Back in June 2015, I was finishing up the proofreading for “Sole Survivor” which was both sad and relieving at the same time. At that point, I believed most of Patrick John “Stanley McShane” Rose’s quality manuscripts, paintings, and poems had been integrated into his posthumously published works.
Once released, of course, comes the hard part for any author—marketing and promotion. I wrote this article then as a small testament to what I’d learned the hard way in self-publishing his manuscripts and thought I’d refresh it now as it still appears relevant with a little updating.
While it seems that most of the hints and ideas I read were incorporated into my marketing plan, it’s always an uphill battle particularly for a debut author.
Start a Blog, Gather a Mail (subscriber) List
Does it really help to have a blog or is it just adding to the write pile? Be aware that keeping an active dynamic blog is a big job in itself.
The twitter thing–millions are using it to their advantage. It is commonly supposed to be a productive back alley into contacts and communications with interested, supportive persons. I have to admit that early on (back in 2015), I was getting new followers most every day. However, it takes a lot of work to keep it active or to accumulate a valid list of book buyers.
Book trailers–caveat here is to view hundreds of them to determine what represents a quality piece of professional work. Take a hard look at your submission as an amateurish book trailer is worse than none. I like this one by @Delia Owens author of Where the Crawdads Sing. Not exactly short, but sweet!
Run special sale promotions–announced through all your established social mediums from blog subscribers to Goodreads and Facebook friends. Unless you pay big bucks, don’t expect anyone to find your special sale.
Look for opportunities for book signings, craft fairs, or public events. Search for new book signing venues or related community events in which you may participate. Some mom and pop book stores look for opportunities to promote an author and their new book—especially if they’ll handle the local promo. Some of the larger bookstores do that as well; and yes, Barnes & Noble.
Learn how to use #hashtags and other appropriate tags or links in your communications, especially through twitter and Instagram.
Utilize pictures and quotes. Used to be that appropriate pictures were the good thing—now seems to be leaning heavily toward videos and those formats that support videos. But the point appears to be to keep the momentum of your name moving in front of your targeted audience.
Read, Read and Read
Read, read, read! Support and promote other authors, post reviews for them. Follow book-loving websites, author communities, get involved.
Used to be you could gain a few good buddy authors who would reciprocate reviews. However, Amazon appears to be cracking down on “friend” reviews. Still, you might glean glowing forewords and quotables from their reviews. Ask permission to quote and post those editorial reviews on your book listings. #Michael Reisig, author of the “Caribbean Gold“ series, did that for me in the form of a beautifully written Foreword for “Sole Survivor”.
Create #infographics–they are a proven interest draw. And yes, there is still interest in Pinterest, although it is a time sink.
Link your blog, twitter, and social accounts to appropriate websites such as Goodreads and LinkedIn. Write a detailed but succinct bio and ensure it is included on websites where you can post an author page.
Join like-minded author organizations or critique groups who are sharing content and offering valid suggestions. Check for an appropriate local #MeetUp, library groups, and/or find and join K-Board.
Gather a team of early readers, beta readers, and editors. It takes a village. More eyes on the script. Edit, then edit again and again. Having accepted books to review from debut and self-publishing authors, it’s obvious why there might be a stigma. Don’t publish your manuscript before it’s had a comprehensive correction, rework, rewrite, and clean-up by your team.
Where to Start?
What is possibly the number one lesson I learned about marketing? Start your marketing and promotion efforts long before you publish. Once thrown into billions of titles out there, your title is a mere drop in the ocean.
What do you think? Do you have additional suggestions to add to the list? Ideas for sources? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Start promoting that upcoming bestseller right now!
You only THOUGHT writing a book was the tough part–now the job really begins!
©2022 V Williams