As writers, we do not lack creativity.
We’ve lived in our imaginations and worlds of words all of our lives.
But marketing takes a very different brain “muscle” to be exercised.
Creativity, lucky for us, is also one of the greatest aspects of marketing. It requires taking everyday, run-of-the-mill thinking and ratcheting the connections to seemingly disparate subjects and events to tie them together; creating a brand new opportunity to spread the word about a product. In our case, that product is our book. Our baby that we’ve worked so hard on for so long.
Who wouldn’t want to spread the word or shout it from the highest mountain-tops? Okay, maybe rock climbing shouldn’t be added to the list, but here are twenty suggestions, some you might have heard before and some that hopefully get you thinking along new lines.
Without further ado…
1. Get into a group (see World Literture Cafe) that tweets out things about your book
2. Put pictures of your book up on all social sites, yes, even Pinterest. Remember, you want to be everywhere. This is what the publishers do for major books, you can’t open a paper-or an app these days and not see the new book on the release date.
3.Go into Amazon’s Author Central and put in reviews, tweak your page, remember my advice about professional tweets at this time as they will show up on your author pages.
4.Whether you have set up a Google Page or a Facebook fan page, visit these at least three times a day for your launch period to add reviews, blurbs from reviews and to interact with anyone who visits.
5.Throw a Twitter Party with relevant Twitter followers. I have not seen this done for book launches, but I think if you use some creativity and find a reason, for instance, a contest winner or a discussion of current events in the area of digital publications, you might just start a trend. Remember to set up a visual invitation and –yes, you know what I’m going to say now– put your book cover art on it alone with the relevant words. You can see how to do this in this excellent pdf: http://www.mytravelresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Tips-for-Growing-Your-Traffic-on-Twitter.pdf
6.Set up an Evernote Account: If you don’t have Evernote on your computer, I suggest downloading it now and setting up a Book Marketing folder. There is a tool in Evernote that allows you to put in a check box for what you have accomplished and for what still needs to get done. You can get onto your Evernote account with your username and password through the interwebs say, at work or through your web browser on your phone; however, it is easier to download the Evernote app on your phone. There is a free and paid version but the free version gives you a great deal of memory and a usage dial for the month. Start an account now. It is always best to keep everything in one place. You can save articles with the Evernote clipper and easily refer back to them with the appropriate tags for each note in your folders. I recommend this over any note app or reminder app as this is an all-in-one tool for you. You can also set up IFFT recipes for your Gmail account. See the “trunk” in Evernote for setting up these recipes.
7.Keep a list of anyone who has helped you from the research to publication. There will be basically two categories: those whom you want to thank in a personal way and those who you will add to the cover-pages of your book as special mentions and thankyous. You can run over this list every few days; do this at night when you should be sleeping but won’t have time to sleep. (We’re all grown up; let’s be realistic about this.)
8.This ties into “spreading the word” which you will note is a theme here. Ask these people if they wouldn’t mind helping you spread the word. People who have helped you before are more likely to be happy to help you out again. It’s a proven fact (cognitive dissonance; remember my background ;). So don’t be the shy writer that we all are when we are tuned into our creative selves. Put your business clothes on while doing this if you have to (in the extreme cases-it does help) or just put your game face on. You can do it. And no one is going to buy your books if they don’t know they exist.
9.Run a contest on your blog look at other author pages and see what they did for their contests to get your creative juices flowing. Much of contests are basically additional marketing opportunities. If someone has bought your book (don’t require them to, that’s against the law) then have them take a picture of it (or on their reader with the cover showing).
10.You can also put a signature on appropriate emails, put a picture of your book and a blurb from a reviewer at the bottom of emails if you have Gmail. In marketing terms taken from a war term, you will carpet-bomb the web. Not in a spammy way, but if you want to get noticed and sell books you now have to think like a marketer. Not a writer.
You can do the above in the settings feature of Gmail. Just choose to upload a picture from your file folders in the signature settings and you are good to go. Don’t forget the blurb. Add your link to Amazon and all of the distributors you have set up.
11.Run a GoodReads Contest. You will need a PoD vender to print a book if you only published via e-book. But it is worth the cost for reviewers. Please see the “note of caution” in this post. If you chose not to get an ISBN for your book, you may have issues with putting it on Goodreads. Though some suggest that you don’t need an ISBN, as the publisher, it is best to get one and you can then get listed in a number of places you wouldn’t be without one. It’s worth it. See this link on how to manually upload your book to Goodreads. Also, here is an overview of how to promote your book on Goodreads.
12.Think of local slants for your book and write to editors of newspapers and any city magazines. They are hurting for help material now so it will be easy to type up an article and ask if they would allow a blurb at the bottom for your book.
13.Get some people together for a Google Plus chat on your book; upload it to your youtube channel
14.Put the books on your YouTube profile.
16.Read Susan Gilbert’s great article “Why Your Author Website Should Include a Media Kit” I am very familiar with these, having been in marketing. In the digital age, they are even easier to put together. Her article explains it perfectly.
17.Do local advertising. Whether fiction or non-fiction, talk to your local library branches about activities they might have available for you. Sign up for mailings from your library now. They schedule these events months in advance, and you want to get on their schedule now.
18.Now is the time where guest posting will pay off–literally. Start thinking of web-sites that you have article ideas for and start outlining the articles now. You don’t necessarily have to have a slant for your book as you can usually put a blurb at the bottom of the article about the book and then one or two web and social site links., but if you do have a slant it will stick in the readers minds more than just the blurb. Pitch this to webmasters at least a month in advance (while your book is at the professional editors) since the administrators will have an editorial calendar set up and filled with their own and other guest posts.
19.Set up Google Alerts for any subject that you will be outlining for the articles above. It is much easier to then outline with a beefy reference list and quotes. This can also be done with local marketing as you can specify the locale you are in or targeting. Remember, locale isn’t always where you are at. Did you write a Southern Mystery? But you live in Minnesota? Target the area where your book is set.
20. Look through your contacts, not only your direct business and personal contacts, but those on Linkedin, those you’ve had long-term relationships with through a blog or forum. Talk to them and ask for suggestions, then see if they are open to helping you promote it. Leave the details open as you don’t want to push something on them but don’t let opportunities slip by you. Are any of your contacts running podcasts or in radio or local tv? Talk to them about any empty spots, even at 3am. Someone is watching. A radio interview gets a captive audience. They are in their cars and, if smart, aren’t on their phones. So they listen to the radio; hopefully the station on which you will be interviewed. Podcasts are wonderful as they can be put up on your site (if it was an interview on another site) as they can be replayed on blogs and reproduced as additional material for giveaways or to market your book. They are also evergreen. Anyone interested in the subject you are discussing on this podcast can download them if on iTunes and listen to them later on their smartphone or iPod. This can help your sales in the long-haul, which is never a bad thing.
And a note of caution for reviews:
Give them what they asked for:
Professional book reviewers will have a “prefered format” for their book reviews. Easiest for you to send them a PDF? Yes, there is a chance that your reviewer has an iPad or other reading device which makes it easier for them to read say, a PDF. However, I wouldn’t assume anything. It is possible that they know how to download an ePub through Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre; but don’t count on that. Give them what they asked for. The steps above are a pain. Do you want to introduce your book to a reviewer starting out to be a pain? No, of course you don’t. give advance review copies to the respected reviewers
Take a deep breath. This is presenting your baby to the world. You worked hard on this and know what a treat it is; so it will be easy to talk about. it’s not work, it’s an opportunity to spread the word. Write that down and put it on a sticky or a note in your app.
One smart writer I noticed on Twitter today not only thanked someone for a ReTweet, but added the information about her book. Something along the lines of Thanks @soandso for RT The Tale of the Indie Author tinyurl.aren’tyousmart etc. Now that’s marketing.