MARKETING MAGIC: How to Be Everywhere at Once
by Marcia Fine
You’ve written your book — those pesky typos are at a minimum, your friends think it’s great and the cover is catchy. So how do you get others besides your family to purchase your narrative? The truth is there isn’t any magic. It’s all about consistent and persistent hard work. Writing is a lonely sport; marketing involves the world!
I write in two genres: historical fiction and satire. Sometimes I put both of them together. I am not a mystery writer; however, I appreciate how authors build suspense, throw around a few red herrings and keep me guessing. Whatever your genre, it requires you to speak up so your audience knows you have another book.
There are about 600,000 to a million books published every year. About half are published independently. Most sell about 250 copies.
So what’s an author to do?
Target your audience by choosing who your likely customers are and focus. I wrote a novel, THE BLIND EYE—A Sephardic Journey, about Spanish and Portuguese Jews being cast out of the Iberian coast. A narrow market, for sure, yet, many readers were curious about the topic. How did I find them? I spoke to groups. If your speaking skills aren’t up to par, join Toastmasters. Many organizations are looking for speakers who don’t charge and are knowledgeable on a subject. Whatever you’ve written, there was research involved. Promote that. Be sure to write out your own introduction to avoid someone describing what you do in a sentence. Promote from the beginning! Request to sell books at the end. Standing behind a table at a large event has never brought me many sales. Stand in front of the table, get people to sign up for your newsletter (Yes, you need one!)and publicize that you’re there.
Enter contests with a vengeance. Send out your book until it wins! Even an Honorable Mention counts. Once THE BLIND EYE was a recipient of a few prizes, it garnered some attention. You can write a press release to post on PR Web, use it for Facebook fodder and add it to your biography. Following the instructions for submission is part of the contest!
Attend conferences to network with other authors and meet the people who book the speakers for next year. Your name in a program adds credibility. Ask those you meet if they will write a book review for you. The more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, the better.
Social Media is a beast that needs to be fed often. Recently I started a new Facebook page, A Sephardic Journey, because my seventh novel will be released in 2017. HIDDEN ONES is about the Inquisition in Mexico during the 17th century. I’m building an audience by posting articles that relate to my subject matter by joining other groups in that arena. There are experts in this field and successful authors often hire someone to do that for them. My Twitter account is sparse, yet I know local authors who have thousands of followers. How did they get them? By following others.
Staging events is one of my specialties. Book stores are not always the best place to find customers. I’ve approached businesses who are interested in driving more traffic. They usually have a great mailing list and are willing to provide refreshments if you bring your contacts. I’ve appeared in art galleries, coffee houses, furniture stores, French restaurants (PARIS LAMB), community centers, clubhouses, coffee shops, places of worship, clothing boutiques and even a hair salon!
Writing articles is a great way to get noticed. Are there journals, newsletters or magazines that would like to hear from you? Ask! Local papers are always looking for content.
Book trailers seemed odd to me at first, until I saw a few. It’s a small investment (around $400)that will keep you going for years. Not only can you post them online, you can also attach them to all your correspondence. It’s a catchy way to garner attention.
Consider other mediums for your work like an ebook or an audio book, the fastest growing part of the publishing industry. Many of us enjoy a good story while we’re driving or working out.
The word branding makes us sound like we’re all cows. You are talented, creative and smart or you wouldn’t be an author. Hand out your business card wherever you go. Does it have the cover of your book on it? Promote yourself. As my mother would tell me when I just wanted to stay holed up in my room with a good book, go out and be seen. Participate. You never know. . .
Finally, brainstorm with friends for more ideas. Be motivated by sharing what you learned writing the book. The reality is: you are your own public relations firm! Let people know you are in the book business!
To watch Marcia's book trailers, visit her website: www.marciafine.com.