Many writers are wary of marketing their book; worried about annoying people, or coming across as rude. Others are confused by the process, and don’t know where to start. There are even writers who refuse to do any marketing, because they believe it to be evil in all of its forms.
I’ve been each of those writers myself, at one time or another. Somehow, marketing feels completely at odds with the creative act of writing a book. It feels like marketing it – thinking of the book as a product, thinking of yourself as a brand – somehow sullies it; turns it from a labour of love into something dirty, something to be hard sold to unwilling consumers.
A few years ago, I made the decision to complete a book marketing course, and it was the best decision I made. I was able to completely change my mindset. Because I learnt to market books properly without turning beloved readers into faceless customers.
But if you’re still uncomfortable with the concept, there are some ways to get your work out there that barely feel like marketing at all.
- Put yourself out there. Get yourself a presence online. Join social networks. Go to local literary festivals and conventions. Talk to people, make friends and connections. Just be your wonderful self.
- Start a conversation. Talk about what interests you, what you’re reading, the movies you like, music, fashion, gardening. Ask people questions, be interested in them. And when they ask what you do, tell them you’re an author. And when they ask what you’ve written, tell them. They’re asking because they’re already interested, there’s no need to hard sell.
- Club together. Submit your book to a group promotion. These are always happening, so find one for your genre (or a mixed genre promotion), and the platform you use (BookFunnel, Prolific Works, Kindle Unlimited, Amazon countdown deal, etc), and join in. There are lots of Facebook groups set up solely to organise group promos. When you promote the promo, you’re not saying “Buy my book! Buy my book!”, you’re simply saying “Hey, check out all these great books, why not grab a few?”
- Pay it forward. If you find it hard to push your own book, why not push someone else’s? Share other authors’ posts, and many will share yours too. Or reach out to them and organise a swap. Just bear in mind point No 2 above; don’t turn your social media page into a stream of book promos.
- Remember that you’re a reader too. Book marketing 101 is to know your ideal reader, and to be where they are. There are genre reading groups on the social networks. Join in. Chat about the books you love too. ALWAYS check the group’s rules on self promo before posting a link to your own book. Or, if you feel uncomfortable pushing your own work, just make friends, and tell them about your book when they ask.