One of the things I’m asked about the most is, how to market.
Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a marketing expert. In fact, I feel pretty clueless about the whole thing. But this was the top thing I was asked to talk about on my blog so I wanted to discuss it. I’m going to go over things that have and haven’t worked for me—but keep in mind, something that worked for me might not work for you and something that didn’t might be your holy grail. My biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to experiment.
Okay…let’s just jump right in.
(P.S. I didn’t edit this so don’t judge me. It’s my blog so it’s supposed to be raw, right? RIGHT?!)
I think the biggest thing you need to do with marketing is remain genuine and true to yourself. I know that probably sounds crazy, but I’m serious. The person you portray on Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, and wherever else you post needs to be YOU. People want genuine. Don’t be afraid to be silly or weird. People like that, trust me, but if you’re not that way then don’t act that way. People will be able to see through you if you’re faking it and that’s not good. Always be yourself.
Pick your platform and build it. If you prefer facebook over twitter, then use that (but hook your Facebook to Twitter so you’re still posting there. That’s what I do). Same if you prefer Instagram or Snapchat. Pick one thing and give it all your attention so that way you’re always active and people see you. If you hate facebook and never want to use it that’s fine just use SOMETHING. I personally use Facebook the most—particularly my group since posts on my page are no longer seen very much. I used to use my blog as my #1 thing and honestly, I think I might go back to that…or at least Facebook won’t be my #1 anymore. It’s not working so I’m going to find a new platform.
Which leads into…
If it’s not working, move on. If you post non-stop on Facebook and NOBODY is seeing you (story of my life) then try Instagram or something. When something isn’t working you can’t force it to work. So it’s better to cut your losses and move on. Social Media is always changing and you have to adapt with it.
Also, once you pick your platform, make sure you post, post, POST. Don’t feel like you’re being annoying. I’m not saying you need to post the same thing every five minutes, but just remain active. You can’t sell a book if people can’t see you. I’ve always made the mistake in the past of feeling like I’m annoying and then not posting about my book—said book ALWAYS then flops. But if I really promote one actively for 2+ weeks then it usually sells really well and the minute I stop talking about it then the sales start dropping. I’ve noticed this happen with several books so I definitely feel like posting sells books.
Don’t be afraid to try different things. Reach out to other authors, bloggers, etc, BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. I get asked a lot “How did you get <insert author name> to share about your book?” Um….I built a relationship with them. I talk to lots of authors and share their stuff when I see it. I SUPPORT my fellow authors. Now, I’m not saying you need to share and talk to every single author—nobody has time for that—but pick a couple that you genuinely like their books and comment on their posts, message them about liking their books, share stuff, etc. After a while you notice frequent liker’s and commenters so interacting really can help you. Messaging people and being like “Want to read my book?” isn’t the way to go about it. Make friends. Don’t be shy—author’s don’t bite. Usually. 😉
With facebook you have the ability to boost posts or make ads. I’ve never made an ad before but I do frequently boost posts if it’s something I really want people to see (like a cover reveal, blurb reveal, release, etc) This isn’t something I do often, because I honestly don’t feel it usually helps me that much because Facebook always seems to show it to the wrong market. Basically, I feel like they steal money and don’t do what I ask them to do when I boost something. Yes, I do still do it, but it’s a rare thing.
With my release When Stars Collide, that was the first time I ever did promotions with companies. Some were free and some were paid (price varied). Most of these went out in newsletters directed at the genre of my book. I can say with 100% certainty that this was worth it. I more than saw a return in the money I spent and got a lot of new readers. I’m planning on doing this again with my next release. Examples of websites I used would be: Bookbub & Bargain Booksy but there are much more. (I don’t think these were either of the two I actually used, because I honestly can’t remember, haha)
VIDEOS! I know most people hate being on camera, but guess what, reader’s love it. They love seeing you and knowing you’re real and they’re not being catfished. Facebook Live videos are also a great thing because it’s raw and real and live (obviously) so anything can happen. I hated doing videos early on, but it’s really not that bad and live videos are a great way to get to know your readers.
The most important thing to remember with marketing is that it’s ALWAYS changing. What works for one release won’t work for another. Don’t be afraid to mix things up.