Of all the things that have become a part of my life as an author, marketing is not the most exciting. On personality tests, I test right on the halfway mark between introvert and extrovert. But in this part of my life, I’m definitely an introvert. Selling myself is just not my strong suit. But my education in this area has been more like a crash course. So, I’ll share what I have learned in my short time of actively seeking out information about the craft and all that’s involved in being an author…and hope it helps someone.
Keeping up a webpage. Well, having a webpage and keeping it up is like having a homebase for your audience. It’s a place where they can come to begin connecting with you – learning about your books, what you want to share with them about you, your blog, etc. The key is maintaining it. Keeping something new and fresh on the page as the weeks go by. We just did some refreshening of my webpage. So, if you haven’t looked around, feel free to – especially the pages of my novels (published and in progress). There are also some links on the left side of the home page you might not have seen.
Blogging. Regular blogging is important to keep bringing fresh information to your audience and your page. Sharing your ideas and letting your audience “peek behind the curtain” as it were. Those of you that follow my blog know that I try to blog twice a week (usually on Tuesday and Friday) but I rarely (if ever) let a week go by when I don’t blog at least once.
Social Media. Social Media can be a beast…or your best friend. The key is to think of it as connecting with your audience. Just be you. Post about things that interest you (and about your books occasionally, but don’t be cramming it down everyone’s throat). People will connect with you about your interests and, again, it’s those connections that you are looking for. And I will say here: Hootsuite is a lifesaver. Just sayin’. Social Media also includes places like Pinterest where you can make boards for each of your books, pinning your ideas for what your characters look like, costuming, settings, etc.
Swag. I have swag…bookmarks, postcard sized prints of my book covers, notepads with my book cover in the corner, etc. But I find that I don’t pass them out as much as I’d like. That’s probably more due to my introverted nature in this area than anything else. I recently heard of a company that prints booklets with your cover on the front and a chapter excerpt inside. Now that sounds like some interesting swag.
Blog Tours. I think that the blog tour after a book release is a good idea. I have benefitted a lot from making that decision. I recommend using a service and picking one that is specific to your genre. I write Historical Fiction, so I use Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. They have been wonderful to work with and they are able to connect me with blogs that write in my genre. Therefore I am connected with audiences that are interested in my genre and are more likely to be interested in my book then, say, a blog about Mystery – only some of those readers will be interested in my book.
Speaking Engagements. I’ve heard that authors should make every effort to be speakers as well. Speak about the topics in your book, your message, or even just about your books. I am just now starting to expand this area of my platform. This one can be a little bit harder to get going, in my experience. Local venues are a good place to start – libraries, local clubs, etc.
I’ve touched on just a few areas that encompass marketing. This list is by no means meant to be extensive. There is so much to marketing and I am still learning. But this is a place to start. It is not easy to conquer the marketing giant. The best advice I’ve gotten is to take a couple of these areas at a time. Like do twitter and facebook for a while. It’s better to do a couple of areas really well than to do them all poorly. Happy marketing!