Writer’s Relief was kind enough to do a post of helpful tips for authors marketing their own work.
Marketing For Book Authors
By Writer’s Relief Staff
First, a big “Thank You” to Melanie Macek and Victoria Writer’s Guild for hosting Writer’s Relief for this guest post!
So you’ve finished writing your masterpiece, and your work is done, right? Wrong. If you want to be a successful author—meaning one whose writing actually sells—you need to actively market your book from the moment you put your pen down to the day you pick it up again at your book signing.
First, it’s important that you promote the unique appeal of your particular story. Whether you’re pitching your unpublished manuscript to literary agents or your published book to readers, you have to have a firm understanding of what makes your story worth reading.
Second, no matter how amazing your book is, customers can’t buy what they don’t know exists. It’s crucial to get the word out that your book is available.
Regardless of where you are in the publishing process, we can guide you in your marketing efforts with advice based on almost 20 years of experience in the publishing industry.
4 Marketing Tips For Book Authors:
- Write an incredible query letter. This tip is an obvious one for authors who plan to traditionally publish by first securing literary agent representation. But what if you’ve self-published your book and have no intention of querying literary agents? Writing a strong, catchy query letter is still great practice for selling your book to readers. At the core of every literary agent is a passionate reader. If you can pinpoint what makes your book special and write a convincing query that grabs an agent’s attention, then pulling in the everyday readers will be a piece of cake. Whether you’re using a query or not, you need to perfect an enticing story summary (similar to what you’d read on a book jacket) to convince the average book-buyer that he or she should purchase and invest time in reading your book.
- Have a website! In today’s digital age, it’s imperative that potential readers are able to find you online. Take it from Gabrielle Gantz, senior publicist at Picador. Not only does a website serve as a defined space for you to showcase your writing and control your image and branding, but it shows an interested agent or reader that you’re serious about your career. You may think that not having a website is a neutral stance on your part, but it actually tells people that you’re not aware that the publishing industry—and the world—are moving online. And that’s not the best message to send if you’re trying to market yourself as a current, savvy author.
- Establish social media profiles—and don’t “sell” anything. Too many authors create social media profiles solely to bombard people with sales pitches, which will only alienate potential fans. (Who wants to see “Buy my book here” every hour on their Twitter feed?) Instead of selling, you should be inviting. Update people about your writing life, recent books you’ve read, current events or images that relate to your book—even single profound sentences from the book. Then, every so often, throw in a tweet or a post linking out to where the book can be purchased. Offer people information they’re interested in, and you’ll establish a loyal fan following that won’t un-follow or un-link the second you mention your book is for sale. Plus, if you relate your messages to the topics, themes, setting, or characters in your book, you’ll generate a pent-up demand for your writing that will translate into actual sales when you finally do offer your book for purchase.
- Offer giveaways to your fans and followers. One of the best ways to build momentum for your book is to participate in giveaways. (Hint: First, complete steps one through three to ensure that you have a decent following and a central hub from which to host the giveaway.) Create a contest page on you website, and share the query blurb from Step 1 to let everyone know why your book is a must-read…and a must-win! Be sure to share the contest details on all of your social media pages. Since you’re offering a freebie rather than begging for sales, people will be much more likely to spread the word to their friends and followers. Make the rules of the giveaway simple enough that anyone can easily participate, and set a quick deadline so readers are urged to take action. By giving away just one copy (or a few copies) of your book (print or e-book), you’ll increase your potential audience, as many more people will be aware of the fact that you’re an author with a book for sale. Go one step further and offer a limited-time discount to non-winner participants, and your free giveaway is sure to make you a little money after all.
Becoming a successful author takes time, effort, and marketing know-how, but hopefully these tips will help you build your sales numbers faster and smarter. By establishing yourself as a thoughtful, legitimate resource of interesting information and great writing prowess, readers will be happy to buy your books and spread the word about the great new author they found!
If you’d like to read more of Writer’s Relief posts and tips, you can find them at the following links: