It’s true that with so many books to promote, publishers focus their efforts on a few key titles each season even as they do basic marketing for the others. Luckily, there’s plenty that authors can do to self-market. I dedicate 33 pages to self-marketing alone in my Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies (final revisions of which go to my publisher today; do you smell a DearEditor.com “celebration free edit giveaway” in the air?). Alas, authors can’t do it all any more than publishers can. So copy their model with your efforts: Focus on three key marketing items for your self-marketing campaign. You can grow from there later. Your three choices will depend on your particular expertise, time, resources, and goals. What’s your best medium—blogging, podcasting, appearances, social media? What are you promoting—you the Expert on Something, your book, a specific aspect of your book’s topic, your genre or literacy in general? What can you give people to earn their attention and make them spread the word for you—free books, free information, free bonus material or study guide downloads, free exposure for their books in exchange for exposure of yours? You must strategize all of this before you take any specific action or create specific materials because catch as catch can is not an effective marketing campaign. Above all, stop thinking of yourself as an Author Who Wants to Help; appoint yourself Self-Marketing Manager and drive a focused, efficient, and effective campaign that’s tailored to your strengths and abilities.
Offer free Skype visits. I do and it sells books. Plus it puts a face with your book title so kids can connect you with their favorite book.
Before my novel Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys was published, I started a FB page for the book. I got a Flip camera and took short videos of anything that was ‘Cute as a Cupcake’, or ‘Scarier Than a Dead Guy’. I made them funny as the book is funny.
After the book was published I contacted about 400 bakery related sites, let them know about the book and linked to it.
There are so many easy things you can do. Out of 800,000 books in the Kindle store, Cupcakes book has ranked between #900 and #2000 for several months now. (Decent for a debut novel pubbed by an Indie Press.)
I’d probably buy Dear Editor’s new book if I were you, Mimi!
Fabulous example of how every author tailors their marketing efforts, Pamela. Those are perfect actions for your particular book, and you applied your flip camera comfort/expertise in a creative and effective way. And YAY for the return on your efforts! Congrats.
Thanks, Dear Editor! Best,
Thanks for the hints here – looking forward to getting more info from your book when it’s available!
Suddenly I’m craving a cupcake! And I’m curious about the dead guy! My co-authors and I have been doing a lot of school visits, books signings & other events to promote our Monster Moon mystery series. This has been working on a local level, but we’d like to reach more kids. Skyping would be a great way of doing this, and fun, too! And I like the flip camera idea and linking all of those cupcake places. Smart marketing. I just started my blog about a week ago, so learning the ropes. Thanks for sharing your ideas! And I can hardly wait for your “Writing Young Adult Fiction” book Deborah!
Thanks for dropping by my blog! Congratulations on the upcoming book! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. It sounds like a very useful book, particularly for YA writers like myself. I hope you come up with Writing MG for dummies soon!
Thanks, Nutschell. I enjoyed your blog. Don’t worry, MG is covered in Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, too. By choosing “Young Adult Fiction” for the title, my publisher is using the term as the world at large does–as a comprehensive label for the two distinct publishing categories that those within the industry (like yourself) specifically refer to as “MG” and “YA”/”teen fiction.” All the craft, submission, and marketing information in the book work for both MG and YA fiction because the storytelling techniques are essentially the same and the same publishing players handle both categories.
I like all the ideas on how to take charge. Key point is to plan before you execute. It’ll save you time/money and be more productive. All of which means more book sales. And lastly, way to go Mimi on publishing your book!
We have started a website to promote our books, but we also have book lists where other authors’ books are included. It’s just a small listing, but it’s free! http://findagoodbooktoread.yolasite.com/about-us.php
Thanks for sharing this, Wodke. Good luck with your site.