On Your Marketing, Get Set, Go!

One of the most common questions posed to newbie authors -like myself-by writers on their journey to becoming published authors is: when/where/how to get started in marketing? The most common answer? Ugh! I hate marketing. Wrong. Answer.

This is one of those cases where there’s a right and wrong answer. How will readers know of your shining achievement if you don’t do everything in your power, short of streaking cross country wearing nothing but a towel featuring your book cover, to promote your wonderful piece of art? We must connect with readers. We must. And believe me, it’s worth it.

Readers are truly lovely people (as our writers and librarians and book store owners). I brim with joy when I discover a book that is a dream to read. A page turner. A front burner. Better than…well, you fill in the blank. You know what I do when I find such a book? Recommend it to others.

For those of us fortunate enough to have a publisher, and even more fortunate enough to have a publisher with a publicist or marketing department, we still have to self-promote. Who better for that task? I am commited to being my own best publicist because I’ve drained my life blood onto those pages, wrung hands over character development, and performed CPR on scenes more times than I care to mention. And for what? So readers may be entertained by my illusion of reality within those pages.

So, how to market?

The easy, but potentially time draining, marketing path is through social media.
Think Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, and Pinterest, for starters. And new ones are always popping up. My focus is on FB and Twitter, but I do believe in Goodreads (especially book giveaways, as that hopefully gives a book the attention it deserves). I’m about to create a presence on Instagram (by “about” I mean, I’ve been planning this for two months now and will break down and do it any moment, when I least expect it).

Let’s start with Facebook: I created my presence about five months prior to the book launch date. To have an author page, I needed to create a profile first, which I did (this is a FB requirement), and gathered friends from people I knew, from my Sisters in Crime local and national groups, from book signings, author panels, and random run-ins with newly discovered pals in the grocery store and similar places. In other words, from everywhere. Then I asked these same friends to “like” my author page from my profile, so I wouldn’t be lonely out there. It worked. FB permits promotions of pages to encourage more of a page following. That costs money, but it does provide a boost in popularity as well. I’ve heard of authors who have regular, ongoing promotions (and deep pockets).

I really like Twitter, especially the part of tweeting in 140 characters or less. I’m all about short and sweet, and things I can do without huge effort. As far as book promo, I’ve been known to tweet parts from a great book review of my novel directly from Amazon, just because I can. But I spend most of my twitter time using hashtags (# = a hastag), and quoting great quotes or tweeting about the #writinglife. I don’t know if my activity is selling my book, but it certainly increases my connections in the Twitter world.

I hung back on Goodreads in the beginning (mainly because of my ignorance and lack of time), but once I jumped on that band wagon, it worked. I did a giveaway or two, and got the Goodreads community interested in reading my book. Imagine the possibilities if I’d the time to join the discussions (it’s on my “to do” list)!

Next time – Book Promotion Part 2.

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