With more writers going the self-publishing route these days, the need to market your book is imperative to its success. You don’t have Harper Collins behind you, nor do you have an endless bank account from which to pay a private PR firm to get the word out. Nope – you ARE the marketing team for your book, and you better do what you can or else your book will sit on the e-shelf like another bit of code.
Know Thy Audience – Learning how to market any goods or services – books included – always starts with a look at your audience. Who is your book for? Do you have a broad audience such as women in their 30s who like to flirt and wear pants instead of skirts? Or is your story geared more toward pre-teens who buy clothes at Justice and think The Bieber is the end-all-be-all in life? Then “be the ball” and know the ins and outs of what your audience is looking for.
Get Out There And Chat – Since many writers are introverts, myself included (INFJ here, folks), chatting it up with people you don’t know might seem daunting at first. However, when you see the results of working the social scene on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, you will more than likely push introversion out of the way. Success has a funny way of doing things like that.
Create a fan page for your book on Facebook – start by creating a new page that links with your personal page. After 25 likes, the book page will have its own vanity name.
Using a service such at Hootsuite can help you schedule tweets, Facebook updates and other social media tools so you keep yourself and your book in front of your “friends” and “followers.” BTW, you can find people to follow on Twitter using services such as Twellow and Twibes, or pay for something called TweetAdder that pulls thousands of like-minded folks for you to follow (and hopefully they’ll follow you back).
Blog – Yes, Write More! – You might think it’s insane to add more writing fodder onto your heaping plate of WIPS, edits and outlines, but it’s a good idea for several reasons. First, it is yet another tool for putting your name out there. Second, it positions you to your market (i.e., young adults, sci-fi folks, et cetera). Third, it allows people to take a gander at your writing style and expertise in your craft. It’s also a fun outlet for sharing good news and announcements about you and your book. It is important to link new blog posts to Twitter and Facebook… share your good news when you get it! Don’t forget to visit other blogs and comment on posts. A well-versed response can make people wonder who you are and go in search of finding out.
Make A Trailer – Be the Winnebago Warrior for your book! Book trailers are fun ways to promote your story using visuals, words and music. They are like mini-movies you can create with tool such as iMovie or online at Slideroll. There’s always the consensus that book trailers do nothing to promote your book, but my gut says otherwise. Even if the result of creating and promoting a book trailer is little, it’s a fun thing to try out.
Give Away Your Creative – Freebies are fun! People like them. Make your book free for a few days via Smashwords and see how many copies are downloaded. I gave A Place In This Life Away for a weekend and hit a nice amount of downloads. While it would be great to have the money for each book, getting copies into the hands of readers is invaluable and worth the giveaway. You might also run a contest on your blog (some of the ones I’ve seen are too complicated for my taste – as in tweet this, like that, stand on your head and shake your left leg to enter a contest). Build momentum!
Other ideas include swag (book markers, cards, magnets, t-shirts and stuff in general), public speaking and press releases. I’m a big fan of FREE and advise you to start there. Try the suggestions above first before you spend money. You’d be surprised how well free works!