June 10, 2016~I gave birth to a book recently. It may sound cliche or ridiculous, or both, but to me it was real. Every stage of writing the book, from conception to publication, I likened to when I had my own babies. I felt the rollercoaster of emotions: excitement, anxiety and the flat out exhaustion to point of wanting this literary pregnancy to be over with.
Finally, one fateful day, it was. My book was born into the world! Hooray! But what I didn’t expect while immersed in the gestation period of my book, was what would happen next: Parenthood. I now had to raise this “book baby.”
I think it’s every author’s dream that the moment their book is published, millions will automatically flock to it and buy it. That’s just not the case. Especially when you are new on the author scene, and an indie author at that!
I needed a game plan to self-promote and market, and I needed one fast. Suddenly, I was humbled. Like raising a first child, I had a LOT to learn. I immediately latched onto the mindset that this would be my “learning book.” This book was no longer about making money, it was about sales and exposure.
At first blush, one may think, “If you have lots of sells, then you’ll make lots of money.” Not necessarily the reality. However, I look at every promotional penny spent as an investment for my future books. If I can build up my exposure as an author with this book, then future books will have a much easier time of being promoted.
I figured this would not be a big deal, as I had decades of experience as a journalist, and a background in public relations/marketing. Boy was I humbled again. Books are tricky to market. If you don’t have the revenue to pay someone to promote your book, it’s all on you, and that takes a LOT of time and energy. It also takes creativity. So I got creative and I began to market with some of the most unique twists on classic marketing methods out there:
- BLOGGING-First, I started a blog right away. However, the tweak here is I had to begin to learn the algorithms for posting to social media. This may sound crazy, but if you want people to notice your posts on social media, timing is everything. Though I’m in the infancy stages of my social media campaign, I’m already seeing a huge increase of exposure.
- COLLABORATION-Second, “self-promotion” is not a time to be “self-centered.” Instead, it’s time to collaborate with others and cross-promote. I address this with invitations to guest bloggers to be featured on my site. I write mostly humor on topics such as travel, wine, food and family. Therefore, I try to invite people who are from those areas of interest to join me. Why? Because that’s what my followers like. I promote my guests and they promote me back, and in theory we expand the amount of exposure to our sites. (Which has a link to buy my book, of course)!
- RESUME WRITING-Currently, I’m creating a solid “One Sheet.” I never in my life thought I’d write a resume for a book, but I’m doing it. Luckily, I already have several reviews on the book, & because it’s well liked, (WHEW!), it helps build the resume. I’ll use the One Sheet as a marketing tool when I visit my local shops and Big Box stores, while I pitch them the wondrous opportunity of selling my book, not because I’m a local (and they should do that for me out of obligation), but because the book is worthy of being sold to their customers. (Simultaneously, I’ll attempt to have them host me for a book signing tour also. Double-dipping!)
- BOOK SIGNING TOUR-I’m also coordinating my own book signing tour. Talk about time consuming! But it is worth it to meet my new “fans” in person. Some things I am doing to be creative here, are working with venues that go along with what I write about. Lucky for me, I write a lot about wine and chocolate! This has me working on partnering with wineries, chocolate stores, etc. to set up my first tour dates. I’m also going to work on partnering with my favorite coffee shop that I frequent regularly, the salon where I get my hair done, and maybe the yogurt store next door (it gets loads of business on the weekends & is visited primarily by my target audience—definitely worth targeting).
- LITTLE FREE LIBRARY TREASURE HUNT-Finally, I’ve decided to create a big promotion for the month of July, to coincide with an article I wrote on Little Free Libraries. This will spur a “treasure hunt” promotion of sorts to get people to visit these Free Little Libraries, to look for my book (aka: the treasure), and take a photo of themselves with it. (I’ll post on my site). This boosts local exposure and is a more interesting story for the local news media to cover. Hopefully it works. Regardless, the point is I’m being creative, and that’s important, because “raising a book to adulthood” means thinking outside the box, & us indie authors need every edge we can get!
NOTE: This is a reprint. The original was published in Women Writers, Women(‘s) Books: http://booksbywomen.org/five-unique-ways-to-market-your-first-book/