Sunday, December 16, 2012

Marketing your Books

You've just written your book and are now dreaming about relaxing on a beach in some exotic location with a good book.  Forget about that dream.  Writing was the easy part.  You now have to market your book and that is the unfun part.  Marketing is a serious amount of work and time.  If you don't market your book nobody will know it exists.  If they don't know it exists then they will not know to buy it.  So get yourself off that beach chair and fire up that old laptop and get started.
Author Platform
In a nutshell, this is your footprint on the worldwide web.  You develop this by having a website, a blog, using social media, writing articles, guest blogging and commenting on others' blogs.  The more active you are on the internet, the larger the footprint you will leave.  The easier it will be for readers to find you and your books.
Marketing 101
There is a lot of discussion about giving your books away for free.  Some authors don't believe in it and say they didn't put all the hard work and effort into writing the book just to give it away.  Others say it gets your name known and out there.  If you want to give away books you need to sign up with and list your book as a giveaway.  Alternatively put your book on and give away a discount coupon.  KDP Select gives you 5 free giveaway days every 90 days.  How much longer this will last for, nobody knows.  I haven't found KDP Select particularly successful in the longterm.  You get a lot of people downloading your book onto their Kindle because it is free.  They don't always read it and aren't necessarily your target audience either, which can result in a sucky review.  Also, you have to give them exclusivity which is never a good thing as you miss out on a lot of other ebook retailers.
Blogs, Blogging, Guest Posts, Commenting and Virtual Book Tours
It's so easy to set up a blog it's frightening.  There are scores of places where you can get a free blog.  You have to post regularly, deliver good content and don't spam or only try and push your books on people.  If you have friends with blogs, offer to do a guest post and reciprocate.  You can also organise your own Virtual Book Tour, or pay someone else to organise it for you.  Once again there are countless people advertising on the net who arrange your blog tour for about $30.  You will get some exposure and reviews.  Find blogs similar to yours that you can sign up for and be sure to comment on them regularly.
Book Reviews
I'm a great believer in what you put out to the universe you get back.  If you review other books people will review yours.  Get into the habit of reviewing everything you read.  Post the reviews on Amazon, Shelfari, Barnesandnoble and Goodreads.  Don't pay people to review your books.  There are many people out there who are prepared to exchange reviews.  If you want to go that route you find review exchanges on Goodreads Forums, Createspace and Amazon Forums.
Social Networking
Twitter, Facebook, Pininterest, Google+, Linkedin are the more common ones.  For writers there is also She Writes, Goodreads, Kindleboards and Shelfari.  Join the groups, comment frequently and get yourself known as an oracle of useful information.  Don't spam as that will make you unpopular.

Try and work out a schedule for yourself so you can do a little every day.  Take on too much and it becomes overwhelming.  Good luck with your marketing efforts and have an awesome Festive Season!

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