My book has now been out for two months and the question I hear the most from my friends and family is, “How are sales going?” I answer truthfully that they’re going alright but I haven’t put the effort into marketing that I need to be so it’s not going as well as I would prefer. I’m embarrassed to admit my lack of effort but it’s true. I’m sure many of you can sympathize.
Once you’re done printing a book, an author is exhausted. You have put far more energy than you ever thought you had into writing, editing, choosing the printer, editing again, working with the cover and interior designer, and planning a book launch party. You are ready to just read a book, not market one.
As I always do, I also published the book right before Christmas so as soon as I returned the borrowed items for the launch party, I was off celebrating the holidays and choosing which gifts to give. It’s now the New Year and time to reevaluate and actually implement my marketing strategy.
Since many of you are already authors yourselves, I thought I would pass my ideas along to you and you can use the ones that seem most helpful to marketing your own book.
- Submit my book for printed reviews. I write articles for several publications that also publish book reviews. Having long-standing relationships with the editors, I’ve already talked about this with a few of them and one is even going to write the review herself. I need to follow up with her and talk with the others.
- Submit my book to blog writers. One writer I know wants to write a blog post on my book and include an interview with me in the article. I know of a few other people in the writing and publishing community who would also do that same.
- Regular publish on other blogs. In addition to writing articles for print journals, I also write regularly for a writer’s blog and am going to be writing for one on spirituality now my book is printed. This not only keeps my writing sharp, but also gets my name out there with links back to own website and online store.
- Finish filling out website content. Though I have the online store up and running along with some content, I want to add more, especially describing the topics I can speak on. Whenever I speak, I bring my books along with me and sell quite a few so having this information posted would be extremely helpful.
- Post weekly on my own blog. I’ve had a blog for years but haven’t posted much on it for the last three. What surprises me though is how many people come up to me to let me know that what I write means a great deal to them. Now that my energy isn’t focused on a book, I am going to try to post at least weekly to keep my ideas fresh, hone my writing and thinking skills, and honor my readers’ trust and kindness with new material.
- Carry my cards. I usually carry my new book with me wherever I go. It’s at least in the car or a copy is in my laptop bag. I also created new business cards and a bookmark featuring my new book and I need to be better about carrying them so I can hand them out when people ask about it but don’t want to buy it yet. I don’t want to be annoying about it but there have been many times I didn’t have them with me and wished I did.
- Plan another event. The best bookstore we have in my city hosts a monthly poetry night when a local poet gives a reading and hosts a discussion. I would love to do this and since it’s a monthly event, it would likely be better attended than a random night. As a book designer who has laid out several poetry books in addition to my own, I can also fill a need the attenders likely have.
- Attend open mike readings. There are several open mike readings around my area and I have rarely ever attended one. It would be fun to hear other people read their work and share my own. I have already connected with a few people who run them and have liked a page on Facebook that posts such events in our area.
- Reach out to friends. I have many friends around the world who I know would want to purchase my book but while I’ve worked on it, I haven’t been good about keeping in touch. To make it easier for everyone, I uploaded the book to Amazon both for the US and Europe. Whether by Facebook, phone calls, or in person, I need to reconnect with people, not only to sell my book, but knowing that could likely happen.
- Promote the ebook. This is the first book I published as an ebook and a print book at the same time but I haven’t promoted it or let people know it can be bought as an ebook. I know of at least one person who wants to buy it as an ebook and I need to send them the link.
- Post regularly on social media. I’ve written a lot about social media but haven’t been great about doing it myself. Granted, it’s been a busy time going straight from the book into the holidays but I need to be posting far more often. Whether it’s an applicable article I like, a blog post of mine, something funny, or a quote from the book, I need to keep my Facebook and Twitter accounts active and humming.
Some of this will take more active work than others such as posting on social media and others are simpler like making sure I have business cards with me all the time. Other things are simply a matter of keeping my eye open for opportunities and taking advantage of them when they come up in addition to searching out such opportunities myself.
Hopefully, by working on this list bit by bit and making sure I’m making time in my life to do it, by the time my friends and family ask about sales next year, I’ll be able to them that sales are going extremely well.