Today I welcome back author Caroline Clemmons who is visiting here today to discuss marketing for authors.
Over to you, Caroline …
What type marketing/promotion works best for authors? What a hornet’s nest that questions stirs. Some writers—a few—enjoy the spotlight and don’t mind making the circuits, so to speak. Writers like me want to hibernate in their computer caves and write their hearts out. After my first sale, I learned that’s not possible. In order to promote our work, we have to work harder than we did writing the book.
I can pretend to be outgoing for about an hour. After that, I have to withdraw back to my natural state, that of a slightly agoraphobic introvert. No, not really an agoraphobe, although I do enjoy staying in my home. What I don’t enjoy is being in the spotlight. Picture me shuddering with revulsion at the thought.
What’s the point of having created a book, worked through the stages of edits, and finally see that baby if no one is going to read it? Other than the satisfaction of holding a copy in my hand, nothing. So, I have to promote.
What can an author do to promote his or her name and books? A website is crucial—the more professional, the better. Quick loading is essential, too. People become annoyed if your website takes several minutes to load. Keep it simple, but professional, and related to your genre.
A blog is very helpful and surprisingly easy. After all, we’re writers, aren’t we? Exchanging blogs or a guest post is beneficial. Other easy venues are Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I’m sure there are more, but these are standard. Don’t forget to build a webpage on Amazon. My clever eldest daughter arranged so that whatever I post on my blog feeds to Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. So, with one blog, I appear in several places.
One method with which Rae and I and eight other authors from The Wild Rose Press were recently involved was an August blog tour. In fact, Rae came up with the idea. We found it achieved our goals: we acquired new followers/readers for each of our blogs, plus we sold some of our books. The reason I like this type of promotion is that I can hibernate in my home office and achieve a successful blog tour.
Another type of marketing is a book signing at a local business or bookstore. This requires showing up looking my best with a cheerful smile on my face while I sit with a table of books and hope—pray even—that someone will stop and buy a book. Prior promotion of the booksigning is necessary. Flyers, newspaper and radio plugs, whatever you can wrangle. Perhaps this is effective, but it’s hard to judge. Will the person buy my next book, or is the buyer simply a spontaneous, see-it-buy-it reader?
Speaking at writers chapter meetings and at community functions is another way to sell books and promote an author’s name. Once again, this requires being well dressed, cheerful, funny and informative. I can do this, but it leaves me weak in the knees for a day afterward. Remember, this promotes the author’s name as well as the current book. Most groups allow authors to bring books to sell after or during the meeting.
With luck, an author can get an article in the local newspaper about a new release. A local radio station usually has a show that features local “celebrities.” I enjoy this because it’s easy to believe the interview is only with the host and me, since the audience is unseen. The downside is you can’t show your beautiful book cover. Universities and PBS stations sometimes feature local authors. All this involves marketing oneself in a positive light. This sort of exposure builds name recognition as well as promoting an author’s current book.
Authors must remember that one important part of marketing is leaving oneself time to write the next book! Limit the time spent on email, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and visiting other authors’ blogs. Remain focused on the work in progress. Keep those books coming for future sales and promotion.
Thanks for the tips, Caroline. It’s that last one that I find the most difficult: writing the next one in spite of all the distractions, of which the internet is only one!
A little about Caroline:
Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventure. As long as she can remember, she’s made up adventures—although the early ones featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history.