In my recent series of 6 Rules of Marketing Etiquette, I focused on what NOT to do when marketing your book. But you might now be wondering how you can market your book without unwittingly offending potential readers and supporters.
In this post I offer some handy tips on how to market your books in a way that is likely to win friends and influence people, rather than sending them running.
1. Put in a little effort. Book marketing isn't easy, and it's tempting to try to get everyone else to do it for you. But how can you expect someone else to market your books, if you aren't prepared to do the work too? Book marketing isn't an overnight thing. It takes patience and perseverance, and you are going to need to put in some effort.
2. Create an online presence. At the very least, a website or blog, and a couple of social media accounts in your author name. Don't wait until your book releases to start setting these up - you'll have better things to do when that happens!
3. Contact review blogs. It's a schlep, but reviews are important, so it's worth the effort. Find book blogger who review your kind of books. Read and follow their guidelines, as you would when submitting to a publisher. Give reviewers lots of heads up time - they usually have very long waiting lists. And don't expect them to review your book. Only 10% might actually give you a review, but be thankful for each and every one of them!
4. Sign up for blog tours. Blog tours don't have the huge impact they used to a few years ago, and a good blog tour organiser will cost you, but a blog tour will get your name out there, and will improve your rankings on search engines, at the very least.
5. Get organised. Create a 'promo material' folder on your computer, containing everything you need to promote your books so that's it's ll handy and easy to find when someone asks you for it. This folder should contain excerpts, quick quotes, your bio, the book's blurb and active buy links - and check that those links work!
6. Build a network. In my Publishing Terms post last week, I described networking as "expanding one's social network or sphere of influence by initiating mutually advantageous relationships with other people". That means actually connecting with people, not just spamming them. Build yourself a 'street team' or a team of ARC reviewers, and keep working on this. Remember that building a support network involves some giving from you - nurture those connections, offer them special insights and advantages, nurture their friendships.
7. Set up a newsletter list. Mailing lists take time to build, but they are essential. These are people whose contact information you have, not someone you're relying on Facebook or Twitter to keep you connected with. But beware that there are strict laws concerning what you do with the information you collect. Jami Gold's blog has a great article on the EU's GDPR laws. Don't share your mailing list data with anyone else, and don't add anyone to your newsletter without their express permission. But also don't panic if your mailing list is very small. Five loyal followers are far more powerful than 500 uninvested recipients!
8. Write the next book. Finally, and most importantly, you need to move on. Don't be a one hit wonder and flog this same book at every opportunity for the next 5 years! The best marketing advice anyone can give you is to build a backlist of books.
Like anything good in life, book marketing takes time. Don't get discouraged if it feels like an impossibly high mountain to climb. Take it slow and steady, build your career and your backlist, and one day you'll look back and realise you've scaled that mountain!