There was a time, not so long ago, when I thought that getting the book in print (and formatted for ereaders) was the end... and that from there, I could move on to the next writing project.
Of course I could do just that... my book, Here Be Monsters, sold a few hundred copies. Why bother with marketing? I hate selling stuff, especially my own work, my words.... I could leave well enough alone, and just move on to the next writing project.
To some degree that is exactly what I did do... my nascent marketing efforts are nothing compared to what many (most?) self-published authors go through to promote their work.
I decided, however, that I wanted more eyes to see my books, so I do a little marketing. The things that I do are relatively simple, cheap, and have a minimal impact on my writing time. I could do much more, and I could do significantly less; this balance works for me.
When it comes to marketing, I let frustration be my guide. If I start to feel out of control and helpless, then I back away and do some writing for a while. If one avenue/flavor/type of marketing has that effect on me repeatedly, then I cease my efforts in that vein, and find other ways to try and promote my book.
I have tried lots of different ways to market my writing, and am certain to have missed just as many (or more) viable ones. More important than any particular method is to find the marketing approaches that you are comfortable with, and also to talk with other writers to find out what they are trying (and how it is working for them).
What Has Worked For Me...So Far
Blogger's software to build a website and a blog on which I regularly post. Read the last sentence again, to make sure that you got the critical information contained within:
- before the book was finished
- domain with my name
- simple website/blog software
- regular posts
Again, before the book is even finished, you can (and should) set up an author's page on Facebook. It's easy and free, and has the potential to reach gazillions of people. Ask your FB friends to join, and seek out writers and groups with similar writing profiles to yours, and 'like' their pages. I have run a few right-column advertisements on FB, and feel that I've gotten reasonable bang for the buck from them. Make sure to post regularly on your FB page as well, and to link it (either directly or in the 'about" section) to your twitter page. HERE is a cheatsheet for using FB more effectively to communicate/promote.
I was leery of Twitter for a while because I doubted my ability to express myself in 140 characters or less. The good news is that it just takes some getting used to, and then you'll be fine. I have my FB author's page set to dump my posts from there into my Twitter account, and as such, try to limit myself to short posts for both. Using hashtags is vital in effectively communicating with your followers (and those they may retweet you towards), HERE is a cheatsheet to help you navigating the world of tweets. I try to post on Twitter everyday, sometime multiple times per day (as your post can get buried more easily than on FB, it pays to target/plan your posting times... morning/evening).
Assuming that you are selling your book on Amazon, you should set up an author's page at Amazon Author Central, link it to the sites I've listed above, and keep your data current. I have not explored everything available to authors on Author Central, but it's on my list... like it or not, Amazon is the 400 pound gorilla in the self-publishing and online sales world these days.
GoodReads has recently been acquired by Amazon, so there is no way of knowing what the future holds for this site, but they have millions of members, all of whom love to read. You should become a member of their Author Program, and make sure that your book is listed with them, linked to your author page, and that all of the other connectivity options are in place. I've joined a number of communities at GR, and have added my book to multiple lists/groups, but am not fully sure of how to fully immerse myself in their system profitably (to date it feels to me as though lots of people are talking, and nobody is listening).
I eagerly joined GooglePlus when it was first rolled out, and then left it alone when it was initially an empty warehouse space on the WWW. I revisited it about a month ago, and have joined some communities (mostly for writing, some that cater to other interests of mine). My experience has been very positive so far; although there is a learning curve involved in communicating between and among different levels of the public, friends, family, circles, hangouts, and communities. I have added, and been added by, hundreds of people, and am continually amazed at the depth and breadth of useful information that comes my way every day. I'm sure that there are "God is Great" posters and funny cat pictures on G+, but they don't seem to fill my screen with the rapidity that it happens on FB.
Things On My Radar To Try
I want to get a better handle on GoodReads and G+, but feel as though I have a solid (if simple) base with all of the site/services listed above. In the "What's Next?" category for my marketing plan, I have three main areas of focus at present (again, more may surface later today, but for now... these three).
Please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org is you have any questions or comments about this article.