Book Marketing 101 For Dummies

marketing-101You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years writing your book.  You’ve revised and edited so it is polished.  Your editor has torn it apart and made more changes.  You’ve designed an awesome cover, written a compelling synopsis, composed your author bio, and have e-books and paperbacks ready to go on sale.  So now what?

Marketing.

Marketing my book is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.   I don’t know very much about this aspect of the writing business and wish now that I would have taken Marketing 101 in college.  I have been soaking up advice from other authors to gain more knowledge and hopefully discover creative ways to accomplish this herculean task.

I learned a great deal from my first book signing event, which was during the San Antonio Indie Book Fest back in July.  This book fest was beneficial in many ways.  11169895_1434440400191039_5756242862306343813_nAside from the experience this event offered, I also gained membership in the Texas Association of Authors and had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow writers to see how they go about marketing their books.  The first thing I noticed the minute I walked in the door was all of the authors at this event had banners and posters and business cards and bookmarks to promote themselves and their books.  I’m not one who likes to toot my own horn, so all of this was a bit overwhelming at first.   Being the new kid on the block, many authors offered their advice and I left this event with a few valuable insights.

  1. Eye catching displays draw people in.
  2. Be accessible through social media.
  3. Give away free stuff.
  4. Think outside the box as far as book signings go.  Check out holiday bazaars, church bazaars, and local library events.
  5. The more books you have published, the more books you will sell.

lpSince this book festival, I have invested in a banner, poster, and business cards, all of which are color coordinated and have information about my blog site, Facebook page, and Amazon author page.   I have recently set up a Twitter account as well, and all of my social media sites are connected with each other.  I follow several writing blogs and writing pages and am the member of four different social media writing groups.

Fellow authors and marketing experts post articles offering advice about book promotion, social media, and author’s platform.  Since all of this marketing stuff is new to me, I heed the words of those who know more about it than I do.  I’ve read many articles about this topic, and through my reading several things stood out.

  1. Be consistent.  Use the same profile picture on each social media site.  Post consistently and post similar content throughout.
  2. Promote other authors, like their pages, and follow their blogs.  Contribute to the writing community.
  3. Don’t post the same thing 24/7.  In other words, don’t shove your book in their face.  Not only is that annoying, it also makes you look like an amateur.  Focus on your followers and give them interesting content they will want to read.
  4. Connect with your followers, but be mindful that you will never keep up with every post, comment, or e-mail.  Respond when appropriate and comment on things that interest you.  As an author, you need to update your readers and followers regularly, but you should not be spending all of your time on social media.  Your time should be dedicated to writing.
  5. You will not increase book sales by advertising through social media.  Social media is a platform you use to sell yourself.  If you sell yourself well, book sales will follow.

All of my social media sites contain similar content — I write, post, tweet, and share jokes, advice, quotes, and articles about writing and books.  I share other things too but that it my theme, so to speak.  On Twitter, I make it a point to retweet other authors and promote their books, websites, and blog pages for them.  This has led to them doing the same for me.  I am following other author’s Facebook pages, which has resulted in a few of them following mine.   I’ve made many connections with fellow writers and authors and have gained advice from them.  In return I have offered some of my insights and thoughts to them.   As writers, we need to learn from and promote each other.

Book signings are a great promotion tool.  They help you gain exposure and connect whitejazz_logoyou to potential readers within the community.  I recently set up my second book signing at a local book shop that supports indie authors.  Not only is this book shop (The Twig) sponsoring this signing for me, they are also promoting the event and selling my book in their store on consignment.  The Twig Book Shop has advertised the event on their web page, in The Current (the local San Antonio events calendar), and on Texas Public Radio.  I had to do some promoting myself as well, so I e-mailed every local newspaper, magazine, current events calendar, and creative arts magazine in the city and added my book signing event to their calendar of events.  I queried Get Creative San Antonio who also added me to their upcoming events calendar.  I have sent out personal e-mails inviting people to this event and have spread the word through social media and word-of-mouth.  I am hopeful that I will sell at least a few books during this event and maybe gain a few new followers.  If nothing else, I will meet and connect with interesting people within my city.

Other marketing avenues I have pursued or am pursuing:

  1. A potential interview with Texas Public Radio.
  2. The possibility of putting my book in circulation in the local library.
  3. Library book fests.
  4. Attempting to get independent Texas children’s authors into my school and school district.
  5. Once I get my second book out, lowering the price of the first one and offering free or $0.99 days.  I will have to discuss that with my distributor.
  6. Constant word of mouth.
  7. Handing out business cards to family and fiends, who in turn give them to their friends.
  8. Renting a booth at a holiday bazaar or local flea market.
  9. An article about my book in the Arts section of the local newspaper.

With millions of books out there, making your name and your book known to others is a trying task.  And since I have a full-time career, finding time to do all of this is often challenging.  I’m learning and discovering new things as I go and am always open to suggestions.  My first novel has been a learning experience on many levels.  Things can only go up from here.

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