Launching a new book is exciting. Like a new parent, you proudly and enthusiastically present your newborn novel to the world. All the pages and pages of rough drafts, rounds with editors and focus groups, planning, plotting and designing are behind you. It’s graduation day! You’re looking forward to seeing your book listed on the mighty Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You’ve uploaded to Smashwords and may even have your book for sale on your own website.
Your hopes are high from all the success stories you’ve heard about amazing indie authors who have hit the jackpot with their sales. They made it happen overnight and so can you…or so it seems.
The Land of the Midnight Sun
During the first month you’ll see a surge. It’s hard not to get excited. But after your friends and family have all bought a copy, things start to slow down. Thus begins the long night of an illusion called The Overnight Success. Your heart starts to sink as the sales slow and it gets harder and harder to find people to buy your book.
What did you do wrong? Nothing. And by nothing, I mean you probably waited to get started on your marketing. Marketing a book starts long before your novel hits the distribution list. The most successful authors work hard at building a following and a buzz about the book while that book is still in the early draft stages. The whole idea of an overnight success is really a huge illusion. If you look at when a popular book was actually published, you’ll see most of these books came out years ago.
That “overnight” was a very long time coming.
The 3 M’s: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
Marketing is not a dirty word. Marketing is not something to be feared. Marketing is a part of everyday life whether you realize it or not. We all do it, even kids do it, especially as Christmas draws nearer.
Marketing is finding your audience. And how do you find your audience? Social networking! The internet gives authors all the tools they need to market themselves. Depending on how extravagant you want to get, marketing can be as cheap as free all the way up to thousands of dollars.
No matter what method you choose, or how much you choose to spend, the one thing you can’t skimp on is your own time and effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re an indie author or represented by a huge publishing house, your marketing is totally up to you.
So how do you start?
- Jump the Gun. The moment you put that concept down on paper you need to start telling the world about it. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? I bet there’s a bunch of you saying, “But what if I don’t finish it?”. This one act of accountability is a sure way to kick writer’s block to the curb. People want to share your adventure and if you’re a first time writer you can use your journey as the basis for another form of marketing…
- The Blog. Blogs are very powerful tools when used well. You don’t need anything fancy to start with (or if you want something fancy, call us). Free blogs abound everywhere. The most popular are WordPress.com and Blogspot. You can easily set up a quick site as a means for people to find you. Start blogging about your book and the process as you go through it.
- Forums. Creative writing forums are everywhere too. There you’ll find authors of all skill levels talking about their books and experiences. A forum is like a party; you go, mingle, make some new friends and before you know it, you’re building a following of your own.
- Social Networking. Facebook, Twitter, G+ and others are great places to find like minds. Build a fan page, create circles on G+ for writers or your specific audience, search the hashtag lists on Twitter and get into the social communities where your specific audience lives.
- Local Organizations. Don’t underestimate your hometown! Become involved in a book club, or clubs at your local library. Get to know the book store owners in your area, especially the independent ones.
- Conventions. For the fantasy/paranormal set, conventions like GenCon, DragonCon, ComiCon and others are great places to spread the word about your book. Take a look at your specific genre and find out where those readers hang out. For this kind of thing you’ll want to make sure you have business cards or post cards you can hand out with all your contact, site and book information on it.
Have you begun your marketing campaign yet? Have you done this before? If you have, what kind of experience did you have? Is this your first time marketing your book? What kind of questions do you have? We’re here to help and we’d like to hear what you have to say!