MARKETING For WRITERS–The Beginning

Published November 4, 2014 by Loulou Harrington

The problem with publishing any book anywhere is getting it in front of the readers. Even with a major publishing house, unless you have a name and momentum, your question is: How do I get readers to notice me? With ebooks, you have the same problem, only more of it.

Without something to propel your book title and author name from the bottom of the ocean and onto the beach, you will not only never sell–you will never be seen.

There are various ways to create a presence, and there is some debate as to the effectiveness of each. I have combined research, discussion, and personal observation to come up with what appears to be the primary methods to put yourself, and your books, in a position to be seen.

And, no, most writers don’t really want to do all of this. Writers want to write. When they’re not doing that, they want to read. Most are loners, or they could never tolerate the solitary hours spent staring at a blank page (okay, screen). And to spend what will amount to hours each week (no way around it) on Facebook, Twitter and blogging from your blog and/or website, is really not what most of us want to do.

So just kept asking yourself: Do I want to sell a book? To more than my immediate family, a few coworkers, and supportive friends?

If the answer is “Yes,” then you’re just going to have to put on your big person pants, suck it up, and at least go through the motions. If you’re shy, use a pen name. Take a publicity picture in the winter, with a scarf and a big-brimmed hat shading your face, or hide half your face behind your dog or cat. Don’t have a pet? Borrow a friend’s.

Create a Twitter account and Facebook page under whatever name you are writing under. I will pause here to suggest that you have a notebook during the initial stages to write down the names, internet addresses and passwords you use for each account. Also, it is a good idea to have an email account just for your writing-related activities. There will be notices of followers and comments and eventually readers who will need a place to contact you, and for efficiency if nothing else, you will want it separate from your personal email.

At this point, some of you are starting to panic. I know I did. Stay calm. These things can and should be done one at a time. Virtually no one is an overnight success on the first book. Building a social media presence, just like becoming a bestselling author, is an incremental thing. So take a deep breath, keep your notebook handy, and put a month or so between each new step if you need to.

I personally fought all of this every step of the way. I postponed, hemmed and hawed, set up accounts and then ignored them, and  built everything very slowly. Because it can be overwhelming.  I JUST realized the importance of having a Facebook Author’s page, something I will leave for a future post.

To summarize: THINGS YOU WILL NEED EVENTUALLY (but not all at once)

  • An email for writing connections
  • A Facebook page
  • A Twitter page
  • A website
  • A blog (website and blog can be combined)
  • Pinterest (highly recommended)
  • A Facebook Author’s page
  • A Google+ account (some blog groups want this to connect)
  • Amazon account
  • Goodreads (more later)
  • Online writers groups (networking connections)

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now. Most of this, I discovered one step at a time. And I will go into all of this in greater depth, one piece at a time, in future posts. And not everything listed above is necessary. But there are reasons why each of them could be beneficial.

If you are writing under a pen name, it can be a little confusing. But even if you are writing under your own name, you will probably want your personal accounts like Facebook and email separate from your writing, or publicity, accounts. I know one writer who uses a middle name on one and no middle name on the other. Some people just integrate the personal and professional and don’t worry about it. Some don’t and regret it later.

As I mentioned earlier, I will be going into greater detail on everything in future posts. But to start with, as a writer on Facebook, you will want to cultivate a “friend” base of other writers. Among the main reasons are that:

  1. You will learn from other writers.
  2. Writers are readers, and some of them will buy your books.
  3. It is a way to network, and writers can be extremely generous.
  4. You can see how they go about promoting themselves and their books.

You will also want to join groups–writing groups in general and groups specific to your genre. You will want to friend and follow bloggers and reviewers and their sites. You will need bloggers and reviewers as much as you will need other writers and writing groups.

And there’s more, but I will leave that for later. To stay connected to readers and other writers, the top four bullet points above are the most important and are the ones I recommend you start with.

Your comments, feedback and questions are welcome, and I look forward to hearing from you. Until then, happy writing, and I hope this is of some help.

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