Be sure to read to the end to find out how to win a copy of Ruthanne’s ebook!
Good News and Bad News
I have good news and bad news. The good news first: sometimes, Amanda Hocking happens.
Sometimes, an indie author who does nothing but write a good book is struck by Magic Lightning: they make crazy sales, win massive fame, and admit openly they did nothing much to achieve it. For the rest of us, there’s the dreaded “m” word: marketing.
I promise this article won’t be scary.
Presentation, Preparation, and Personality
There are three things to understand about putting yourself out there. Well, four, if you consider the potential for humiliation.
Presentation is all the obvious stuff, which you can find in almost any blog post about marketing:
1. Have an awesome book (editing and writing and beta-reading, oh, my);
2. Have an awesome cover (nothing generic, with fonts that pop);
3. Have an awesome website (it can be simple, but it has to look good);
4. Have an awesome profile photo (yes, I know, this part isn’t fun, but without a professional-looking and CURRENT photo, you’re in trouble).
So far, all of this is stuff that will cost you time (and maybe money, depending on your skills). It means work on your part, possibly for months at a time. It’s worth it. When it comes to marketing, if you have a product you’re proud of, it shows.
Preparation means knowing what you’re getting into.
It means having some idea of the market and demographic you’re aiming for. This means dreadful things like “keywords,” and “genre.” It means understanding how royalties work, and at least some sense of contracts and taxes. Yes, you may or may not write in one specific genre. I know I don’t – but I still had to know enough to classify my book before I could stock it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Yes, this has to do with marketing, for two reasons.
1. If you know the keywords and genre, you will be able to talk about and market your book intelligently, instead of just throwing feathers to the wind;
2. When you reach out to a book blogger, a book seller, or anyone else, you will give the impression that you know what you’re doing – and that you are worth their time.
I consider this kind of thing background stuff. Whereas the presentation portion involves things everyone can see, the preparation part is invisible – and yet impossible to hide if you get it wrong.
Personality is (or should be) the fun part. The fact is this: while brand (all that is recognizably YOU, from logo to writing voice) is important, people don’t really care about a brand. They care about people.
When you’re using Twitter and Facebook, are you actually communicating with people? Are you taking the time to indicate you care about what’s happening in their lives? Do that, and they’ll care about yours – which means they’ll be willing to support you when the time comes.
In other words, make friends. Friends spread by word-of-mouth, and can even become fans. Fans who cannot see you as a person are not really your fans. They’re kind of like stalkers.
So that’s the gist.
Of course, there are other things. For example, you need to make a list of book-reviewing sites and be willing to give them free copies. You need to hold contests, giving out free books, which will garner you reviews. You need to find websites that offer deals to people, and use them to spread the word about any sales of your book. But unless you work on presentation, preparation, and personality first, none of those things will help you.
These techniques have worked for me so far. Hopefully, they’ll work for you, too.
Now for the prizes: A random commenter will be given a free copy of the The Sundered ebook by Ruthanne Reid! Let us know what you thought of her post and what you’re doing to market your own novel. Let’s make friends!
Thanks, Ruthanne for everything and thank YOU for reading!