On the heels of launching debut novels from two of our authors, this question has come up quite a bit in the last couple weeks. And, the answer to the titular question is: I don’t know. No, really, it is a great mystery to most people, and the answer is not a simple, straight-forward one. The complexities of marketing any piece of fiction are as varied as the pieces themselves. The learning curve for such a thing is a pretty steep one, as well, especially for indie authors and publishers who do not normally come with a background in marketing.
What, then, should be done?
First and foremost, get on all of the social media you can find. Facebook and Twitter are the big contenders but there has been rising success with Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn as well. If it is too overwhelming to manage all of them, start with Facebook and invite ALL of your friends to like your author page. Guilt them into it if you have to. They’re friends, they’ll indulge you.
Second, and probably as important as where you put things, is who you send it out to. Sharing the cover and blurb of your romance novel to a group that is primarily for geeks is probably not your best bet. But, market that to your mom’s groups, to the knitting club, and to other romance writer’s groups because that is your target audience.
Third, hit up those libraries and local book stores. No, I’m not talking about the big name stores like BAM or Barnes & Noble. While it would be amazing to get on those shelves, doing so usually requires money spent on your part, a contract and some weird finagling. If that is something you’re willing to do, more power to you. If not, the small, mom-and-pop places are where it’s at. They are more likely to promote a local author than a big name bookstore is. The libraries love local authors and host special events just for them; take advantage of it.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to get out there or think outside the box. Print promo material, put the cover and QR code for your book on a business card and throw them at whoever will listen. Perfect that elevator pitch and actually use it. Talk to local coffee shops about displaying your material in their store or on their billboards. Same with places like comic book stores, gaming stores or other local venues known to host different theme nights. Chances are, someone will look at your material and find it interesting.
Make use of Amazon’s promotion tools for Kindle, don’t be afraid to run free deals or host a Facebook party centered around your novel with freebies like a signed copy of the book or a mug with the cover on it. Yes, it will cost a little to get these things made, but it will help spread the word. If you’re really feeling fancy, try making a book preview and share that with everyone.
Above all, be proud of what you’ve done. You’ve accomplished a great thing. Let the world know about it. Tag your friends and family to spread the word. Make sure they write reviews. Fill out author pages on Goodreads and Amazon, link back to your websites or social media. You’ve worked hard to get your book out there, now you need to work harder to make sure it is seen.
And, of course, check out our two new novels Seacombe Island and Hellfire, now available for purchase through our website.