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