Maybe you've written your book. Maybe you're only starting out on the writer's road. Whether you haven't put pen to paper yet, or are in the final stages of editing, you need to think about how people will find out about your work. Books need to be marketed and book marketing can take some hard but rewarding work. Even if your main slant in life is creative, this does not preclude your from getting involved in promotion of your work. If you're a self-published author too, you'll realise that you will need to become involved in marketing your book and/or get some marketing help in professional terms. Either way there are some things that you can do, which will really help your book, along the way.
Let People Know You Write
Before you even have your book finished, you should have already begun the process of getting your name "out there". How do you do this? Well, letting people know you write is a good start. This can be a hard thing for the solitary writer to do, especially if it's your first time to write a book. Often writers keep it all to themselves until they absolutely have to let others see their work. So what should you do? Perhaps get involved in an online writing group or engage with others on writing sites. Talk to other writers and readers. Find out where you think people might find out about your book. If it's a Young Adult or sci-fi book, look at YA or sci-fi sites. There are a myriad of discussion groups you can be part of (as long as you don't spend more time there, than writing your book). If you are part of a writers' group that meet in person or online, let them know when the book will come out.
Market You and Not Just Your Book
One of the mistakes that people make is having all their marketing about their new book, rather than about them as a writer too. More and more we are interested, not only in the story on the page, but in the stories of the writers themselves. Book bloggers, magazine writers and radio hosts want to talk to actual people. While you may not be an extrovert, if you are doing your own marketing, you can't hide behind the book cover. You need to let people know that there is a person behind the writing. If you aren't confident with being interviewed in person, think about written interviews.
Be Social on Social Media
But "I don't do Twitter". Well you should. Like it or not, social media plays a part in readers' lives these days. It's where many of us find out about books, chat to other readers and follow authors. Even in a small country, the statistics are impressive. Take Ireland as an example; there are 1.8 million people using Facebook every day and 1 million Tweets being sent in the same period. Social media has a prospective audience that you can't ignore. Here are few simple tips starting out, or for honing your social media skills :
- Make sure to use a few social media accounts. Facebook and Twitter are essential. If you have lots of images to share, use Instagram too and Snapchat if you've time.
- Don't use your book title as your Twitter or Facebook name. People follow people, rather than books. If you write another book, you'll only have to start all over again. Use your own name on your account. You'll be glad you did once you have more than one book written.
- Make sure to put "writer" in all your social media descriptions or bios of you. You are a writer. Don't be too shy about it. Use a photo of you for the account profile.
- Do mention your book in your bio. Use a picture of the book as your account background.
- Follow other writers. Follow publishers, reviewers and bloggers.
- Chat to other readers as well as writers about lots of things and build up a rapport with people. Do not use your social media account as one long ad for your book. People will see that your only aim is to sell to them and they often get bored with that. Yes, you want to sell your book, but it is also useful to develop an audience with whom you engage.
- You can let people know about your book, but not 24 hours a day. Pepper your regular tweets or posts with news about your book. Social media can be a good place to let people know about launches, signings or good reviews. Just don't make it all about that. Use images and if you have time, post some short video clips online too.
- Share posts from other writers and readers. You will find that writers are supportive of each other.
- Say Thank You. If someone has something nice to say about your book, thank them. Let them know you appreciate them.
- You don't have to talk about books all the time either.
- If you have a website, make sure to link it to your social media accounts.
Think about an Author Website
Your own platform to let people know about you and your writing is vital in the marketing of your book. Get people to engage with you. Write a nice bio where your prospective readers find out a little more about you. Put up a good headshot and a description of your book. Show some excerpts from your book on your site. Write a blog. This can update readers on what you are up to at the moment. It can also form your own take on the world of books and perhaps chart your journey in writing. If you have some good reviews put them on your site. Make sure you have a link that people can use to buy your book. Your site should also have details of your launch or any signings you will be doing. Any media coverage should be in your site too and of course your own details so that people can contact you.
Ask people to review your book - see our Tips on Getting Your Book Reviewed. Don't expect all reviews to be wonderful, but if you believe in your book and your writing and you've something worthwhile to say, you will gain confidence.
If you fee a little at sea about where to send your book, try connecting with people locally first. Is there a book club in your local library or area, which would be willing to review the book? Are they looking for a new "book of the month"? Have you a local radio station or paper which might be interested? They are always looking for new stories of local interest, so may do a feature on a local author.
Write for Other People or Websites
A way of getting your name known as a writer is to write articles or blogs for other people. Perhaps do reviews for other people, with a short bio about you included. This may just note that you "are author of... which is available to buy on...". This can generate some interest in you as a writer, particularly if people liked your article.
If you are setting out to market your book, there are a large range of ways to do it. These are just some of them. The important thing to remember is that you will be central to your book's success. Make a plan. The worst that can happen is that you connect with other readers and writers and that's always a good thing.
If you are thinking of self-publishing, why not contact selfpublishbooks.ie who will be delighted to hep you on the road to becoming a published author.