Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Author's Biggest Asset?

So ... I received an email from my editor yesterday asking me for ideas to market my new book—Murder at Honeychurch Hall—that is not due out until May 2014. My husband's reaction was comical. "They're asking you? Don't they have a marketing department for that?"

Well, yes they do but unfortunately the bulk of all the marketing and publicity now falls heavily on the author's shoulders—unless you are a super successful author of course.

It's rather nice to be asked but at the same time, I know for a fact that the financial aspect will fall on my shoulders as well—unless you are a super successful author of course.  (I know I already said that.)

I've been wracking my brains for marketing ideas ranging from "vlogging" (that's video-blogging if you are not camera shy) to contests with fabulous prizes.

The advantage of the Internet is that it is easy to get one's name out there and promote your book. The snag is that a gazillion other people are doing the same thing—and not just Facebook and Twitter.

There are an overwhelming number of resources available. Here are just a few: GoodReads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Digg.com, Scribd, HARO, Wattpad, Open Salon, Blog Carnival ... are you exhausted yet? And all these things take time to set up and keep up when I would much rather be writing.

Does anyone read them? How can we tell? Does it sell more books? Who knows!

However there is one outlet that you can have some control over. Your mailing list.

It truly is your biggest asset. Blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans and so on are all great but they will never replace your mailing list. Social media will come and go. Facebook really does have a shelf-life—remember MySpace? Additionally, Twitter and Facebook feeds can zip by so fast that often they're not even seen. Plus ... you are  competing with pictures of pet rabbits, newborn babies, holiday snaps and funny jokes.

If you write and embed a newsletter in an email and make it entertaining, hopefully, it will be greeted as a welcome distraction. Maybe it might include the first chapter of your new book. You get the idea. The golden rule is to keep your content 80% entertaining and 20% promotional. No one likes a show off and it's not supposed to be a weekly or monthly brag!

Of course emailing lists are abused all the time and it's best to use a known software program like Mail Chimp (which I talked about last time—and no, I don't own shares in Mail Chimp). Mail Chimp offers an easy way to opt-in from your website and on Facebook. It also has a painless unsubscribe feature (which is a mandatory condition for mass emailing).

So having said all that ... would anyone like to be put on my mailing list? And of course any brilliant marketing ideas are gratefully received. I promise to make it worth your while.

4 comments:

John R. Corrigan / K.A. Delaney said...

Wow. You're giving me lots to think about -- and showing me how little I know about what's out there.

Thanks!

Hannah Dennison said...

Honestly ... I am just picking it up myself - and it is so overwhelming!

Charlotte Hinger said...

I'm trying to put various ideas together into a cohesive unified plan that encompasses conferences, social media, and personal appearances. What I want is a SEQUENCE!

The problem is trying to get the next book written at the same time.

Rick Blechta said...

It's pretty pathetic when publishers ask their authors how to promote their book. It makes sense to ask if they have any particular outlet, reviewers, magazines and such with which they have personal contact, but when they ask for help past that, it certainly makes you wonder.

We're supposed to be experts on fiction writing. They seem to expect us to be promotional experts, too. If you're not, then you're going to run into trouble.

And it is more than a little unfair.