I don’t think any author should have to pay to find out how to market their book. There are authors out there who guard what they consider secrets as though you may use their advice to sell the last book ever read. The truth is the more books that sell in our genres, the better the chance we have for selling our own. For this reason I think marketing should be an open discussion between writers.
I get asked a couple times a week for marketing advice. At first it shocked me, because I was floundering and am still trying to develop a marketing strategy. I don’t mind at all sharing what I’ve learned and I hope it helps.
These ideas are not new, patented, or earth shattering. You may use some and think others are a waste of time. The idea is to come up with a plan that works well for your books.
Before I go on, I want to clarify that except for a lucky few exceptions, most authors need to have several novels available to purchase before they will see a real jump in their numbers. Having said that, the most important thing you can do is WRITE!
Your first plan of action should be to identify your cross markets. For instance, The Keepers is a paranormal, YA/Adult crossover Romance. I never considered it spirituality/religious, but Amazon categorized it this way giving me another cross market. We know we should approach the young adult market, paranormal readers, and romance lovers, but who else? Well Jess in The Keepers deals with the death of her mother from breast cancer. This leads us to breast cancer patients and survivors and grief and recovery readers. Jess’ brother is alcoholic. This allows us to approach people who’ve dealt with this addiction. As you can see going through the themes and plots in your book will help you identify which cross markets you need to approach.
Good Reads/Manic Readers
If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for Good Reads and Manic Readers on their websites. Good reads of course offers you a place to put your books up and showcase your reviews. It also has a comment section under your books where you can post sales, contests, or other important news about your books. I’ve also found that the reviewers on this site are very responsive.
Manic Readers site is awesome. For free you get to create your own Author Page showing your books, links, an author bio, and for $5 a month you can post your contests and news. And they make it simple to request reviews from several bloggers/review sites. They also have a monthly newsletter and large fan base on Facebook and Twitter. So check that out for sure.
Tag your books
Both Amazon and All Romance have options at the bottom of your book info screen to tag your books with words and phrases which would show up in their search engines and recommend your book. I saw on All Romance that a lot of people don’t use this feature, but anywhere you can tag – you should. (For All Romance you have to sign on to the site to tag your books.)
Friends and Family
As we always say word of mouth is your best friend so use the people who are close to you to help you market. Send a text to all your friends and ask them to share your post. Don’t do it everyday, but if you do it once every couple of months they probably won’t mind and you will get some positive responses.
Contests and swag
Readers love to be included and interactive. I love to be included too! Even if you think no one is reading your blog, post contests. You’ll be surprised once words spreads how many people respond.
I have to admit I was terrified of twitter. If you haven’t started tweeting, do it now. There is a huge community of readers and writers on twitter and they don’t mind retweeting your sales, contests, etc. Don’t forget to post things about your life. Readers want to get to know you and you don’t want to be a spam-bot.
Budget for some cover ads, etc. as soon as you can.
Deep in the Heart of Romance, Book Boost, Kindle Blog – there are a ton of opportunities and some of them are pretty cheap keep an eye out.
Make friends with the author and reviewers on Facebook and Twitter.
Give the reader of your book info on the novel, but share something personal too. They want to know who you are! If there is a place for an author bio – use it!
One of the most important things to remember is people will always remember when you are nice to them. Excitement is contagious. If you are excited about your work, others will be too!
It may take sometime to build a marketing plan, but just keep at it and in time you will find what works and what doesn’t. Hope the information helps!