Today you should have the essentials of marketing started: a good email address, a good domain name, a website (and hopefully there’s something on it!), and you’ve looked at business card designs.
Your head may be swimming after looking at the Copper Package, but it will eventually make sense.
So, today we’re racheting up our skills with simple extensions of what you are already doing.
Today’s theme is Join, Have a Presence in the Writing Culture, and Get Out There!
Facebook Groups: There are quite a few FB groups out there for all skill levels. Some will provide beta-readers, some have editors or proofreaders, some will write reviews, and others will even allow you to advertise your book on their site. These groups have rules. Please read them. These are very good opportunities for writers.
Note: your publisher cannot do this for you.
Writers’ Group, Children’s Book Reviews and Promos, A Place to Promote Children’s, Reviewmates, Writing for Children: A Community for Kidlit Writers, Writers Helping Writers, Fiction Writing, Writers Assembled.
Go to conferences. Writing is a very solitary job. How often do you get to sit around with inspirational writers who will help you. How often do you get to practice pitching, talk to agents, learn what’s new in the industry? And the industry changes. If your books aren’t selling, maybe something doesn’t relate to your audience. Stay current.
If you follow me on FaceBook, I post regional conference notices every time I see one. If you are in the Rocky Mountain area, I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, NOCO Writers Conference, Print for Paws, Wyoming Writers Inc. Every region has some kind of writers group or book group. Start looking around your area and participate. North Texas schools have book fairs where the students run around for a weekend, talk to authors, and buy books. Millennials read, and they like hard copies. Our local library is hosting 50 authors next weekend. Events pop up regularly so stay flexible. Some of these cost a lot or you need to schedule a year in advance.
Let’s say your book may be coming out in January. That means you will miss all the great holiday opportunities to sell books (October-December). Scout out the event, see what you can do to attract people, and schedule for next year.
Price: varies from Free to $$
Make public appearances. I know. It’s that talking in front of a group of people, isn’t it? Put that fear aside because at this point it’s a stuck point. If you can’t get up and talk about your book, who is? If you don’t introduce it to the world, who is? I’ve been to one too many launches that were not thought through, and I’ve watched the complete devastation reflected in the authors’ eyes. Nobody is coming to your launch if they don’t know about it.
Guys, I can’t speak for you, but I know women have a group for everything! I just found a new one called Her Story. A great platform to reach a female audience.
Price: Free and sometimes they pay you!
Fairs and festivals usually celebrate something once or twice a year. You can sell books there. Sometimes they support a cause. Donate some of your profit and build relationships. If you have a Halloween book, now is the time to move. Get it to every Halloween place you can think of. Put it in raffle baskets. Go to the libraries and bookstores and see if you can read to groups of kids. Holiday books aren’t great sellers because you have such a narrow period of time where it is applicable. Use that time well.
Price: Free or basic table charges
Reviews, reviews, reviews!! You can’t have enough. It’s nice that your sister will take the time to read your book. Maybe she even bought a copy. BUT what is important right now are the reviews.
There are different kinds of reviews: unsolicited and solicited. You want both. An unsolicited review is from a friend, relative, reader, or fan. Always ask for them to leave you a review on Goodreads or Amazon. They can even post a review on FB.
Note: if you are going to use an unsolicited review on the cover of your book or notably at the beginning of the book, identify the reviewer. Just don’t put “alkdj;akd;akjd;alkj” — Joan. Who is Joan? Why should we take her review seriously? Even something like “Joan, an avid reader” is better. Also make sure you get written permission to use someone’s words or identity. Of course, if they are reviewing on Goodreads or Amazon, you won’t have to worry about that.
Solicited reviews are professional reviews. These will cost you, but they are important. Do you want to see your book in Barnes and Noble or some other large chain? You need reviews. Do you see yourself on The New York Times Bestseller List? You need reviews.
Note: if you are self-publishing, these reviews may not yet be available. That is supposed to change, but right now, the publisher usually requests the review. The review can take up to a year. Plan accordingly. If your publisher is in a position to buy reviews, rejoice. Because aside from the price, the paperwork looks like something from the IRS!
A Kirkus Review is gold. After that, you read the fine print. Don’t just buy reviews. Find out which ones are acceptable and/or influential. So now you can gulp, hold your breath, or scream!
Video everything you can think of. Take pictures. Audiences respond to visuals. Use these to advertise your book. Great openers for blogs. Say Snapchat!
Comicons. They are everywhere. Probably happening in a place not too far from you right now! They do let you sell books. Some genres, admittedly, aren’t going to sell here. Sci-fi and fantasy–great opportunity.
And tomorrow is the GOLD!