I am pleased to welcome August’s Guest Blogger, Megan S. Johnston. This month’s offering is on Marketing Your Novel and it comes from an exciting new self-published author. I first came across Megan on Twitter and I have followed her the last few months, interested in her blog and her writing style. Her book, Transition (The Chrimea Hunter Series), is the first of six in a planned series and debuted May 2012. In addition to writing young adult fiction, she is an avid reader of paranormal romances. You would never know to look at her photo but she is also mother of four with seven grandchildren. I’d say this helps to keep her pulse on the young adult genre. Megan also has a large Twitter and Goodreads following so she speaks with an Indie’s voice of authority. On a personal level, Megan is also warm and open, happily married and living in Washington State with her dogs. I highly recommend her to you.
Marketing Secrets for Authors (Indie or Traditional)
When I first started writing I had no idea what was in store for me. At the time, I thought the writing and publishing would be the hardest, but I had a lot to learn. Marketing is by far the most time consuming of the three. I discovered that selling and marketing books is a completely different process to writing and publishing them.
Whether you get a publishing deal or you are a self-published (indie author), the reality is you have to market, market, market. It is fortunate that in today’s world most of us have computers, which allows us to market globally. All it takes is a little time and a lot of effort and the cost to you is minimal.
If you are a first time author, don’t wait until your novel is finished! You need to brand yourself as you now, because you are selling yourself as an author. Readers need to place your name with the type of novels you write. And remember; don’t leave it in the hands of your publishers or other professionals. Take a chance, and do it yourself.
You need to build an author platform before your novel comes out. You ask, what is an author platform?
Well, it is how you reach your reading/book buying audience. If you already have your name out there, you already have an in, and a platform. So you would more than likely not have a problem getting a book deal. But, if you don’t, then you need to start building one now. It is never too late, but sooner is always better.
Most of us have friends and family and an email, this is the first step in building your platform. Do you have an existing business with clients and customers who will perhaps buy your book? Make sure to include them in your email blasts. Be sure to include community groups where you participate, too. Remember, no spamming, so be sure to identify yourself up front and thank them for their support.
Here are some of the social media/networking sites that are a must when you start building your platform.
- Make sure you have a blog. You can get one for FREE on WordPress.com and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Blog often. Visit other blogs with similar interests and comment. Earn a following.
- If you already have a Facebook page, which most of us do these days; create a fan page just for your writing. Facebook takes you through the process, step by step. Your author page is separate from your personal page and you can keep one for updates about new releases, signings, professional news, etc. The person page allows you to branch out and share more of yourself like family photos or fun trips.
- Start building a twitter page and a following; you can tweet on your progress as you complete your novel. By the time you are finished, your followers will be excited about reading your novel. You can set up your twitter page to put out several tweets a day. But remember; don’t just tweet about your book. It’s all about connecting with other people, so tweet about what’s happening in your daily life as well. If you already have a twitter following then you can convert them into book buying fans.
- Join Goodreads.com, this is a fantastic way to connect with other authors and readers in your genre. Join in on the discussions in the genre you write in. Prior to your book release, do a few freebees on Goodreads, get the readers in your genre to give you reviews for a free .pdf version of your novel. Ask the readers to give you reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Nobel and Smashwords, this will help sell your novel. The more reviews, the more sales you will see when your novel finally hits the internet. You can also do blog tours prior to your release, and it won’t cost you a penny, just your time. And, make sure you host other authors on your blog as well; they will appreciate it and most will return the favor.
- Other sites such as Pinterest.com, Google+ and Smashwords are other social media sites you can check into. Remember that publicity is sometimes just about keeping your name out there, even if it is with a simple tweet, a photo, a review of someone else’s book. Say visible.
- Then there is podcasting which is creating audio and distributing it via an RSS feed so people can subscribe. You can podcast your own novel, or use an interview format.
Some great reasons why you should podcast are:
It’s a wonderful way to have your work out in the public eye. Readers can now listen to your work instead of reading it. And, you can connect with other authors who also podcast their work. Audio has taken a step into a new dimension and is a great way to communicate with your readers and other authors. They can listen to your work as they drive to work, on the bus, working out or just relaxing in the sun. You can reach more readers if you decide to do a podcast. Most of all, it’s fun!
What authors want most is to sell their books, whether they are a traditional or a self-published author. Publishers want to sell books too, so having a good platform is very important to them. Some authors get book deals from building a good platform.
The best part is, you can do all of this for FREE! So start building today.
If you don’t have any of these sites going right now, don’t stress, it takes time to build your platform. But in the end, it’s worth it.
I know it’s a lot to take in, but you have to start somewhere! So if you haven’t already, start your blog today. It’s the first step into becoming an accomplished, well-known author.
I wish each of you much success and look forward to hearing your marketing strategies.
Yours Between the Lines,
Megan S. Johnston
Megan’s books are available through AuthorHouse, Amazon and other online retailers.