Writing a great book is only a small part of your work if you’re trying to make a living as an author. You need to get it out to readers – you need to market it. And really it’s not just about a single book, but about yourself as an author: become the go-to source for readers in your genre, sub-genre or trope. This is true whether you are traditionally published or self-publish, in either case you are responsible for marketing your book.
This topic is truly HUGE, so my thoughts on book marketing will not fit into one post, but span multiple Sunday Musings. Today you’ll get the introduction and overview, and we’ll deep dive into individual topics in the next weeks. As you can imagine, there’s almost limitless content that we could talk about, and I encourage you to check out as many other resources as possible. What I will try to give you here are my experiences from now 8 years as a self-published writer, what worked for me (and what I’m discovering for the first time) with a strong focus on strategies you can put into action right away!
Also check out this week’s writing tip at the bottom – refreshing thoughts on a career as an author by bestselling author Skye Warren.
Book marketing – as important as writing
First of all, a quick look back to Sunday Musings #9 where we first talked about how readers discover your books:
- Word of mouth – by far the most important. When you hear from a trusted friend, you’re very likely to give it a try.
- Author newsletter / social media – this is also an important channel because you are reaching your fans directly. They’ve either signed up to your newsletter, or they follow you on Facebook or Twitter because they want to hear from you.
- Influencers – these are the people writing about books. This can be classic media like magazines or newspapers, book blogs, or Goodreads reviewers with a large following. These guys can sway their audience to try a new author.
- General reviews – from anyone on Amazon or Goodreads.
- Ads – for example on Facebook. Brings you some exposure, but it’s not a guaranteed success, and it costs.
- General browsing – people randomly stumbling across your book, for example by browsing the romance novels on Amazon.com. Of course, if you make it to the top of a category, likelihood of discovery goes up.
Over the course of the next weeks, we’ll touch on many aspects that help getting your books out to readers, make it stand out from the competition and how to get readers to come back to you.
Book marketing topics
So what can you expect from the next Musings? So far, I’m planning to go over these topics:
- Cover. What your cover is good for, and how to create a great one.
- Blurb. Pitch your reader the right way! How to write, test and use a great blurb, one of your most important book marketing tools.
- Author platform – what do you stand for? Find your focus and devise a great tag line.
- Author platform – your website. Set goals for your website, and learn about ways to achieve them.
- Author platform – your newsletter. Build a mailing list and talk directly to your readers.
- Author platform – your social media presence. Find a way that social media works for you.
- Author platform – use of Goodreads. The most important book recommendation platform, and how to make the most of it.
- Author platform – use of Amazon AuthorCentral. Use this tool to present your books the best way on Amazon!
- Author platform – presence on other platforms. What else is out there? A look past Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon.
- The book launch – the essential checklist. All the steps to a successful book launch in one handy overview.
- The book launch – effective use of your book real estate. How to use front and back matter of your books to market yourself and your other releases.
- The book launch – handling of ARC copies. How to get advanced reading copies out to readers and get reviews!
- The book launch – blog tours. Organize a publicity blast with a blog tour!
- Advertising – how to use Facebook ads, Amazon ads and others.
As the articles are published, I’ll link from the list above, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for more book marketing content!
Writing tip of the week
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Skye Warren recently published several newsletters about her “Year of Focus” in which she gives her thoughts on writing as a business. I found a lot to take away here: making financial projection (like other businesses do), creating events throughout the writing year and standalones vs. series. To read all the posts in the series, you should just check out the last newsletter which includes an overview.
In this last post, she also includes a tool called the “Romance Author Roadmap“, to print out and make plans for your writing business! A must download!
Fiction read of the week
“Peter Darling“, by Austin Chant. This YA story just grew and grew on me until I was so swept up in the story, I didn’t want it to end. Peter and Hook, what a surprisingly tender relationship. Very sweet with some poignant moments. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Bits & pieces
True Colors has a healthy dose of angst in the romance. It’s hate/love that’s a little messy and very raw. A redemption story. A story of former best friends rekindling their friendship and maybe something more…
Books and resources mentioned in this bulletin:
- “Year of Focus” series, by Skye Warren
- “Romance Author Roadmap“, by Skye Warren
- “Peter Darling“, by Austin Chant
- True Colors
- My new gay romance True Colors will be released on March 14th.
- You can get a free e-book by signing up for my newsletter
- Disclaimer: All links to books in this article are affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price if you make a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost for you if you purchase the books via these links!
Session #13 – A blurb to elevate your book pitch
Session #15 – Author platform: what do you stand for? (book marketing series)