Part Two: 4 Marketing Tools Authors Need
This is the second post of a four part series on marketing written by an author who has been through the process.
You have the book, the blurb, your bio, teasers – the works. You’re ready to dive into the shark pit of the literary world, to remove the reigns and let your baby take its first steps. Like any inexperienced little tyke, it will fall over a few times, I guarantee it. Be it bad reviews, troll attacks, refunds, failed marketing or any other hiccups on the road to publishing success, you and your book will come out with a few bruises and cuts.
Now that inspiring pep talk is over with we can get down to the nitty gritty. Here are four marketing tools you marketing virgins should look into and get to grips with.
“The world’s largest marketplace for creative and professional services”, Fiverr is a great idea. Simply put, you pay five bucks to a seller for their services. You can get all sorts of stuff here, translation services, logo design, and so on. What we’re interested in here though it marketing. There are several sellers of marketing services, where you pay for an advert on their website or a listing in an email newsletter (a great way to reach a bunch of people when you don’t have big numbers on your own mailing list). If you can time this effectively with a price promo (a $0.99 deal for example), then you’ll be in a good position to get quite a few sales. I can recommend BK Knights as a seller, I usually get enough downloads to cover the cost of the advert.
Much like physical book tours, a blog tour exists in the virtual realm. Instead of visiting bookstores, you visit blogs posting different content. These might come in the form of Q&A sessions, character and author interviews, blog posts, podcasts, e.t.c.
If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Setting up something like this takes a lot of connections and can be cumbersome to organise. There are services that – for a fee – will do it for you, such as http://www.goddessfish.com/ and Our Write Side.
This is all about generating hype and letting readers know that your book exists, so well worth it in the long-run.
I’m going to assume that you know what facebook is and just go ahead and encourage you to attend some of the events that take place on there. Authors often set up events to celebrate book releases and they will open up slots that are typically a half-hour or an hour long. If you can get one of these slots you will use that time to post promotional info about your book. Buy links, cover photos, teasers e.t.c. It’s also an opportunity to engage with potential readers, to let them get to know you. You can post games, or open up, offering to answer any questions that people might have. It is not mandatory, but most of the time an author will do a giveaway, giving a free e-copy of their book to a winner, asking participants to like their author page or sign up to a newsletter as a sort of entry fee.
Keep a look out on your author friends updates when new events are announced and then go ahead and request a slot.
Personal target markets
There is something to be said for intense small-scale marketing efforts in the early stages of a literary career. Join some online groups of people who like your particular genre and engage with them on a personal level. Don’t flood people with spammy links and “buy my book” type messages, that’s just utterly ineffective. Make friends first, and then drop in references to your book on a casual basis. Offer something in return for honest reviews or give a close-knit group a special offer to buy your book for a discounted price. This kind of marketing costs you nothing but your time. Get creative and make connections. It might seem like a lot of work but the whole business of marketing is exactly that, a lot of work and effort. If you can’t put in the work to get free marketing then you have to pay big money to do the bigger explosive campaigns.
That will be the topic of the next post in this series, the big money sucking options that are available to indie authors. Start saving your cash now and next month I’ll tell you where to spend it 😉
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