With birthdays happening this week (my youngest and oldest), an edit, and then trying to get a work-in-progress back on track, I didn’t get this portion of my “talk” up earlier this week. This segment is about marketing and promoting. I look at marketing and promoting as two separate areas. Marketing, to me, is the overall big picture of your writing…the long term view and dealing with your writing career as a whole rather than a specific project or book, which I label as promoting.
3. Marketing – Overall Career
The first item I’m going to talk about is area that some writers believe is an either or…write what you love or write what readers will buy. Or as I like to think about it, writing what readers want to read. There can be a balance, and as I feel, should be a balance between the two if you intend on selling your book (want others to spend their money on it). The hard truth is if you want writing to be your career, make an income with your words, then the reader needs to be taken into consideration. I know how hard this can be because sometimes what you’d love to write about isn’t what readers (or readers in what you’d love to be your target audience) want to read.
It makes for tough decisions but all businesses must decide where their talent, time and capital will go. Writing is no exception.
For me, part of marketing is:
a. Next project.
When deciding on what to write next, think about:
i. How does each idea fit into the goals you have set for yourself
ii. Will this book fit into the genre you’re currently writing in or will it branch you out into a different area? Can you cross-promote or will you need two separate plans for two separate readership bases? And if you need two separate plans…
iii. Do you have time to split your efforts?
b. Events – conferences, festivals… “big ticket” personal appearances that require a higher money and time commitment.
c. Online Persona – Your social postings—FB, Twitter, Pinterest
Note: What you post on social network sites can make or break an author. Before posting about controversial subjects ( the big ones are religion and politics), consider if it is more appropriate for a personal page or your author page. Is the stance or comment you make worth losing your readers?
d. Personal Blog. Decide if it will be more personal and chatty, or business oriented. If you can, pick a general theme that fits with your books.
4. Promotion – Specific Projects
This can be divided into two areas: time and money. It will change throughout your career which area is the one where you have the least available as a resource.
a. Blog Tours – self or hire out. There are businesses devoted to setting up /arranging blog tours. Each company has a different specialty so each one will be better for different authors. Searching for virtual book tour companies will give you some options.
b. Reviews. At least a month before your book comes out, contact reviewers to see if they’d be interested in reviewing your book. Make sure you follow the directions the reviewer lists on how to contact them and the information they need. If you have “paper” ARCs, a Goodreads giveaway is a great way to find reviewers. Keep in mind, that you won’t get a review for every copy sent…either through readers or professional reviewers. Reviews are important but it’s also the area you have the least control over.
c. Paid Advertising. I chose where I’m going to advertise based on audience reached and likelihood of recouping the investment I made for the ad.
Main thing to remember…not everything will work for everyone, nor for each project. Promotion (and marketing) are constantly changing and evolving.
Next in the mini-series: Administrative