Tag: Bookselling

How To Market Without Losing Your Mind

First I want to say happy New Year to all of you! I hope you’ve had a great holiday season. I’ll be glad to say goodbye to 2014, myself. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year with ups and downs all over the place. I think many people have had a stressful year, so let’s all take a big breath and hope next year is a little less hectic.

Now – in regards to marketing! I encountered someone from one of the many writing groups I’m part of who was talking about how trying to market their book on all the various platforms and trying to keep up with social media was destroying their writing time. Many people were telling the author to “just write and ignore the rest; it’ll fall into place”. Others were saying to automate their marketing using platforms like Hootsuite. They also suggested using cross-platform posts to just post the same thing on all their social media networks.

Unfortunately, none of those suggestions are going to work for a writer who wants to sell books.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: do not automate your marketing strategy. While, yes, this blog will automatically post to my Facebook page I do more than just that. You should not pre-write tweets and posts on social media because that robs it of the interactive feel which is what social media is about: interaction. While you don’t have to have long conversations on social media every day you should keep your commentary and interaction conversational. You aren’t writing advertisements there – you’re providing people with interesting, interactive things that they can enjoy.

That said, you don’t need to spend every minute of every day marketing and playing on social media.

Instead of stressing and drowning in social media to the detriment of your writing dedicate about twenty minutes a day to social media to make sure everything is caught up, and choose which platforms you really want to focus on. There are so many that you can’t possibly keep up with everything. You also want to make sure that your social media presence reflects you. Do you do a lot of photography? Then hang out on Instagram rather than Twitter, perhaps. Are you writing books that are more professional than fiction? Maybe LinkedIn is more your speed than Facebook. There are so many options out there that you need to evaluate which you think are most important.

To me I tend to focus on Facebook and Twitter. While I have an Instagram and post to it regularly I don’t view that as a large part of my platform. I also have LinkedIn which I use on a semi-regular basis for networking, but it isn’t my primary marketing channel. Of course, the change in Facebook’s policy regarding business may change how I use Facebook to some extent, but you will want to really consider what your plans and needs are and then use the channels that will best suit you.

Outside of social media marketing you have blogging which is something I strongly recommend for every author. Don’t tell me you don’t know what to write about – you are a writer. Find something. My blog is about writing and the craft (as you obviously know). Yours can be about whatever you want. Are you passionate about fantasy football? Write blogs about that. Are you passionate about gardening? Write about that! You aren’t limited to just writing about your writing. In fact you should talk more about other topics that will interest people than just your writing because you’re marketing to readers, not writers.

If you have your blog, author website, and social media squared away that will be a huge step in the right direction toward marketing your book. From there you can start talking to local radio stations, newspapers, bookstores, and arrange interviews and signings. You could even try to get on local access television (or bigger TV if you can!) to let people know about your book and what you do. That kind of thing, however, is another blog entirely.

These techniques should give you a strong basis to start marketing your book without losing your hair because your writing time is sacrosanct. But you can’t just use a ‘set it and forget it’ method of authorship if you want to make sales. You can do this, I promise. It’s not as hard or as scary as you think even if you’re an introvert like me.

Well? What are you waiting for? Share this post with folks, start writing posts of your own, and enjoy your New Year’s Eve!


Self Publishing Thoughts

I’ve been noticing a huge trend amonst authors these days: an interest and desire to self publish. It’s a double edged sword and the decision to self publish shouldn’t be made without some serious considerations. I think it’s a very valid way of doing things and would encourage it, but only if you have the time and money to do it properly.

Both traditional publishing and self publishing have merits; they also both have pitfalls. We’ll start by enumerating some of those benefits and drawbacks here so you can see them side by side. The pros and cons of traditional publishing assume a good, valid publisher that can effectively work for the author not a back alley publisher that wants your kidneys to sell on the black market.

Traditional Publishing Pros:

  • Should not cost the author money to edit, market, design, or print the book.
  • Should provide a large range of marketing possibilities for your book to get them into the hands of readers effectively.
  • Should be able to be trusted to provide high quality editorial feedback to make your book the best it possibly can be.
  • Should be able to access larger booksellers (depending on the publishing company).

Traditional Publishing Cons

  • The author makes drastically less money than they do when self publishing.
  • The author loses (usually) some or all rights to the book for the contracted amount of time.
  • The publisher has a fair amount of control in the editorial process which means you may have things you don’t want changed changed in order to meet their publication requirements.
  • Sometimes you just plain won’t get picked up by anyone. Sad, but true.

Self Publishing Pros

  • The author receives the full profits of producing their book.
  • The author has complete control over the contents, design, and marketing strategies used for their book.
  • The author does not need to wait for an agent or publisher to pick them up in order to publish their work.

Self Publishing Cons

  • Self publishing can be costly unless you learn to do the required typesetting, cover design, etc. yourself.
  • Self publishing authors frequently do not have access or understanding of some marketing strategies used to market books.
  • Self publishing authors who do NOT pay for the aforementioned services predominantly have books that do not appear professional which can seriously hurt sales.
  • Major bookstores will not typically pick up your book (you won’t see it in Barnes and Noble).
  • Unless you wish to pay a fair amount up front for printing costs from a printer (like Createspace) you will not be able to produce physical copies of the book for local bookstores (you can do PoD for sales, however).

Now, I know it looks like the self publishing cons are heavy (and they are) that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea if it’s something that’s really stuck in your head. However, going into it with eyes open is extremely important. The reality is if an author is dedicated to making their self published book a success they are going to need to invest money into it. Receiving professional editing is almost a must. I don’t say that because I am one; I say that because a professional editor gives your work the opportunity to be viewed in the most professional way possible.

With self publishing becoming a far more prevalent thing these days it’s extremely important to view the pros and cons before making a final decision. It’s not as simple as “the heck with Penguin books! Down with the man!” It has to be something you approach with an awareness that if you don’t invest appropriately in your work (whether financially or time to learn the skills so you can avoid spending the money) you will absolutely not see a return. Traditional publishing takes some of your freedoms and profit away in exchange for providing you the services that could easily cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars free of charge. They eat the costs of these services because they will be making a profit off of your work (theoretically).

Both sides of this coin are both valuable and important. However, it’s very much up to the author to make a choice about their work’s future. I can tell you this, though: you get what you pay for (or should, more on that in another blog). If you skimp and refuse to pay for necessary services (and don’t take the time to learn them properly yourself) you will wind up with your book making profits matching what you put into it: nothing.