A four-part series on book publishing! Today, we break down the final part of our series: marketing. Did you miss the other parts? Here’s our overview on what it takes to get published today, why social publishing matters, and hybrid publishing (the middle ground between traditional and self-publishing).
Here we are — the last post of our book publishing series.
Previously, I introduced different aspects of publishing by using Harry Potter-inspired comparisons.
Now, I’d like to leave you with one last geeky, magical metaphor.
This week, we’re talking about a task that — to many authors — seems ultra foreign and strange. The rest of the world, however, sees it as completely normal and necessary.
We’re talking about the “muggle” of the publishing world — marketing.
It’s Not Just for Self-Published Authors
Understandably, self-published authors are responsible for marketing their books.
But it may come as a surprise that traditionally published authors often are asked to market their books to some degree.
In their blog post with advice for new authors, publishers Kelli Ballard and Andrea Churchill write that: “While most publishers … will provide some marketing, not all publishers are the same. Some have billion-dollar marketing budgets and a swarm of publicists on their payroll to help authors, but the majority of firms do not have a lot of extra resources and funding.”
Even if they do have the resources, publishers still care about an author’s ability to market themselves and their work. In some cases, they’ll collaborate with an author to come up with promotion activities, but it usually falls upon the author to implement those activities.
So no matter how you’re published, marketing your book is an inescapable task — but not an impossible one.
Some Book Marketing Basics
There are tons of resources and advice out there on how to best market your book.
Here are a few basics to get you started:
1. Market early and often. Most of the time, authors don’t think about marketing their book until its publishing debut.
According to Written Word Media’s predictions of publishing trends for 2019, it’s important for authors to start earlier. Getting a jump on marketing will help build anticipation, raise awareness, and gather a community of readers.
One way to start marketing earlier is to make it a part of your everyday routine, suggests author Midge Raymond.
Create and maintain your website. Engage your audience with blog posts and social media updates. Every little bit helps.
2. Use social media. Social media is powerful. In our post on social publishing, we explored just how influential it can be in aspiring authors’ careers.
More than that, though — social media is free and everyone uses it. So use it to promote you and your work.
Social media can help you reach potential readers and cultivate a following. But it’s important to engage with them, not advertise to them.
“[Use] social media to communicate with your readers — your community,” suggests literary agent Eric Smith. “Respond to their tweets and their emails. Ask for their opinions, and run the occasional Ask Me Anything (AMA). That close tie will make them your fiercest advocates.”
3. Find a marketing strength and (try to) have fun with it.
Chances are you didn’t go into writing out of a burning desire to perfect your marketing skills.
So it’s important to find what you enjoy and make it fun for yourself.
Enjoy blogging? Use that as a main way to update your readers. Are you a social media butterfly? Engage with your audience via your favorite platform.
Focusing on the marketing tasks you enjoy can help the whole thing feel more organic and authentic.
While finding the time, energy, and resources to market your new book may feel like growing an extra limb, the work is well worth it.
Marketing may seem like the last step in getting your book out there. But, as we’ve seen, if you invest time into establishing yourself and your work by by engaging with your audience — it’s really just the beginning.
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Jennifer (Davids) Flynn is a customer content specialist at PR Newswire. By day, she reads releases and advises clients on content best practices. By night (and weekends) she spends most of her time reading fiction and hanging out with her puppy.