We authors spend years honing our craft to create manuscript after manuscript in hopes of getting published. We endlessly query and can paper rooms with rejection letters and “near misses.”
Finally, “the call” comes and we are shell-shocked. Someone likes us! Someone finally likes us! Rather, an editor at a publishing house likes out voice, our novel, our baby. We are at the top of the world. Published author! It sounds so magical and is. We break out the champagne and the chocolate. Our book is published. We can announce to the world that we are a published author. The worst is over.
The worst is not over. The real work is just beginning.
Writing and publishing the novel are only a part of the battle. I’d say that 10% is writing the novel and 90% is marketing it. Friends often find it surprising that I did not major in English, journalism or creative writing and yet I am a writer. I have a BSBA in Marketing and, actually, it has proven to be the best education for my writing career.
Being a writer is a business. There’s an adage about “starving artists.” Yes, they are starving because they do not put as much effort into marketing their work as they do in creating it. Sales, marketing and public relations skills are necessary to succeed in every creative field. In writing, it is of utmost importance. Your product is your novel and it is your job to get it out into the marketplace, the reader’s hands.
I probably spend more time marketing my published work than writing new material. In the modern world of “social media” and the competitiveness in the publishing field, one has to be on top of the game. There are so many outlets for promoting novels and all of them take time and constancy.
In this technology-based world, a writer has to have a Facebook presence and must maintain it through regular posts and interaction with fellow writers and readers. Groups must be a part of Facebook as well as “Like” pages. There is Linkedin to connect with fellow business professionals, also readers. Don’t forget Twitter for those short bursts of promotional and informational data. Gaining followers is necessary. I have Pinterest boards for all of my interests, published novels and unpublished novels. Yes, people do re-pin and thus see your boards. Another way to get your name in front of the public is through Goodreads, where writers meet readers. After all, writers are readers, too.
Fellow authors are readers and exchanging novels for book reviews helps increase visibility. There are blogs to guest on and a personal blog to maintain. There are book reviewers and review sites. And, don’t forget the importance of having and maintaining a professional website with links to all of the above.
On top of all of this, one must frequently visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes and other vendors to see how books are being marketed and being sold.
Most important, it’s the personal selling to friends, acquaintances and even strangers. This involves, post cards to hand out and books to lend out and even give away. In addition, press releases need to be written and distributed. Getting free exposure in the local media gets your name out.
Advertising? Some authors pay to run advertisements to promote their books and their names. Some even secure celebrity endorsements, the ultimate sales tool.
My brain is constantly on overdrive trying to create the next marketing push.
Tired yet? You can now see that there’s more to just writing the book. Your publishing house, editor and agent do not have the time or inclination to market authors. If you are published by a small publisher or a large conglomerate, the marketing of you and your books is up to you. You hold the key to your success.
If the ideal marketing plan could be bottled, I’d be a billionaire!