Author of Dark Fiction
Category Archives: Marketing Tips
This blog post will be the first in a series of marketing tips for writers. In promoting my book, Cevin’s Deadly Sin, I wanted to hone in on what works in our digital age for reaching the widest audience. Out with the book signings where you might reach a couple of people. In with trying to get reviewed by an online journal that has the potential to reach thousands of people.
First of all, we’re no longer “marketing,” we’re finding our target audience and providing content that interests those people. It’s the idea of providing value and building a community, rather than hard-selling your book.
Marketing Tip #1: Deconstruct the Marketing Approach of a Similar Novel:
Choose a book that is similar to yours and do a search to see how the publisher marketed the book. First of all, choose a successful, well-known book, then take a look at the following:
- Who reviewed this book? Send review requests to those reviewers. “Since you enjoyed X book, I thought you might like to read and review mine.” Don’t ignore the power of the book bloggers. They have helped to boost the careers of many indie authors.
- Where do interviews for the book’s author appear? Send interview requests to those sites.
- Did the author write any blog posts? Generate a list of possible topics and send a relevant one to that blog. Blogs and journals are always looking for content.
- Do a search for articles about books that share your target audience. Write to the article’s author and ask her if she’d be interested in reading your book. This has worked very well for me and actually generated some recommendations for other reviews.
- Make note of web pages that appeal to your target audience and interact with them by offering to write articles, join chat groups, etc.
- Keep a simple spreadsheet of your contacts. That’s the only way of keeping it all straight.
These steps seem simple, yet they accomplish a wonderful goal—finding your target audience. I’ve found that by performing these steps, I’m connecting with people who want to read what I’ve written. And I’m building a base of readers for my future books.
Do you have any marketing tips you’d like to share?
Platform-Get Noticed in a Noisy World, by Michael Hyatt is a really excellent book about developing your platform, and though it’s not specifically geared toward writers, I found that there were a lot of ideas I could use for my writing.
For example, he has an interesting take on writing blog posts. Use a blog post template, with the following elements: Lead paragraph, Relevant image, Personal experience, Main body, and end with a Discussion question in order to encourage responses.
He recommends making video interviews of other authors and post them to your blog. Send the interview ahead of time, and record the interview through Skype.
Post your own videos in which you speak about various aspects of writing or of your books.
Create a public speaking tab on your website:
- Have a “check my availability” button. This is less presumptuous than a “book me” button.
- Post a one-minute welcome video.
- Did you know that there is iPad teleprompter software? It is HDi Pro2.
- Include a photo of yourself speaking
Hyatt tells us to Kiss Marketing Goodbye. Marketing is dead. Tribe-building is the new marketing. It’s about participating in a dialogue with fellow travelers and building relationships.
- Discover your passion.
- Volunteer to lead.
- Be generous. When you lead by serving and giving, people follow.
- Provide a way to communicate.
Write informative guest posts on other people’s blogs.
Offer to give away a free e-book in exchange for people signing your mailing list.
He emphasizes the importance of using Twitter to build your brand. Some useful tips are:
- Customize your Twitter page with your photo, info about you and a link to your blog or web page.
- Comment on and re-tweet other people’s posts.
- Keep your posts short enough to re-tweet.
- Post often, but don’t over-promote. Offer interesting content to your readers
Become an Amazon Associate and use an affiliate code in links to your own books. This generates extra income every time someone buys one of your books through your link.
Hyatt offered some ideas for novelists, such as:
- Post excerpts from your novels.
- Backstory your novel: why you wrote it, how did you settle on the story, did you do any research.
- Behind the scenes look at what the life of a novelist is like.
- Write “directors notes” for your book: why you chose to start with a particular scene, did you have to delete or add scenes to improve the story
- Interview your editor: Ask your editor what her day-to-day job is like, what’s it like to work with writers, get stories about best and worst experiences, what prompted her to get into the business
Hyatt has many more ideas and recommendations that are applicable to writers. This book is a great read for anyone interested in developing and building a platform, and I’d highly recommend it.