Marketing your own book, whether traditionally or self-published is a necessary evil of being an author in the 21st century. For those of us who are most at home behind a computer, in our PJs, drinking coffee by the bucket load, this can be a mile outside our comfort zone, but if you look at your writing career as a business, and tackle the marketing of your books in small, bite size pieces, it doesn't have to be something that takes the fun out of publishing your story. Blogging is a great way to achieve the goal of getting your message out to people you can't personally share your story with.
Tip 1: Book Appeal
Unfortunately, some genres of books seem to be better received than others. Commercial fiction is always easier to market. If you are writing non-fiction, make sure you develop a strong reputation in the field you are writing in so that you can vouch for the integrity of the information, as well as using your credentials as a marketing tool in its own right. When blogging about your books, it must reflect current learning and development and be relevant to your target audience. For example, with books for children, your audience are the readers but your target market is the people who buy the books for them. You must appeal to both.
Tip 2: Networking via Blogging
No modern marketing tool can compete with collaborating with your fellow authors to help each other break through the white noise and give your book a personal recommendation. Constantly connect with your peers to keep you grounded in the current climate of the publishing industry, learn from their experiences and share your own knowledge for the greater good. This can be online or face to face, but never underestimate the marketing power of networking.
Tip 3: Attend Blogging Events
Whether you attend as a guest speaker or an audience member, attending book events is a great way to engage readers, expand your network and learn, learn, learn from those in the know. Although they can be quite expensive, they are a tax deduction and in most cases, if you volunteer, you can attend at a reduced price or for free. Work the ones that have the most intrinsic value to what you write and what level you are at with your writing into your business budget and plan ahead with babysitters/catching up with friends/ transport to make the experience as rewarding as possible.
Tip 4: Embrace Technology
We are the first generation of authors who have unlimited worldwide access to our readers via social media and blogging. Like it or not, you must have a website and an online presence. Get comfortable using the types of technology your readers and target market use, not only to be confident sharing your work to build your online platform, but also to make use of the tools that give an insight into analytics that will let you know which ways are connecting more efficiently than others, in order to cut down on spamming and focus on what works.
Tip 5: Find a balance
Not only do you need to find a balance between spending time blogging and spending time writing, you need to find a balance with what you are putting on your social platforms that gives your audience an opportunity to hear about your work without them getting sick to death of seeing your posts constantly plugging your books. There is a 30/70 rule that states 30% of the content should be marketing your book, 70% should be general content letting them know a little more about you, your likes and dislikes and giving them the opportunity to connect with you as a person. It's not called "social" media for nothing. Don't shout about your books, build a community of people who will support your success and shout about it for you.
As authors, we need to continually adapt our online marketing strategies to a dynamic publishing industry, not only if we want to stay viable as authors that large publishing companies would like to invest in, but so we can stay on our readers radars. Break it down into small steps and don't let it overwhelm you.
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