30th March 2015
Here are some thoughts on what has worked for me with marketing my books:
- Enthuse your audience (Facebook, Twitter, email) by sharing snippets of your work while on your writing journey. Talk about what you know and love, but don’t bore them to death.
- Ask questions of your potential readers so they feel a part, even helpful contributor, in the process of compiling your book, but don’t make yourself look like a total novice.
- Give incentives. Pre-order and you can receive a signed copy? Buy direct from you and receive something extra/loyalty discount/signed photo? Ok, I was joking about the last one (unless you happen to be proper eye candy).
- Make it easy for people to order from you. Offer PayPal or BACS and provide links and instructions for people to do so. Don’t send threatening letters for payment, and don’t lose the plot when friends or family haven’t bought your book.
- Use testimonials from others to show the success of your work, or even prior writing skills and achievements. Do not include quotes from your grandma, mother or wife (especially the mother-in-law).
- Target the correct audience for your book. Trying to sell a raunchy rom-com novel to the Mothers Union may not go down too well.
- A book launch can help people to feel a special part of the process. You will also be able to use local media (radio, newspapers) to promote it, so make the experience memorable for all the right reasons. Don’t get drunk. Don’t serve cheap food (crisps, quiche, jelly etc).
- Make sure that you use FB and Twitter to its full capacity. Don’t overwhelm people with info, but think carefully about how often you are marketing? If all they read are your book updates, you will bore the life out of your most avid supporters.
- Marketing cross-platform can work well for some genres, but do your research. Is it better to sell a few copies on Smashwords and Kobo, for example, rather than using Amazon as your only online retailer? (There are advantages and disadvantages for putting all of your eggs in one basket).
- Ask friends if they are happy posting/sharing/retweeting your links. If you are a first time writer, most of your early sales may come through shares on FB and Twitter. Don’t promise any special ‘favours’ for good reviews or recommendations.
- Simplify the links that point to your online book. Instead of having http://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Gretyl-Only-Fools-Trollops-ebook/dp/B00CVGZUD8/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1411554495&sr=8-1&keywords=Missing+Gretylyou can reduce this by going to https://bitly.com/and pasting your link in. For example, the above link for my comedy novel has been reduced to: bit.ly/MissingGretyl
- Try to get some high-profile reviewers that are well suited for your genre. For my first comedy novel, Missing Gretyl, I approached via email, a comedy sitcom writer and a producer and director for popular TV comedy. Both read my book and wrote excellent short reviews that I have used for publicity. This helps others to see the quality of your book.
- Encourage others to leave honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. These add more authenticity to the quality of your writing. ‘Over the top’ praise from too many readers may make your work lack authenticity. Honesty and truthfulness is key. Don’t make yourself look cheap.
- Make sure that you have a basic logline, synopsis and press release for your book. These are the snippets or sound bites that are necessary to draw your readers in. If someone asks you what your book is about, make sure you can explain it in a few sentences. If you want to learn more about this, Google the words, ‘elevator pitch’.
- Look at other successful books in your genre. How do they promote their work online?
These are only a handful of points to consider. I hope they are helpful.