This little book went to market

The final instalment from my old blog. I’ll look to start giving updated opinions on what I have learned in the past twelve months later.

Your new novel is brilliant. You think so. Your family thinks so. All of your friends think so. All you need to do now is sit back and watch the money come rolling in?
Unfortunately the world doesn’t work like this.
As unnatural as it feels to most writers, we need to market our work. I’ll admit to being terrible at it but that doesn’t mean I don’t know where I’m going wrong.

Love it or hate it, social media is the best form of free marketing available to you. There are a number of forms of social media you could use. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Internet forums, Instagram. The list is endless.
My advice would be to pick your battles. Find the medium your a comfortable with and use that. If you’ve never used Instagram before, don’t think you can sign up and successfully market your book on there.
You need to play the long game with marketing and start thinking about it long before your book is written. You may have noticed that this blog has been lying dormant for a couple of years until very recently. My excuse is that I’ve been writing a book and I’ve been concentrating all my writing efforts there. This is the first mistake. You can’t neglect your social media duties just because your are busy or have found something more interesting to work on.

You also need to remember that nobody is really that interested in your new book. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but think of social media as a group of friends. If the only thing you ever talk about is your book, they will soon drift away. It’s a two way street and you need to engage with people on a number of different unrelated subjects. They’ll be much more likely to take an interest in your novel if you’ve taken an interest in what they have been talking about.

It’s basic good manners but it’s amazing how many people ignore this. I’ve been a member of a local, football related internet message board for a number of years. Discussions range from everything from politics to your favourite crisps and I am an active participant. Advertising is not allowed however there are other writers on there and we can happily discuss our work. They all know me so they take an active interest in what I am working on.

On the other hand I have seen people join the board and immediately try and sell their book. They have been given short shrift and banned from the board.
Similarly with Twitter. I’ve followed various writers but all they do is publicise their books. I soon delete them and don’t buy their books as I think they are boring.
There are other people who I follow because I find them funny or interesting. If they later mention that they have published a book I am much more likely to buy it.
I’d say about 10% of my posts, if that, are about my books. Feel free to follow me and feedback if I’m becoming a book bore.
https://twitter.com/leg_it

I also have a page on Facebook however I’m not as active as I should be and it’s something I’m looking to work on.
Facebook
You need to decide whether you want a Page, a Group or just a standard Facebook account. Each have their benefits and their downfalls. I find a Page works best for me but you will need to do some research.

Advertising. I haven’t done a great deal of advertising however I did get some free advertising on Facebook. I also managed to advertise on the message board I used. There are various ways of doing this, pay per click being the most common. Due to the low cost of my book pay per click was not worthwhile. Paying per click that leads to a sale is marginally better but I found the best one was where I could bid for advertising space at a daily rate, usually just a couple of pence.

As with all marketing it is wise to understand who your target audience is and aim your marketing towards them. You might actually be surprised to find that your target audience and real audience are two totally different things.

Amazon also provide a number of marketing tools through their KDP select programme. This is free however there are restrictions so read up on it to decide if it is right for you.

The one that works best for me is the free download offer. It may seem odd to give away your hard earned work for nothing but it works. I’ve found that for every ten books I give away I sell one. Timing is everything, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve not managed to work it out yet but a fifth of all sales of Leg It were in the month following a successful free promotion.

One thing I haven’t quite mastered yet is turning all these free books into reviews on Amazon. If anyone knows the secret, please let me know.

I’ve tried many old school advertising techniques such as branded t shirts, postcards, business cards, mugs, mouse mats etc. You can get them all relatively cheaply and they can be a bit of fun and used alongside social media they can be effective.
As always I have rambled on a lot and probably haven’t parted a great deal of useful information. If I were to boil it down to three things it would be these.

a) Know your audience
b) Plan ahead and update social media regularly
c) Mind your manners. Don’t put people off by boring them about your book.

Good luck and if anybody stumbles upon any marketing secrets, feel free to share.


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