I’m a stay at home mom trying to make an income. I can practically come up with a story in my sleep and get a novel done in about 2-3 months. That’s not my issue. My issue is crippling social anxiety and ignorance. With their powers combined I am as good at marketing as a cat is at flying. Sure I have made a few swipes at it and have a minuscule following on patreon, but it’s not quite enough to say… leave my ex and support myself and my children. Any tips, tricks, links, anecdotes etc?
Focus on content first. Don’t worry about marketing until you have three books out and more in the pipeline.
Then focus on techniques that don’t require social media. You honestly do not have to be a social person.
First of all, producing a novel is something you should be cautious about. I mean no one wants to read a boring story. I understand that the Marketing strategy is difficult for you but, that doesn’t mean that you must leave your stories in the dark. Without critiques criticizing your stories, there’s no way you’ll know if it’s worth it, because once other people realize that your story is the bait they’ll want a taste of it constantly. And that’s where Marketing your story would not be an issue at all. Sometimes you have to take risks, as you can see Wattpad is one of the largest story sharing and writing platforms, which gives you the opportunity to introduce your stories to a wide audience. But just know that if you want the marketing process of your novel to shoot like stars it’s not an easy thing to do. My advice to you is to share your story, let as many people know about it, ask others to read it don’t be afraid because it’s people like them will buy your book. Make sure the content of your book is what readers would want, lets be honest it’s either you put yourself out there, or you stay alone reading your own stories. You can make it, but it takes courage and alot of effort, try something new, step out of your comfort zone and things are going to work out trust me. Don’t let your social anxiety get the best of you honey, your novel/novels can be hit the market just be brave enough to overcome your fear of downfalls in the marketing of your novel/novels.
I have four novels and a short story series already completed and just kind of need some more grammatical editing, with 2 other novels that need to be revised.
Have you thought much about social media? You can even start small with something like a twitter. A group of followers to announce new books to is nice for a burst of initial sales.
I have a twitter and even an author profile on facebook. I just don’t know how to get more followers/viewers/readers, and other than my eight regulars, it’s all family (and not the ‘I’ll tell my friends about your books’ or the ‘I’ll share your posts’ kind of family).
Social media is not for selling. Social media is social. You get followers by following people you’re interested in, by forwarding posts, by sharing interesting content, by being YOU. It’s not about numbers – it’s about connecting. How does this become a sales tool? People support their friends by buying their books.
I ditto XimeraGrey’s comment. Social media is about being social, not selling. Concentrate on the quality of your books. Make your branding consistent. Write a series. I’m similar in that I suck at putting myself out there, so I use ways of advertising that are comfortable for me. Remember it’s a journey and you just need to put one foot in front of the other
With writing, the selling factor is the book. Period. Like look at Twilight or 50 Shades. I know nothing about the authors other than their faces, and even that is blurry. I also haven’t read 50 shades and yet I know they have a sex scene in the elevator, and another one with ice cream. And all about how they met.
Ultimately, it’s all about the book and if people bother to even look at it, or share it to friends and family.
But, you can do things to help bolster it.
Prior to reading this post, I didn’t even know you exited. I didn’t know your books existed. But now I do!
People have to be aware that there is a story to buy. So that’s where having a social media platform is recommended, because you can tell everyone there about your book and it’s easy for fans to share your information.
Ultimately, however, it’s about getting your book out there, versus you.
A few things that help:
- Having a social media presence. This takes a lot of time to build.
- Getting YouTube reviewers to review your book. This has to wait until you have a published novel, however. And you will want to ensure that the grammar errors and character/world building are top notch before this, as their review will be honest. But, it’s free marketing
- Goodreads. Get on the community here and build some friends. When you publish, they’ll read and share your book if they like it.
- Getting Amazon reviews Maybe you incentivize fans to review the book.
- Wattpad can help build an audience. You can gain fans from this site to carry over to the published one. But remember, everyone here is expecting free stuff when they get here. You won’t have a complete transfer to the purchased product
- Publish a series You can make the first book .99 cents to get readers to be like “eh, screw it, why not” and if they’re hooked, they’ll buy the rest for 2.99. It also builds a fan base so when you release the 3rd/4th book you got people waiting to buy on it’s publication date
- Get your stuff edited/beta read Your books will go nowhere if they are not looked at by someone else.
- Try Trad publishing This can help with a lot of the marketing, but know they will expect you still market on your own. It is your book after all.
The best advice? If I had to prioritize? The more you are out there, the better. The more that people know you, the more networking that you have, the more your stuff is easily sharable via online mediums, the more people that get exposed to your book.
The best marketing tool is one absolutely beyond our control - readers telling friends and family to read a book. I never bothered to even look at Twilight in the bookstore when I was in high school, but all of my friends were reading it and passing it around. That is where you’ll get your marketing. But again, you have to get your story out there in the first place for people to spread.
To build on your social media:
This is a biggie and toughie
You need to give people a reason to follow you. Outside of your books. Unless you’re JK Rowling, people want to be updated on more than your works. That could be photography that is focused on books, book reviews, quotes, funny stuff, etc.
The more you interact and support other people, the more they will support you. Pick this one genuinely. I am terrible at faking being friends, so I pick people that I genuinely want to support. It turns into a real friendship and support network. Those are your strongest.
Also, understand this may take a year to build. Or even more. But you have to start now if you want to get anywhere.
You also have to be active. You don’t have to be daily/weekly active until you find a niche and want to build a huge following. It plateaus out and once you have a fanbase, you can back off on your schedule. But to casually build a platform? Get on social media at least once a day for 10-20 minutes just to scroll through and see everyone, then maybe once a week spend an hour or more creating content for the week to post. I turn social media into a part of my marketing so it doesn’t become a drag and turns more into a part of the job. It works well for me, so just find what works for you.
So a few things come to mind.
The fact that you have a lot of ideas and write quickly puts you in a great position. Content, especially early on, is usually what hampers most new authors, but it looks like you go that part beat, and that’s huge.
Don’t forget to polish your work and produce a quality product. Success comes from repeat readers (and people helping to spread the word through word of mouth). So you have to make sure you are producing something that is compelling.
I wouldn’t worry about marketing too much when you only have one book out. 3 is the magic number and you need to get to that many books released before you really have to do much on the promotion side of things (a different set of advice if you were traditionally published by the way). So spend 90% - 95% of your time writing the next book and with the 5% - 10% for marketing, work on getting reviews of your existing release through review copies (links below will help with that).
Goodreads is an essential place to be. If you don’t already have a Goodreads account, get one…right away. Again, some help in links below.
Set realistic expectations. Most authors don’t earn a full-time living from their writing (I do so it is possible but MOST authors pay the bills with day jobs). And it may take 5 - 10 books released to get any significant income. Best to focus on the journey and if money comes, great, but this isn’t a good profession to go into if you need cash.
These days (and maybe always) writing is only 1/2 of the equation. You have to get the word out about your book. The good news, is you don’t have to run around saying, “Buy my book, buy my book.” What you need to do is get the book in front of a few people, be a good and helpful online person, and keep putting out more books for people to devour. Again, some of the links I’m including will help with some of that.
- Author’s Guide to Self Promotion
- Do’s and Don’ts of Getting your Book Reviewed
- How to get your book reviewed
- An author’s guide to goodreads
- Marketing Resources for Book Promotion
I hope these will help.
That’s great. As I and others mentioned 3 is the magic number. Get those first 4 books polished and out and then you can start learning, and working toward the marketing end of things.
Very well said.
As far as I know, all the “famous” Booktubers only review traditional published books now (at least those ones I checked)
That’s against Amazon’s T&Cs. Any reviews that are incentivized are generally removed and you can even get your account banned.
In my experience, WP readers rarely amount to sales. Of my 96K+ followers, only about 0.01% bought my book
I have no books in any market, so most of my advice is from what I have heard. I learned and know about family and friends with Amazon and reviews, but I thought you could send out books with a “Love your support, if you want please feel free to leave a review. It would mean a lot to me. There is Amazon, Goodreads, etc.” and then just leave to them to follow through or not. Essentially give it to fans that you love so if they don’t review, at least your book wen to a good home. Tons of companies do that for YouTube reviewers, and I’ve heard a lot of authors recommend this. I will definitely have to read a lot of fine print in that regard down the line.
With the book reviews, you don’t have to hit just the famous ones Find one that needs support, that you genuinely like, and support them. There’s a chance they will support you too, and anything helps in marketing. It’s more about networking than anything. If they don’t review your book, at least you are still a genuine fan and continue to support them.
And yeah Wattpad fans don’t usually amount to sales, but it still doesn’t hurt. If your book is popular enough, and if they don’t buy it, maybe they will tell their family or friends about it.
Essentially in marketing it’s about any tiny inch you can gain. Eventually you will have built a mile.
You’ve already gotten some good advice, so this is what I want to add:
Look into Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and open an account. Do the same at Draft 2 Digital.
You can find an editor here, or in the “Yellow Pages” section of Kboards. I pay about a buck a page for editing/copy editing, but my manuscripts are pretty clean.
- Polish a short story first, post to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited for 90 days.
- Put the names of your other books in the back.
- Near the end, not the beginning, the END of that period, starting a day or so before the first of the month, make that story free for all five days.
- At the end of the period take the story out of KU and go wide with Draft 2 Digital.
If you do this every month or so you should have a bit of traction.
Get traditionally published. If you can’t get an agent, many small presses will accept unsolicited submissions. They’ll market the book for you.
Not really. Unless they invested in a big advance and expect huge sales, their marketing effort will be short-lived and minimal (generally focused solely on pre-launch). Marketing after launch is up to the author, no matter how you publish.
If a small press has a major distributor, it can put a book in physical bookstores and get it reviewed in the mainstream media, putting it ahead of 99% of self-published books. Even without a major distributor, some small presses generate sales by advertising their curated releases to a loyal customer base.
Does the author still need to do some footwork? Of course. But a publisher will open doors and remove some of the weight from your shoulders.
It will be in bookstores a few weeks or a few months unless it takes off (even if placed there by the Big 5). Those reviews are part of launch strategy. Even advertising to their own customer base will be limited. They’ll focus on the big sellers and the new releases each time. As soon as you launch, you’re old news unless your book sells big.
Post-launch work is up to the writer, no matter how you publish.