Self-published authors know that the biggest row to hoe ahead of them is marketing their book. The writing is hard, the editing is harder, but the marketing of that book is certainly the hardest of them all when it comes to this self-publishing journey. I know. I have been there. But I also have a few tips for you to maybe give you food for thought.
First, some people might just want to know what marketing your book MEANS. In my honest opinion, it’s just telling folks about your book. It’s getting the word out.
Secondly, some people want to know if it is a “have-to-do” item. YES! I mean a THOUSAND times yes. You must get out there and put that book in front of people. You cannot sit down and do nothing. Of course, when you DO sit down, you better be working the ropes.
So what does a writer do to market their book?
This list is not complete by any stretch, and is in no certain order other than what appeals to me. If you think of more things, please leave a comment.
The Top 5 Marketing Tips For Your Book
Get it on radio shows such as Blogtalk Radio, or a podcast such as Writer Groupie. There are a lot of podcasts out there these days/
Strategize your book launch to make it work for you. There are a LOT of book bloggers out there who do nothing but host book tours. And of course, social media plays a role.
Meet other writers and network. Never scoff at the role that going to writer’s cons plays. You never know who you will meet at a con, be it agent, editor, cover artist, or another writer. They can and oftentimes do send you off on a new leg of the writing journey, and can be great places to get marketing tips.
The old standby is, of course, social media. There has been so much said about this subject that I am a little tired of hearing about it. Suffice it to say, you should be on Facebook. Twitter, and Pinterest. ‘Nuff said.
Along with writer’s cons are live book signing events. These are such fun and really make you feel like a published author. There is nothing like meeting readers face-to-face and telling them about your book. You might even get a chance to speak there in the capacity of a writing authority (yes, like me!) and so there are great opportunities at live events to market your book.
And just because I just thought of it … the last thing I can say about marketing a book is the easiest for a writer to do.
WRITE THE NEXT BOOK
It cannot be said enough that readers are pretty voracious these days. If you want to make that first book sell, then write another one. And another and … well, you get the picture.
HELPFUL TIP: Please remember that this stuff takes time also, plan your book marketing strategy way in advance. Like months – weeks – but not days before your book comes out. The reason being most podcasts, book blogs, etc. are booked in advance.
To be fruitful as a writer, you have to read a lot of books. Today’s book industry is so definitive it creates certain expectations and if you don’t meet them, readers won’t buy. I am currently writing mysteries and I want to entertain my potential readers by giving them what they want in these types of books.
Some of my favorite mystery writers include Cleo Coyle, Anne George, and the fast-paced and fun Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. My own novel, Disk of Death, is more like Speed meets Shrek. Just kidding.
The things a reader might want in a mystery novel could be, a high-stakes plot, a great setting, and kick-ass characters. I love reading good fiction that takes me away from my norm. If you write a mystery that keeps me guessing all the way to the end, you will have me as a reader for life.
What are some other things you like in a book? What else keeps you turning pages? What do you like to read?
Writer Groupie will be back next Tuesday with an interview with Eliza Gale, interviewer of writers, artists, and actors. You don’t want to miss it!
So, you can’t quit your job just yet to pursue that writing career? You are just not ready to let go of that bit of security? Don’t worry, you are in good company. That’s why I am posting today. Well, aside from the fact that I am still hoarse!
You don’t have to quit your job to start writing books and making money from them. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can do so many things these days, and keep the job at the same time. If you discover after an attempt at writing books that it isn’t for you (and it’s not for everyone!) then you can easily stop and go back to your normal routine with little or no setbacks.
Over on my blog, Kim Smith, Author which you should read religiously, I share many of the same ideas. If you do your due diligence, make smart choices, and not get in a hurry – you will ultimately be much wealthier as an author. This is how I started selling books, all while I was still working 8 to 5.
Where To Find the Extra Time
You wake up early, go to work on time, and come home late. How the heck are you supposed to find time to write a book? If you’re single, maybe you can spare a couple hours each night to work on your manuscript, if your social life will wait. If you’re married or have children, finding even a glimmer of free time can be near unthinkable.
Five ways to find time
Notice Your Free Time.
Even though you work long days, you do have some free time. There are times like your morning drive. Use that podcase or voice recorder on your phone to dictate the book and type it in later. On your morning break, or your lunch break, on your afternoon break, or on your drive home, your time at the gym, and some of the free time you have at home (after the kids are in bed), you might find an extra 2 to 4 hours in there to write. TRY IT!
Compound your Activities.
We often don’t realize how to best use our time. Make use of those moments when you are not able to type a book out by listening to educational podcasts. There are a bunch out there. They will help you to understand how to publish and market once the book is done. That will motivate you to DO the writing. This is what I do as I work my job.
Stop Watching So Much Television.
If you stopped watching television, you’d free an extra 750 hours a year! Imagine what you could do in 750 hours. Now, I’m not saying you should quit watching T.V. forever, but you have to admit, you probably watch a lot of television. I did. I tried really hard to cut down and I stuck with just my few favorite shows (The Big Bang Theory, I admit). I used my extra time to read, learn, and do. That’s why I have about 11 things published.
DON’T Combine Your Day Job With Your Book Writing Life.
If the rules at your 9 to 5 job include: don’t use the Internet for anything non-business related, know that your book writing efforts do not count as a business related item. If you can use your breaks to surf the net at your leisure, go ahead and use that time to do some research or read some articles – but don’t use any supplies or print anything related to your writing. IT can and often does monitor the network and yes, the boss is watching, and you will get caught. It could cost you your job, or a least a lot of explanation and time. Just be smart and use your common sense.
DO Combine Your Day Job With Your Writing. Wait – what? Let me explain. What I mean here is to think about how writing a book can relate to your 9 to 5 job. Think about the things you do at work. Is there something that could be improved with your knowledge? Could you use your writing talents at your job?
I am sure there are a bunch of other things…but I am out of time. We will have a wonderful podcast guest next week!
Welcome to Writer Groupie Podcast! Also known as WGP.
This is a quick flyby episode done in text, as I am still sort of froggy-throated, so I am not recording yet.
I want to get more listeners for the podcast, though, so I am here to encourage you to share WGP with your friends.
If you love to read, and want to know more about the authors who wrote the books you love, this is the right podcast for you. Did you know that authors, especially popular ones, get paid to do speaking gigs? They do! And when they arrive on a podcast like WGP you are getting to hear them for free. Pretty sweet!
Now if you an author, or a writer who aspires to publish, this is the right podcast for you as well. WGP is filled with information and insider details you can use and you never have to leave the comfort of your treadmill, or easy chair to get it.
Speaking of easy chairs and treadmills,
WGP is available on iTunes
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and also on Youtube – and we love ratings and reviews- so please go out and rate and review this show. These items help us grow the show. We will appear in different sections of sites when we get lots of ratings and reviews so more people can find us.
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So, think of it this way–with the blog post here at www.writergroupie.net and the iTunes feed and the Youtube account, people get the content that they want in the way that they like to consume it. I try to feed it out to a variety of place as well, so if you are a Facebook fan, go to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/writergroupie and like our page. We also have a Twitter account @wrtrgroupie and we tweet up all of our guest and blog info.
If you like anything you see on the site, feel free to share it. We have a Google+ account, and you can also pin the shows and posts.
Well, I guess that’s about it for today, I will be back soon with another great guest. Until then, fan, follow, and like Writer Groupie Podcast and share us with your friends!
I hear quite often how a writer cannot quite come to grips with their story ideas.
“What do I write about?”
“How do I write it?”
“Is there a right or wrong way?”
If you have to ask what to write about, you haven’t fully examined the wealth of ideas abounding around you. If you have to ask how to write, you haven’t grasped all the information poured into your head during your school days. If you have to ask about a right or wrong way…well, you have listened to too many people telling you HOW TO DO it.
Stop listening to the voices in your life telling you how to write your story and start listening to the voices in your head telling you HOW TO WRITE THEIR STORY.
Here is an exercise you can try that may free up your writing muse and get you going on the page. No one can tell a story about your life or from your life like you can. And if you were as lucky as I was to have storytellers in your life then you already have a fertile field from which to pluck stuff. Ideas really do come up from the ground like dandelions.
Believe me, you know WAY more than you think you do.
write a story/use ideas that someone has told you.
Sit down, tap on the keys, or write in longhand something from your own existance. Did someone tell you about their grandfather stealing a horse? Write that scene from your grandfather’s perspective. Do you like the perspective of the horse’s owner? WRITE IT. Hey, remember Black Beauty? You could write it from the HORSE’S perspective!
What if your mother told you how she and your father met? Embellish it and make it into a romance. What about that time you were convinced someone was hiding behind your door, only to discover in the first light of dawn that it was your bathrobe hanging on the hook back there.
You see? Anything, ideawise, can spark a story. It’s up to you to write it. And for now, you have my permission to NOT write it by the “rules”. You can bury dialogue, use all the tags you want, and head-hop every which way but right.
Just get the story out. We will figure all the wherefores and whatalls at a later date.
I hope this helps someone out there find their courage. It helps me too!
Have you ever gone through a dry spell as a writer? Some call it writer’s block, and recently a friend of mine called it being “out of sync” – but whatever the name, we do sometimes hit the bottom of the proverbial barrel with our creativity.
This oftentimes is a good way to get started when we are just not in the mood. If we sit down and tool around the WIP, usually we will dive back in. Start out editing the last thing you wrote. Read what you have written out loud. It will give you the idea/feeling you had when last you wrote and start the idea treadmill. And it is OKAY to write something that we know that we will delete later. The idea is just to get STARTED.
Take a break
You cannot always follow that strict routine that you have been keeping. Sometimes our bodies undergo periods of rebellion. We need to stretch, eat, and sleep. If you have been writing thousands of words for days on end, you will burn out sometimes. It’s okay to take a break.
Here is a little list of things you can do to use that time away from writing creatively.
1. Play games. Board games, card games, or video games. The change in using your brain for a different problem-solving skill can help freshen the other side, that writing brain.
2. Read. It is a proven fact that when we read good books, books that we enjoy and value, we get inspired to write. Or maybe you get inspired from reading really badly written books? (grin) Either way, reading is good for dry spells.
3. Draw. There is a very good reason why the adult coloring books are so popular. We can release creativity in a new and fun way. And it gives us a chance to focus on something else and let our mind come up with new ideas.
4. Watch movies. This one usually always does it for me. Something about relaxing with a good meal, some popcorn, and a movie releases my tensed mind muscles and I can imagine again.
Once the ideas are flowing once again, you can pick back up and write like you always have. Resume that production schedule, fly across the plains on your writing horse.
Do you have other suggestions for breaking a block?
Do you like blogs? Do you like to follow them so that you get notices in your email when someone updates? Well, I have some information for you that you may find valuable. Blogs are a highly popular means of getting news you can use no matter what your preference of info.
I recently went out and checked out a ton of sites, just because I was curious.
They all had some form of “follow” feature.
Some were using Networked Blogs and so I signed up for it. It has been around for a long time, but wow, I really like it now.
Blogs have changed since 2010
I get an email in my box every day with headlines from sites that I follow. I have to tell you that I have learned a lot about writing headlines since joining this site. But that is another blog post for another day. Suffice it to say, you should have snappy eye-catching headlines for your blogs.
You can also go to the site which is set up in a dashboard sort of way so you can scroll through the sites listed and choose other blogs to follow. Easy set up, easy areas to click through.
There is a cool “save for later” feature also, whereby you can get that particular blog post to read at your leisure. Sometimes we just don’t want to read an involved post on our mobile device and want to read it later in front of the computer with a cup of coffee at our elbow. This site allows that also.
So, in conclusion, if you go to Networked Blogs to check it out, please find me – I am listed as Kim Smith, Author. There ya go, a great, informative, fun blog to follow! And I will be sure to follow back, so now YOU have followers!
Alternately, you are welcome to leave your blog addy in the comments below and I will check it out. But then again, so will every reader of this post!
There are two things that social media sites allow: one, interaction with others, two, publicity of anything you want to promote. This is not only a viable way for businesses (and especially writers) to get the word out about their products and services, but it is also the most popular way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if overused can become one. Too much promo can be like too much sugar in our diets, eventually corrupting things.
So, why is it when we go out there into the world of the Internet, we think we have to shout and tout our wares? Because mainstream media is the leader, and they do it ad nauseum. We naturally think that if big companies shove ads in our faces all the time, then that HAS to be the way to go, right?
Don’t believe me? Go and like a major brand of anything or anyone on Facebook. Take one of my favorites: Dr. Pepper. They have a tremendous following on FB. Over 12 million fans in 2012, and of course, still growing. How did they do that? Well, it wasn’t from sitting idle, I can tell you.
On an average, this brand posts once a day, but oftentimes twice. And what do they post about? Dr. Pepper. A few years ago they held a tuition giveaway for college students. This past Christmas they posted yummy recipes using … you got it…Dr. Pepper. I don’t think the winner has been announced yet. Their posts contain images of their products (they have many) and interesting tidbits that they want consumers to know about their products.
Sounds like a great way to promote? Well…not so fast. What if I liked their page because I like the diet drink? What if every blessed time I go to my newsfeed I get an advertisement for everything BUT the diet version? Um hm…starting to sound familiar? How do you build sales? Get an already interested party to buy OTHER things. Here we go–too much promo.
Because it doesn’t stop there.
A few days later, Facebook sends me ads in that same newsfeed that advertise Coke. And maybe, Pepsi, or Gatorade, or anything else they think I might want since I love soda so much. This is the problem with selling on social media. It becomes a way for that platform to sell to us, too. If I like Amazon’s page or books there, you can bet Barnes & Noble will have an ad in my feed. As well as, Nook, Books a Million, and anyone else advertising similar stuff.
So, what I believe we are doing wrong is selling on social media. It’s like living in a tiny one room apartment. You toss the magazine from the mail on the coffee table. Then you leave your coffee cup there. Followed by the bags from your lunch at McDonalds and viola! Your small space just became really ugly and cluttered. Ditto for our social media sites.
Think hard about your newsfeed on Twitter. How many people do you see selling something, or promoting something? I am amazed at how far I have to scroll to get to a tweet with shared info that I care about.
Too much promo!
So what do we do then?
How do we stop too much promo?
Remember, first, social media is a place to interact with others. It’s great to keep up with your sister in Maine, your brother who is a pirate re-enactor, and your various friends who live far away. It is a place to BE SOCIAL! Go out and friend people who are into what you are into and start intelligent conversations. Get others excited about the fact that YOU ARE A WRITER. A lot of folks are writer groupies like me. We love books. We want to talk about that process and all its spiderwebs.
And second, I didn’t say NEVER promote. I think that if you say once a week that you are promoting this thing or that, you are probably safe. Just don’t fill up your Twitter page with nothing but that. No more repetitive “Buy my book for .99 cents on Amazon” posts on Facebook.
Most importantly, use your time wisely. Write more books, and try to make more friends instead of selling, selling, selling. Believe me, if you will build relationships before you wrangle buyers, the sales will come. And wouldn’t you rather have buyers who really want to read your work instead of people who buy out of some high-pressure sales tactic?
One of the most common questions of authors who keep a blog has to be “how do I get TRAFFIC?”
Well, first I think you have to understand what getting traffic means.
First of all, getting traffic means having readers
Having readers means frequent posting
Frequent posting means having good content
Having good content means having good quality design in your posts
You get blog readers over time. It takes a while before people start seeking you out at your site. You should always send them to your site whenever possible. Posting frequently will give you plenty for the readers to find and read when they come to visit. Having good content will keep them on the site LONGER. And a nice appealing presentation (website) will make them want to come back time and time again.
And truthfully, that’s it in a nutshell. Unless you are one of those people who have a trickle and you want a flood.
What can I do to get MORE traffic?
You can do a few other things to insure that you get readers who will be the traffic of which you seek.
1. Visit other blogs and leave comments 2. Respond to commenters 3. Give things away. I know some of you are groaning, but there is a very good reason for this. 4. Be consistent, comfortable, and friendly. Readers are really wanting to connect with YOU not just your site, so make it easy for them.
That’s really a very small list, but a very important one. You have to be the person out there making friends and influencing people in order to build your site’s readership. And sometimes, I know, it’s hard.
So, why don’t you post up some of your ideas to bring traffic to your site and let’s have a discussion about it?
Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! This year would be a good time for you to re-evaluate your blog and your blogging life, and I am here to help.
Blogging is the only something that I can think of that helps us build our platform and define our brand as authors. Social media helps, but getting people to even read your post on FB or Twitter is really hard with all the other posts flying through their feeds.
But if they read your work, like what you have produced, the next stop (before or just after social media) is your website. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a blog they could read and be entertained?
So, here are my top five reasons why you should be blogging.
Five reasons for blogging
Blogging IS writing
It is. If you are a ritualistic word count fanatic as I am, you will be thrilled to note that you probably write a lot more when you blog than you realize. I normally get in 1000 words a week JUST from blogs. Having said that, I blog almost every day. Either here or at http://www.kimsmithauthor.com and so word count adds up like magic. If you are not only struggling with one blog (let alone two!) don’t worry.
It builds your writing ability
Since blogging is writing, then you get better at writing through blogging. A=B and B=C therefore A=C. Simple. As long as you do not do as I did and blog about everything and the kitchen sink on your blog. Keep it specific. KISS=keep it specific, silly. If your blog is about your writing, then keep it focused. If it is about losing weight, then keep it specific. No one wants to visit a writer’s site and see a bunch of stuff about weight loss. And food addicts don’t want to go to a lose weight quick site and see a blog about writing and the writing life. Now, if your book is about losing weight…well, just remember to keep a good focus in the right spot.
Blogging gives us support for what we do
I mean I love love love comments! When people comment on my blog it gives me the feeling that people really do listen. They really do care. They are really interested in what I do. Blogging gives us a little feeling of validity and prestige (especially when people respond to us!)
Blogging regularly, and well, will lend the appearance of pro status
Most authors do not believe in themselves. They have a deep feeling of “I’m a hack” nearly all the time. But when we blog, we present ourselves as authorities. Well, because when we blog we ARE an authority on that subject or we wouldn’t be blogging about it, right? Even NY agents have struck up relationships and built clientele through blogging. It really is a case of build it and they will come. It might take a little while, but it has happened.
Blogging is a benchmark
I really didn’t understand this until I started working on my end of the year posts. It allows us to go back and see what we have accomplished over the course of a year. We all need a yardstick to measure life by. Blogging really does do that.
OK, so I hope you are fully convinced on the matter of blogging. It is STILL a viable method of reaching an audience in 2016. It is even better for us personally because we all need some place to write and get our words out.