Marketing Your Self and Your Book
A client recently wrote me: I’ve finished my book and delivered it to the publisher. What should I be focusing on right now?
That’s a good question. At this point, a writer should be thinking about two things: marketing this book (building your platform), and beginning work on your next book, whether or not it’s contracted.
This is a time to step up your efforts to reach out to your audience—the people you hope will buy your book. This could mean:
Build up that blog. Make sure it’s focused, interesting, and appeals to your target audience. Read books and articles on how to build blog traffic. Here are some of my posts on blogging. Search the web for good articles on blogging effectively, and start incorporating the advice.
Effectively use Twitter and Facebook to build relationships with your readers, driving them to your blog and eventually to your book. It’s CRUCIAL that you learn to use these social networking tools effectively –being friendly and creating a presence that intrigues people, NOT simply trying to sell your blog and your book. Remember who your audience is and communicate with them.
Create a strategy for getting out and speaking. This isn’t crucial for everyone, but it can’t hurt, especially for non-fiction authors. Deciding what your goal is in terms of number of speaking engagements per year, given your job and family obligations. Figure out the types of groups you could speak to, what you’d speak on, and how you will sell yourself and your qualifications to groups needing speakers. Start by speaking to smaller groups, then grow to larger ones.
Network with local bookstores in your area, and if you’re writing Christian books, network with large churches too. Introduce yourself, letting them know about your upcoming book, and offering to do retreats/workshops or simply speak to audiences or do booksignings.
Consider creating leave-behind materials like bookmarks and/or postcards, so you have something to hand people before your books comes out.
Learn about e-newsletters – what makes a good one, how to create one, how to build a mailing list, etc. Be careful with newsletters, though. If the content isn’t stellar, people won’t read it and it will be a waste of time. Make a good decision about whether or not to try and build a newsletter.
Think about your overall branding – who do you want to be as a writer? This will help you plan your next books as well as target your audience.
Get some resources: See if your library has the book Get Known Before the Book Deal. or you can buy it on Amazon, it’s only about $12. You may find it to be overly basic, but it’s at least worth a look. Also, look for websites to bookmark and start reading regularly. One is Wildfire Marketing’s blog.
Talk to other writers. Ask your friends what resources they’ve found helpful. Ask what creative marketing ideas they have.
Consider taking a marketing seminar such as Kathi Lipp’s Marketing Bootcamp.
This list isn’t exhaustive—there are other things you might do to build your author platform. You’re going to need to consider all your options and begin to build yourself a strategy. Don’t go about it helter-skelter but make a plan. Know what your main marketing vehicles will be, and focus on those.
Most importantly: Create a plan that’s realistic for YOU, given your season of life and other obligations.
Meanwhile, continue studying the craft of writing. Commit to getting better with every book.
Q4U: What other good ideas do you have for filling that time between writing the book and its release?