front and write a blurb/teaser on the back, don’t forget your email and website address. Distribute these any way you can. Hand them out, or place them under the windscreen wipers of cars, around clubs/businesses that attract your targeted group. Pop a handful into an envelope along with a cover letter and mail to businesses/clubs outside of your area. Sometimes local businesses will let you leave some at reception. If it’s appropriate turn your mini postcards into bookmarks with a hole punch and ribbon, this is time consuming so ask friends and family to give you a hand, then bribe them (food always works) to help you distribute them.
The vistaprint people are gems. Once you do an initial order they email you at least three times a week with special offers (mostly free, all you pay is postage).This time go for the regular sized postcards. Do the same thing you did with the business cards only on a larger scale. Place your book cover on the front, a blurb/teaser on the back along with your email and website address. Don’t get carried away with special effects and colors just go with the basics. Pick a morning once a week and do a letter box drop of your postcards in a suburb filled with your target readers. Word of mouth is what you’re aiming for here and a drop of one hundred postcards a week will do it nicely. If you live in the US letter box drops require proper postage so stick to handing them out at every opportunity.
Spend some time everyday to study and comment on Internet blogs and articles on your book’s subject. Never try and obviously sell your book the aim here is to get your name and website circulating in cyberspace, a full name signature followed by your website should be enough. Don’t do this if it doesn’t feel right. Insincerity can be spotted a mile off and will damage your credibility.
Finally, read as much about marketing as you can, in the case of publishing and marketing, knowledge really is power. Two excellent books are: Plug Your Book by Steve Weber, and Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny C Sansevieri both are available at Amazon. Penny also has a very good newsletter that’s definitely worth subscribing to. Find it at, www.redhotinternetpublicity.com
All of the above marketing techniques I’ve actively used to market my own book. Individually some are more effective than others, but together they make a solid marketing plan. Track your book sales alongside each marketing method and you’ll soon see which ones works best for you.
Always remember two things, you’re already a professional author, that puts you in the same category as the admired authors who inspired you to write, and a smile makes all the difference. Good luck to you all.
Maureen Hume. My book, The Pizza Gang: Facing The Witch, is a crazy, fun adventure story for 8-12 year olds. Please, visit my website www.thepizzagang.com to find out more about my work and to see some of my tips in action.