Moving Write Along: Advice from the Experts –
10 Simple Steps to Market Your Book BEFORE It’s Published
by Debra Gendel and Elle Saling, d+e media
Before you finish writing a book it’s critical to lay the groundwork for attracting an audience. Having a marketing strategy in place shows agents and publishers that you’ve done your homework and are passionate about selling your book.
Since you’re a storyteller anyway, making yourself a compelling figure shouldn’t be too hard. The hard part for some writers is putting on their extrovert hats. Here are some painless steps to getting yourself—and your work—out there.
1. BRAND YOURSELF: Long before she wrote Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert was known for her gutsy single-girl journalism, which helped to sell her book proposal. Who are you? From Disney to Apple, consumers are drawn to what they know and trust. The same is true for authors. What you think, what you know, what you’ve lived through and what you believe shape your brand, which in turn helps define you for the market.
2. CREATE A PRESS KIT: Once you’ve determined your story, it’s time to put it together in a package to show the world. This includes a professionally shot author photo (which captures your brand through environment, wardrobe, expression); a short bio (a paragraph describing you and your accomplishments); a long bio (the extended version with more detail) and a synopsis of your book. Compile the elements in electronic and printed form.
3. CREATE A FACEBOOK FANPAGE: Unlike your personal Facebook page, a Facebook Fan Page is specifically designed for marketing. The title of the book can be the name of the page. Mock up a cover design if you don’t yet have one. Post a 3-line book synopsis under the book jacket image. Scan the news for stories, videos, and images that interest your potential readers. The goal is to amass as many people as possible to “like” your site so when your book is published you can use the site to publicize events and email fans.
4. LAUNCH A TWITTER ACCOUNT: The literary community on Twitter is enormous. It figures that writers, publishers, and agents love any opportunity to chat about books, right? Author Jennifer Weiner is a masterful Tweeter who entertains her 11,000+ followers with biting 140-character observations of the candidates on The Bachelorette and very few mentions of her books. Monitor veteran Tweeters until you get a sense of Twitter-worth topics and the rules of the Twitter game.
5. BLOG: Go to wordpress.com or blogger.com and find a template that suits you. It’s free and extremely easy—even for the technically challenged. Write something thought-provoking, newsy, or entertaining at least three times a week. Find other writers blogging in your wheelhouse via Technorati or Google, and list them in your Blogroll. Visit these sites regularly to get the vibe of the places, then dive in and comment or share info.
6. GUEST BLOG: Once you’ve created a blog, established your online personality, and interacted with other bloggers in your genre, you might be asked to fill in for the host with a guest blog. Say yes! This will expose you and your work to a brand-new set of followers.
7. SET UP A PROFILE AT RED ROOM: Redroom.com is a writers’ forum, a place to meet other authors and people in the publishing community. Unpublished authors can sign up for free. This is where you’ll need to have a Jpeg of your portrait. Authors can also post articles, blogs, and bios, as well as contribute essays on specially chosen topics each week.
8. WRITE FOR ONLINE MAGAZINES: There are a number of online publications where content is always in demand: Salon’s “Open” community, the Huffington Post, and More magazine, to name a few. Pitch a publication that best suits your brand. Online publications usually post their submission info on the Contact Us page.
9. GUEST ON BLOG TALK RADIO: Just like broadcast radio, Blog Talk Radio has hundreds of hosts looking for subjects. There are stations dedicated solely to publishing or you can search the site for shows that specialize in your genre. It’s an easy way to gain media training and you can post the podcast on your blog.
10. LINK, LINK, LINK: Once you’ve gotten yourself set up and established on all the platforms above, the next step is link your platforms to every place possible. The Internet is one huge spider web, so the larger your spider web grows with connections, the more readers you will attract.
Be patient. Building an audience can be a slow process. But eventually you’ll find readers. And isn’t that the point of writing?
d+e media: Debra Gendel, a former Los Angeles Times writer and editor, and Elle Saling, a veteran Internet marketing executive, use their complementary media skills to raise the profiles of authors, independent publishers, and non-profits. Debra has a master’s degree in Visual Anthropology from USC and Elle is a graduate of the UCLA Graduate School of Management Executive Program. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: Advice from the Experts Blogging d+e media Debra Gendel Elle Saling Facebook Linking Market Your Book Before It’s Published Moving Write Along Twitter Write On! Online