Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Marketing Your Independently-Published Novel



Friends, for today's IndieLife installment, I'm happy to share a guest post by fellow author and blogger, Rachel McCoy! You can connect with Rachel on her blog, on Facebook, and on Figment.

Rachel is tackling the subject of marketing our indie work. Take it away, Rachel!


Getting Out There: Marketing Your Independently-Published Novel

You’ve slaved away for months or maybe even years to develop your baby from notepad scribbles to polished gem. You’ve had it proofread, edited, reviewed and wrapped in a show-stopping cover. You published it through one of the many self-publishing venues. But so far the only sales are the three copies your mom bought. Here are the quick and dirty tips to developing a reader platform and creating visibility for your novel.

Blogging
Starting and maintaining a quality blog is your first line to reach readers. Identify a topic to concentrate on. Releasing a cookbook? Blog about recipes and restaurants. Did you write a book about the Civil War? Focus your blog on military history, weapons technologies and soldier biographies. A well thought out blog with a specific topic will earn more followers than a jumbled mess of daily musings.

Some other tips to keep in mind:

                         1.       Blog well and blog often
                         2.       Post links to related blogs
                         3.       Invite guest blog posters and make yourself available to guest post on other blogs

Author Website
A website is a must-have for any author. You have a defined space to promote your novel, offer promotions and even make sales. Unfortunately, unless you are a true tech expert, you’ll need to hire a copywriter to get the site up and running, which is often more than aspiring authors can or will spend.

(Julie's note: Some alternatives to consider--For my web site, I use web hosting by Yahoo. Cheap and easy to use. Other people have had success using WordPress, which is free)

Facebook/Twitter
These and other forms of social media are easy ways to keep in touch with established readers and maintain visibility, but do not offer much in terms of gaining quality contacts. You may get hundreds to follow you on Facebook, but if they haven’t read your work, they are unlikely to go buy your book based solely on a status update.

Writing Forums
Forums are great for authors who are still at the writing, editing, or reviewing stages. Members can post excerpts or whole chapters to receive feedback, get reviews and helpful suggestions. The key to these sites is to go often and participate in meaningful discussions. Critique the work of others. Offer feedback. Let the other members get to know you as an author. When the time comes, the announcement of a book release will be met with support and interest.

Some forums to consider:

                         1.       www.scribophile.com
                         2.       www.mythicscribes.com
                         3.       www.fictionpress.com
                         4.       www.goodreads.com
                         5.       www.figment.com
                         6.       www.writersbeat.com
                         7.       www.writersdigest.com

If in doubt, a quick Google search will give you a long list of forums that focus on virtually any topic you can imagine.

Writing Contests
While these may take a bit of time and initial financial investment, entering, and hopefully winning writing contests can be your best ally in selling your next book. Contest winners receive a wide range of prizes often including cash, gift cards, interviews, guest appearances and even publication. Aside from the prizes themselves, you can market your book as an award-winning author, and who wouldn’t buy that?

Timing
Above all, marketing for any product cannot be accomplished in a day or a week. It takes time to build up blog followers, get to know authors on other sites and develop a network of contacts. So you need to start soon. Better yet, start now. Ideally, marketing for your book will begin in earnest no less than six months prior to publication. That means you have to work on marketing even while you work on your novel, but in the end, marketing your book early will pay dividends. Good luck!

Rachel, thanks so much for these tips!

How about you, fellow writers? Do these marketing tips jive with what you've done in the past? Anything different you've learned through trial and error? Please share!

34 comments:

  1. I haven't tried to publish my novel yet (basically because I still have to finish revising it, of course), but it's always good to know how other people have done it. And thanks for the tips to the forums!

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    1. I liked the idea of forums as well. I haven't really been involved in those yet!

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  2. These are really great tips to keep in mind. Thanks, Rachel!

    Hope you're having a great week, Julie! :)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. Laura, definitely worth giving it all a try, and seeing what works!

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  3. Wonderful points and post, Rachel! And I have to say that Julie is doing everything right. Can't wait for The Boy Who Loved Fire!!!!

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    1. Morgan, you are such a sweetie! Thanks :)

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  4. Excellent advice. And may I add, build a rich resource of book reviewers in your genre. They're the fire starters in getting the word out.

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    1. Book reviewers…excellent tip! I'll have to research reviewers for my genre.

      Happy release day!! I just downloaded my copy of Moonless <3

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  5. Great tips! And *gulps* guess I should fess up -- coming down from the high of my successful launch and forgot I'd joined this lovely group. Hmm, maybe I could add that a launch drains one's energy from even the toes! On a more serious note, never launch on a weekend because of Freebie Fridays. Monday worked really well for me!

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    1. Kittie, thanks for the tip about release dates! I'll keep that in mind for sure. Weekends=bad. Mondays=good.

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  6. I think the marketing aspect of book publishing is so exciting. Give me a day to do nothing but hang out on social media and I'm happy.

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    1. Karen, I agree about social media. It's so much fun! I could easily waste an entire day doing it. Although I guess waste wouldn't be the right word :)

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  7. Great tips that I'm going to try to remember for the day I have a book published.

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    1. Natalie, I'm soaking it all in so I'll be ready to give new things a try and see what works best.

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  8. Thanks for this post, Rachel, and for hosting it, Julie. Have a great month!

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  9. All good pointers, Julie. Here's to excellent promotion for all writers.

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    1. Lee, it's something I'm nervous and excited about at the same time!

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  10. All great pieces of advice, Julie! I haven't got anything published yet, but when I do I will need to work on a lot of what's in this list. At least I have the blog happening! :)

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    1. Trisha, exactly! We've already established these relationships, which is fun.

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  11. Didn't know about forums. Intriguing.

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    1. Leslie, I haven't been into forums very much. I'm intimidated by that. I'm sure you're totally surprised :/

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  12. Thanks for posting this Julie! I'm SO happy your readers will be able to use these tips. I can't wait to hear how it goes for everyone!

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  13. Timing is everything in this business.
    Agree with her on the blogging points.
    I don't have a website though because my blog is my website.
    While I'm not an indie author, I can offer this - whatever you do for marketing, don't be afraid to try something different. That will gain more attention than just doing the same things as everyone else.

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    1. Alex, thanks for that wonderful tip! It's tempting to do what everyone else is doing, but I like your advice to try something different.

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  14. Bookmarking this! Great overview...just in case I go indie, it'll be helpful. :)

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    1. Carol, thanks! It seems these tips will work with traditional pubs or indie. Either way!

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  15. Great tips! I think timing is key to marketing-- you have to do things at the right time, and you have to put in a lot of time to get good results!

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    1. So true, Shallee. I also like the idea of trying new things. Angela and Becca were brilliant with their Thesaurus releases :)

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  16. Really great tips! I mostly lurk on the forums but maybe should get on there more!

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    1. Kimberly, at least you lurk! I don't usually visit forums, but I'll bet they're full of great information.

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  17. I'm slowly learning to use Wattpad as a marketing tool, too. Or more precisely, a place to make friends who like your work. You may not want to post your novel there, but you can write short stories and novellas to go with your main work, to build up interest. Some people post rough drafts there for critique. It's a fine community and largely YA. :-)

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  18. Kessie, good to know! I've never used it before. Cool that you can get critiques from fellow YA writers. Thanks!

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