27 Jun Marketing and Selling a Novel
The time has come to stop blogging about my vision for public schooling, quit sharing Brunswick stew recipes, and get back to the real purpose of this site, which is to chronicle my journey as a professional writer. Now that my first novel Hattie’s Place has been published, I have been thrust into the unfamiliar territory of sales and marketing, which probably explains my hesitance to write about a topic that is so not a part of my skill set.
I was always the mom who would rather pay for the school fund raiser candy than ask my neighbors to buy it; the committee chair who would rather do it myself than impose on my committee members; the person who alway began her sales pitch with, “You wouldn’t want to buy this, would you?” But you don’t learn and grow if you never get out of your comfort zone, which is why I undertook this blog in the first place. So let’s get started.
Information on book marketing seems to fit into three basic categories on the internet: offers for marketing services; ads for how-to books, on-line magazines, courses,videos, and author conferences; and, informational blogs and websites.
There are numerous opportunities to spend your money, regardless of what site you pull up. One blogger recently expressed the opinion that those who seem to be profiting the most are not the authors or publishers, but the industry that is thriving by selling services to writers. I can understand how he arrived at that conclusion. But there are also lots of blogs and websites that offer coaching and how-to advice for free, as well as honest tips on the paid services that will bring the most value for the money. I have found bloggers to be generous people who are eager to pass on their knowledge and success strategies to their readers.
One of my favorite go-to sources for advice on everything related to writing and publishing is Writer’s Digest, which I subscribe to online, and referenced in my blog on Selecting a Publishing Method. Editor Brian Klems posts helpful tips about marketing on his blog, The Writer’s Dig.
Create Space, the independent publishing platform on which I published Hattie’s Place, also provides multiple free resources on its Marketing Central site, with genre-specific marketing plans and access to chat groups on every aspect of book promotion.
Free lists of book marketing tips and principles abound on the internet. Most are embedded in book offers or services related to marketing, for the reader who has the cash and wishes to explore more deeply. But, honestly, you can find out just about anything you want to know without spending a dime. You can check some of these sites out by following the links at the bottom of this post.
All of the suggestions I read tended to fall into two categories: those which involve traditional person-to-person marketing, such as book talks and signings, hosting of promotional events, etc; and, those that primarily involve marketing through the internet and social media. From the scores of suggestions, tips, and strategies that I read, five strategies or principles were consistently stressed:
1. Publish a quality book. The book should be one that is well-written, well-formatted, and completely free of errors, with a professional, eye-catching cover.
2. Develop an author Platform. The author platform is the author’s visibility, and is the vehicle for reaching the audience when the book is ready to sell.
3. Know the book’s audience. Not everybody will want to read the book. The key is finding those who will want to read it and getting the word out to them.
4. Be generous and add value. Price the book reasonably and give copies away freely. Be a person who acknowledges the support and mentoring he/she has received by passing it on to others.
5. Write more books. The best way for an author to increase his/her readership is to offer the next installment of the story.
I have created a book marketing plan which is based on strategies 2-5, as the ship has already sailed for strategy number 1. In my next few blogs, I’ll be sharing my progress, as well as posting links to the resources I’ve used to help me accomplish my goals.
A Few Lists of Marketing Strategies