Writers tend to be introverted. This isn’t true of everyone, of course, but it seems to hold for the majority. And why wouldn’t it? Being a writer means spending many hours alone, wrestling through the next plot point. If solitude drains your energy, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain focus on your story. But self-publishing novelists can hit a bump in the road once the novel is finally finished and is well on its way to reaching its final form. Because for weeks leading up to the book’s release and months afterward, they’re forced to navigate the world of marketing. And marketers tend to be extroverted. So what’s a writer to do when it’s finally time to release the book? If you’re lucky enough to have the money for it, you could consider hiring someone to do a lot of the work for you, but you don’t want to miss out on free marketing that can result from relationships and social media. Here are our tips on basic organic marketing:
1. Use your professional relationships to help you market your book
You know all those professionals that you paid to help you craft the best version of your book? Some of them probably have blogs. They definitely have a social media presence. Develop good relationships with your editors, cover artists, and typesetters, and ask if they can help promote you. Chances are that they’re as eager for the promotion as you are. At Quill Pen we love to promote our clients because we love our writers and believe in the books we edit, but we also recognize that it’s a good business move. When we help our clients hit bestseller lists, we get more than bragging rights—that’s marketing gold for us. So if your editor or cover artist has a blog or a Twitter, don’t be afraid to ask if you can get a plug around release day—it’s in their best interest to do so.
Scratch other writer’s backs. While there are some horror story-worthy bad writers out there (check out this plagiarist that tried to sabotage the author she stole from—my jaw literally dropped), on the whole the writing community is a very supportive environment. While, to a certain extent, writers compete for market share, it’s not a zero-sum game, and cooperation can get you a long way (plus it’s just a nicer way to live). Plug another writer on your Facebook newsfeed or offer someone a chance to guest post on your blog. It’s not about getting something of equal or greater value in return; it’s about developing good relationships. You’ll make some great friendships, establish a good reputation, and (probably) gain some free publicity.
2. Take advantage of social media
Use social media channels that you’re already involved with. Do you have a Facebook and a Twitter? Perfect! Get your friends and followers involved. You might consider setting up a public page if you haven’t already, especially if you prefer to keep your personal Facebook separate from your professional one. Social media has become so influential that someone is now far more likely to buy your book if a friend recommends it on Facebook than if they see an ad for it. Build up a good community around your brand. Giveaways and contests can be a particularly effective way to mobilize people. We all like getting free things!
3. Get your novel into the hands of book bloggers
If you can get a book blogger with a substantial following to review your book, you stand to gain a number of readers. Offer advanced copies to book bloggers, and make sure to send them a thank you after they’ve posted the review. Look for bloggers that only review books they would rate 3 stars or higher—many bloggers will simply refrain from posting a review of a book if they believe it deserves one or two stars. You don’t want to end up with a terrible review from a respected blogger.
4. Mobilize your launch team.
Get a network of your family, friends, and fans together to help you. When people who believe in you and your book come together, they can get a lot done. Ask them to request copies of your book at the local library, post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, plug it on social media, and, of course, pre-order it. The more hype you can build in the days leading up to your book release, the more you’ll be able to use these types of organic marketing tools effectively.
What’s your favorite way to market your book? Join the conversation here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Check back next Monday for our next post—we’re taking Thanksgiving off to spend with family! Enjoy the pumpkin pie!