"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." ~Cicero, 106-43 BC
Many people mistakenly think that selling and marketing are the same - they aren't. Selling is the “instant gratification” we all like—you hand someone a book and they hand you money. I sell about 90% of my books in person, by hand.
Marketing is a little like planting seeds in your garden. You put them out there and water and fertilize and you hope they will bear fruit (or vegetables.) With marketing you are putting your name or your books out there and maybe some people will buy it right away and maybe two years from now, someone will come across your name and decide to buy. You may not be able to tell how many sales you make from a website or a virtual book tour until you receive a royalty check from your publisher or from Amazon.
Global management consultant Alan Weiss says, "There is no music if you don‘t blow your own horn." Like it or not, these days authors HAVE to get involved in the business side of publishing.
Selling is one activity of the entire marketing process. And Marketing activities support sales efforts. Some authors are good at promotion and some aren’t. You have to decide what you can do yourself or if you want to hire someone else to do it for you.
Hundreds of little things contribute to success, not necessarily one big thing. Here are some basics:
- Create a platform: Build an expertise in the subject matter, write articles or short stories.
- Create a website to showcase your book, with excerpts, reviews, and additional information about the topic.
- Write a blog. Blogging is the “new” journalism and an important part of your marketing strategy. Your readers will get to know you, your books and characters, and again, you can provide subject matter expertise.
- Find your niche. My books are about old-time cowgirls, so I’ve sold books at feedstores, rodeos, concerts, even a Cowgirl play. If your book has an historical aspect, do school presentations, talks at service clubs, etc.Does your book have recipes in it? Do a talk at a kitchen store, prepare a recipe to share.
- Get over the fear of public speaking. It is easier to pursue a subject for which you are passionate.
- Do a radio talk show or a TV interview.
- Do a virtual book tour. Find blogs that are of similar interest to your topic or theme, follow them, comment, and when you’re ready, ask if they will host you. Write an article, do an interview, have giveaways. Make it fun!
And, of course, you must add social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest.
Pick one tool or technique you’re passionate about and take one action on it right now. Today. And every day. Find what is fun for you, persist at it, track your results. Then try something out of your comfort zone. Keep trying new things to find what works for you, and you will become a super marketer.
|A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series, Dare to Dream, has just been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.|