Questions to Ask Yourself as You Market Yourself
You’ve published your book, and you’re ready to get out there and market. Now what? You’re ready to see those readers start coming in and you’re ready to start selling… but unfortunately, marketing as an indie author takes some work. It takes a clear plan.
That may seem like an overwhelming proposition. After all, you’re a writer, not a marketing executive. And few of us will ever become a Don Draper, even if we want to. But there are some things you can do to market yourself. Here are some places to start.
First Things First — It Pays to Plan
Why does planning your marketing matter? Why not just wing it — or pants it?
Well, for one thing… Even appearing on a nationally broadcast juggernaut like Oprah is no guarantee your books will sell out. It’s been said that one author who got that level of publicity had a fabulous Oprah appearance, only to sell just 150 books. Yikes!
But what does that tell you? It’s likely those viewers weren’t that author’s ideal readers. You’ve got to connect with the people who will love your book, and they’re out there somewhere. So what do you do to find them?
1. Define your Goals
What do you want to achieve for your book?
At first glance, the answer may seem obvious. But different authors can have different goals, and you may even have different goals for one book than for another you’ve written. So, before you move forward with marketing, get clear:
Do you want to meet a certain level of sales?
Do you want to kick off a new series successfully so the sequels sell too?
Do you want to use this book to get speaking engagements?
Do you want to see higher star reviews?
Are you just happy to have finished this particular book, and any sales are all icing on the cake?
2. Choose Your Favorite Social Channel and Work It
There are so many social media channels these days, and it seems like more are being added all the time. Even if all you do is write for a living, you probably can’t do all the social channels effectively. To pick the channels that are a fit for you, ask yourself:
Where do your typical readers spend their time? Think about both age and interests. YA readers are probably on Tiktok and Snapchat, while historical romance readers often skew older and may be on Facebook.
What do you like to do? If you love photos and videos, then it’s Instagram and Tiktok, or maybe YouTube. If you like talking, try Clubhouse.
3. Start with What You’re Good At
You may not be skilled at marketing (few of us are), but there’s something you’re an expert in. So, think about what you do that you can lean into in order to build your readership. Use what you’re good at to connect with your readers on a personal level.
Do you love historical research? Write articles for historical blogs, post cool historical facts you’ve discovered, and speak to historical groups.
Do you love reading steamy romance as much as writing it? Check out romance readers events in your region. You might be surprised how many of them there are.
Did you write a book about working out because you love the gym? Post exercise tips, workout ideas, etc.
4. Find Ways to Give Back
Connecting with your readers and your community at large can create the kind of good will that gets you far. After all, if people know you and like you, they’re more likely to support you, so go the extra mile to get involved.
Do you plan to sell your science fiction or fantasy book at a comic convention? Don’t just get a table. See where you can volunteer.
Want to speak to book clubs? Bring cookies, or swag items to give to everyone.
Have a book that’s great for older readers? See if you can volunteer to speak at active adult communities/
Selling at a romance readers event? Find out if you can sponsor reader gifts, or help with admin tasks.
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