Book marketing, or marketing in any department, is a game of trial and error. I’ve cocked up when experimenting in the past, and no doubt I will do again in the future. Nobody is perfect at marketing, in spite of what they might say. Marketing is about what works for you, and believe me, not everything works for everyone.
However, if you’re a new author and you’re struggling for marketing inspiration, there are a few foolproof places you can start. Here are three things to try, and two to avoid like the plague, just for good measure,
DO blog regularly
I’ve sung the praises of blogging before, but it really is the best place to start. Having a platform to sell your books and connecting it with a personal touch is a great way to bring in new friends, and fans. In a world like writing where connection is priceless, blogging is the best way to reach out and connect with people.
What to blog about? Well, pick a general topic, and explore. Don’t ring-fence yourself in too early, but let a niche reveal itself to you over time. I now blog exclusively about marketing, publishing, and my own books (occasionally), but I used to be much more general in my approach. Starting big and carving a niche is a much more natural way of doing things, and an effective book marketing method.
For blogging inspiration, check out Duolit’s great post of 105 Author Blog Prompts
DO use social media wisely
By wisely, I mean sharing useful links and content, but I also mean connecting with those who take the time to read your stuff and form a connection with you. It is ‘social’ media at the end of the day, so don’t be self-centred. Instead, reach out to people! There are already some great posts on using social media wisely, such as a guide from Joanna Penn about using Twitter effectively. I’ve written about what not to do on social networking sites in the past, too.
A word on sharing your own content: do it, but not all the time. I share three of my own links per day on Twitter, roughly, but I balance that with three links from other people, and a variety of ‘social’ tweets. Don’t just tweet links, or you’ll look like a robot. No writer wants to look like a robot. You want your book marketing to be subtle, not glaringly obvious.
DO use word of mouth
Social networking is great, and blogging can be a good way of marketing. But really, the best marketing tool at our disposal are our good ol’ vocal chords. Reach out to family, and get them to reach out to friends (something I’ve found doesn’t require much asking). Their friends will be impressed, and will probably buy your book. All with minimal marketing effort.
In the early stages of book marketing, the support of your friends and family is crucial. If they can spread the word well, then you have a real shot at early publishing success. So, open your mouth and get the word out there. It’s simple, but damn is it effective.
Spam is annoying. The worst thing about spam is that it’s like an addiction; we don’t realise we’re doing it half the time, because we don’t want to accept it.
Sometimes, trying to be kind can work against you when it comes to book marketing. Only the other day, I received a tweet from a new guy I’d followed thanking me for following, before suggesting I ‘liked’ their Facebook page. Instant turnoff. Sure enough, I checked out their tweet history, and almost every tweet was an identical ‘thank you’ message, interspersed with Amazon links. Rest assured, I unfollowed immediately.
Don’t use spam to shortcut. Marketing is hard, and it takes time, but it gets easier as time goes on. Your reach will expand. People will begin to recognise you as trustworthy. The social karma will come flying in your direction.
The biggest ‘don’t’ is one of perseverance. Don’t let yourself get disheartened if your seemingly sound book marketing methods don’t appear to be working. Try something new, and be willing to adapt, but most importantly, keep on blogging. Keep on tweeting.
Oh, and keep writing too. The best form of marketing is, surprise surprise, having something out there to market. Give your blog readers something they can’t resist, and treat your fans to a surprise release. Don’t lose heart; stick to it!
Which marketing methods have you found work either for or on you, most effectively? Which marketing methods are the biggest turnoff?
Image courtesy of EmaStudios via Flickr