Marketing Your Book By

November 10,2017

One of the things that scares many authors the most is marketing. There have been tried and true methods that worked over the years, all of them daunting to those of us who would rather just sit at our desk in the corner and make up our own worlds. To add another layer of intimidation, the technological world of today is forcing change on all of us. Things that really were tried and true methods are now becoming ineffective. Things that work are changing all the time. What worked two years ago may not make much of an impact today. And that one thing that's working for everyone today, might not work in a matter of just a few months from now.

So with all this swirling around, what's an aspiring author to do? How do we market our books in today's world?

More and more, today's marketing is going to take place in the broader world of social media. No longer can an author rely on the traditional publishers to do all that for them. Even when signed on with a traditional publisher, the author is expected to do some sort of public relations, and have some sort of internet presence on his own. With that in mind, I know lots of authors, and I follow them on social media. I watch what they do, and I see what's working. I see what keeps me engaged in following them, and what I see garnering them attention. Rather than using a specific platform, or finding the right technique, I've noticed the successful marketers have a few things in common.

So here they are:

Be Bold: One thing that defeats authors right from the outset is just disillusionment. They don't take that first step to at least try to market. While it's true that many authors aren't naturally good at marketing, that doesn't mean we can't learn. It doesn't mean we can't figure it out and become good at it. So first thing is, take that step, be bold, take action.

Be Friendly:Generally speaking, one of your best marketing tools is friendliness. Going out and talking to people, being willing to chat with them, get to know them, let them get to know you. This is a marketing tool because it opens doors to talk about your book. While I'm not recommending you see your friends as merely a target audience, I am saying that being friendly in general social situations - where it's appropriate - can produce conversations. Under this point, you can have quite a bit of creativity. Create "chatty" posts. Talk on your social media platform about what you're planning next. Make comments about what your day looked like - let people see little snatches of your writing struggle, or a writing victory, maybe share your word count goal for the week, or something that inspires you. When I see an author making posts that ask for reader's feedback, I find that interesting. It allows readers to feel as if they're part of the writing process.

Be Honest: While being friendly is important, don't be disingenuous. People will see through that, and no one likes to be used for just a sales pitch. Whether posting on social media, or talking to a person you met in the grocery store, be genuine. Talk about what it's like to be an aspiring writer, and some of the struggles you encounter. Ask for feedback. Be open and vulnerable.

Be Realistic: After you've taken a first step, after you've learned to be friendly, after you've gotten used to being open and genuine, don't forget to be realistic. I've seen authors who create social media posts and declare that their book is the best, most wonderful book ever, and that it will impact everyone who reads it on a profound level. I mean, they build the book up to the point where I wonder why the Big Trad Houses aren't beating his door down to get to that book. No, reality says that your book will appeal to some, and not appeal to others. Target your marketing posts to those who will probably like it, and don't engage in bravado. Many people see right through that, and will avoid your books because of it.