This is the first in a six-week blog tour series for the Northwest Independent Writers’ Association. NIWA serves Pacific Northwest writers working to achieve professional standards in independent writing, publishing and marketing.
You wrote your book; you got it edited and formatted for publication; you created a cover; you filled out all the details on KDP and clicked “Publish my Book.” Now what?
Unfortunately in most cases, your book isn’t going to automatically sell itself. It’s up to you and only you to get it out there. Social media, in-person events, and advertising are only a few methods to market your book. After trying just about everything I came across, this is how I do it:
- Building interest: Before the book is ever published, I build interest anywhere I can. Here are three ideas:
- I have a designated Facebook author page and a WordPress Blogsite (both free), from where I launch book news. This includes everything from concepts to completed works. Excerpts, giveaways and contests, plus personal comments about writing (and cats) all build momentum toward that final publish day.
- I make an especially big deal out of the cover, presenting teasers and then the final cover reveal itself.
- I write blogposts about topics found in the book, for example, in Cat Café, there was a connection to the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, so I did a post on them. Some scenes took place in the fifties, and I had fun collecting pictures of vintage fashion which I put on Instagram.
- Presales: Setting my book up for Amazon presales is fun. Though the print version will go live when I click publish, I can set a unique publish date for the Kindle version. Once I’ve established the date, I tell everyone I know, everywhere I go, that I’ll have a new book out then. I also announce it on my newsletter— several times!
- Blog Tour: A few weeks before the book’s publish date, I organize a blog tour for the new book. This can be anything from a professionally run tour to a group of writer friends whom I solicit to read and review my book. Ideas for promotional blog tour posts include:
- Interviews with me.
- Interviews with my characters.
I always include the book’s blurb, links, and bio to my posts.
4. Postcards: Have you ever thrown a postcard away? Not me— I keep them all, forever! People respond well to visual aids. Bookmarks are the obvious giveaway for an author, but I prefer postcards because they are cheaper to print and can contain more information. I give them to everyone, post them on bulletin boards, leave a few in the doctor’s office. I used to have a new card printed for each book, but now I have one card with all the series covers, which I continue to update. Either way, it gives people something attractive and informational too remind them they want to buy my book.
- Launch Day: I try to launch my books at a brick and mortar bookstore with a reading and signing event. I have to say that recently these aren’t garnering the participation I would wish for. I’m thinking of forgoing the personal launch for an online launch party on Facebook.
- Keeping up the momentum:
In-person events offer another dimension to promotion, that of meeting the author.
- Readings: These are usually straightforward introduce myself, read an excerpt, answer questions, sell and sign books. Though bookstores are the most common location for author readings, they can be anywhere, such as assisted living facilities, gatherings, tea shops, and places with tie-ins to the book.
- Book Faires: Come up with a quick comment (the elevator pitch) to get people’s attention. Mine is, “Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries.” (Shoves postcard in their hand.) If they respond in the slightest, I continue with, “Featuring a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble with a cat in catnip.” Keywords there are cat and cozy mystery, and to a lesser extent, sixty-something and trouble. In a few seconds, a potential buyer can tell if they might be interested in my book.
- Presentations: Presentations offer something to learn, which makes them more interesting for the audience than a reading. Any subject I can tie in with my books in such a way that I promote sales is a possibility. I have two standard presentations: “Changing the World Through Fiction: 7 (plus 1) techniques to effectively promote altruism without using soapbox rhetoric (or putting your reader to sleep)”, and “CAT CONVERSATIONS, with Cat Writer Mollie Hunt, Because cats don’t come with a manual.”
- Think outside the box: If your book is a certain genre or theme, think of places that reflect that theme. I write cat mysteries so I market at cat venues, cat shows, shelters. Since they are cozy mysteries, assisted living facilities are a good place to present. These often have an activities director looking for things to entertain their residents, and sometimes even a budget to pay.
- Amazon/Facebook/Fussy: I occasionally run an ad on Amazon or Facebook, but really haven’t had much increased sales by it. I also run ads on Fussy Librarian periodically.
- Facebook Parties: Same-genre authors get together and have a Facebook party every so often. Keep an eye out for those.
- Giveaways: There are mixed feelings about giveaways. Rafflecopter offers authors a simple platform to run a giveaway that also gathers followers on various of your author social media sites.
- Free Books: Needless to say, a free book promotion, such as Amazon’s Free Book Promotion will give out lots of your books, but does it really help you as an author? If you have a series, giving out the first can be very useful, otherwise I think not.
- Final advice: I will leave you with one more thought, the most important one of all:
~Write more books! The more books you publish, the more books you sell!~
Watch for my next post, #2: MY WRITING PROCESS – INSIDE A WRITER’S MIND, coming the week of April 5-11 on the Peak Amygdala, Joyce Reynolds-Ward blogsite.
Check out this week’s other participating NIWA blogsites:
- Connie J. Jasperson, Life in the Realm of Fantasy
- Peak Amygdala, Joyce Reynolds-Ward
- William J. Cooke, Notes From A Journey
- Heliocentric, Suzanne Hagelin
- Tanstaafl Press, Thomas Gondolfi