So, you've written a book and it's been accepted by Publisher X.
Congratulations! You've made it farther than most and I want you to take in a moment, breathe deeply and exhale. Drink in the fact that soon the world will be able to set eyes on your dream, your words, and your world. You feel remarkably light hearted, overjoyed and stunned.
Embrace that. Remember it.
Because now the real work begins.
As happens with independent authors and small in house publishing companies, the full brunt of promotion and marketing falls to you. It sounds terrifying and impossible. A task of Herculean feat for someone who doesn't have a "business" brain.
I am one of those without a "business" brain. I may be CEO of that particular problem.
And I can only give you the benefit of what I've experienced in the last year that I've been published. Through trial and error, hit and miss. No, I may not have the aforementioned "business" brain but I do have something else.
I have moxie.
What is moxie? A force of character, determination, or nerve.
Luckily, I'm blessed with all three. The main component in that trifecta lie in the fact that I am not afraid to look foolish, take a risk and run with it. It's all about experimentation in creative tone and finding what works in terms of catching attention.
And on the 7th day, Social Media was created. And it was good!
Your first priority should be to establish relationships with high-traffic blogs and websites that target your genre and/or your audience.
One of the best ways to do that is to comment on the blog posts and articles featured on your target blogs or websites. If you write smart, useful comments, the blogger or website owner will notice – and, just as important, so will that blogger's or website's readers. Also, make sure to give the same attention to other forms of social media; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Pop Culture and How to Use It
In terms of reaching a wide audience, nothing compares to popular culture marketing. Pop culture has never been as widely transmitted as it is today, and people are far more receptive to public fascinations due to the ubiquity of our good friend, social media and his pal, the Internet. With more pop culture content than ever before, there are ways to use those powers for good. Examples? Search Google for blank templates emphasizing whichever meme, celebrity, cartoon, etc. is being highly viewed. Such as Grumpy Cat, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. Weave your clever words with the images and post.
I Heard it on the Radio…oh oh
Podcasting, On Line Radio, Talk Radio. All I hear is Radio Gaga…sorry, went off on a Queen jag there. Internet radio shows are an under-utilized opportunity to further market your wares. I had my first guest bit not long ago on WON Radio and it was amazingly fun. Guests are generally featured 15 minutes to an hour, far more time that traditional talk radio would allow. Internet show listeners are generally sitting down, ready to make a purchase, waiting to fall in love with your book. Internet radio also promotes your appearance and archives your segment so that it's always accessible.
I’m not talking about the virtual book tour of 15 or 20 blogs. I’m talking about an event blog tour that creates Internet buzz on a major scale. Event blog tours can build brands, create incredible website traffic, and sell tons of books.
The neat thing is that effective event blog tours take less time to carry out than the traditional Amazon Bestseller Campaign - and are almost always more effective in selling books, building a brand, and driving traffic.
I Told A Friend. They Told Two Friends Who Told 2 More…
Word of mouth is still a fine marketing tool and the one that generally lasts in longer terms. Think outside of the box. Gain marketing information and insights from outside the writing industry that you can tweak and apply to your book marketing strategy (music industry, small business start-ups). Remember the 3 critical E's: Engage. Equip. Empower.
Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Give them reasons to talk. Give readers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. It's about connecting rather than collecting.
The way you market your book should be based on two things at the end of the day: your values and the intentions for the book. If something feels slimy or inauthentic, don’t do it. You should never let a bit of exposure trump your values. Short-term gains that feel wrong seldom result in long-term growth as an author.
The intentions for your book can really be anything—credibility and status in your genre, increased bookings for speaking, consulting or projects, building your brand, further educating your audience with a new point of view on a subject they care about. Your book, your intentions. And however odd—because anyone can write a book now—books are still a strong signal that you’re an expert on a topic or in a field.
Marketing can be a fun, creative activity. A lot of it, as you will see, is brainstorming around your book or brand and the people whom you hope to influence. Then, you get to convey your ideas in creative and compelling ways, by creating posters, book trailers, teasers, fliers, events and giveaways.
Marketing yourself and your book involves a lot of focused work, typically as much work as it took to write the book in the first place. And there are no guarantees. Pay attention to peak times on social media, communicate with other authors who seem to have a solid foot in marketing tools. Ask questions, do NOT be afraid to experiment. You may have written the next Great American Novel but unless you market as passionately as you wrote, you risk the chance of minimal exposure.
Torie James is the author of Timeless Night and Timeless Desire, Books One and Two of the award winning New Camelot series, published through Breathless Press. You can find her at: