Friday, August 12, 2011

marketing for pre-published authors

Today, I'm going to talk a bit about author marketing, specifically marketing for pre-published authors. My writer friends and I have been having a debate about marketing. Is it worth it? What works? What doesn't work? I asked some successful authors about this last weekend: selling without selling. The overall consensus seems to be: it's very difficult to tell what marketing efforts sell books.

Nonetheless, as far as pre-published authors go, it has been highly recommended that we participate in social media including Facebook and Twitter. FYI- TweetDeck is supposed to be very helpful. It's also highly recommended we have an author website and a blog (these can be the same page.) In my opinion, you do need to buy your author name URL as soon as possible. I was too slow and didn't get the URL I wanted ==> hence my author name isn't what I wanted. :(

A helpful article from Hubspot is: 9 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn't Working.

Some other perhaps less obvious ideas: A GoodReads Author Page, and a tumblr account.

But you're saying "What a minute! I'm not published yet! What the heck am I supposed to be doing all this blogging and tweeting and whatevering about?" You communicate about what you're an expert at. Certainly, you know about writing and reading and trying to get published. You have favorite authors, and books. Talk about all of that. Also consider what's special and unique about your writing. For example, if your (prepublished) mystery series is set in a dairy-free bakery, you could communicate about dairy-free baking. :) Look at all of your work over the weeks, months, years: are there any common threads or themes or locations or insert-your-common-thing-here? Ta da! You are an expert on that, too. But note: your communicating should be about informing people, helping people, making connections, not about selling per se.
Whatever you decide to do, good luck with all this stuff.

I will be pursuing some new avenues here along with you and I'll let you know how it goes.

As far as published authors go, some people swear by in-person bookstore signings, some say they don't work. Some people say blog book tours are the way to go, some say no. I think this depends on how many followers the blogs in question have. Some people highly recommend some kind of interview and/or book trailer on YouTube, some say don't waste your money.

One potentially helpful site is Pitch Engine which faciliates things like press releases and promises "exceptional indexing in major search engines". I believe there's a free trial period and after that you must subscribe. (If you try it, let me know how it goes.)

I got a lot of ideas for this post from agent Rachelle Gardner's How To Market Your Book and links therein.

How about you? What have you tried? What worked or didn't? Do you have any good marketing ideas?

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