Does the idea of book marketing make you wince? You’re working on a novel, or you’ve just completed one. Everyone who’s read it tells you that they love your book. You need to get it into the hands of as many readers as possible, but the idea of selling yourself makes you wince.
As a tribe, authors are shy and retiring. Most are introverts, and extremely reluctant to promote their work.
You’re a typical author, and you want a way to promote your novel that you can do. You’re worrying that it’s impossible.
It’s not impossible. You can promote your novel by writing. You don’t need to dominate social media with “buy my book!” messages, or create a book trailer, or… Whatever. While there are a thousand things you can do to market your book, there’s one way you can do it without hassle — you can write and publish short stories.
Your simple book marketing plan for your novel: how to use short stories for promotion
I spend a lot of time on Amazon. I browse the virtual book shelves because I’m a reader, but I also want to know what’s selling. Over the past 12 months, I’m delighted that traditional publishers seem to be pushing their authors to use short stories and novellas for promotion. Or maybe these savvy authors are doing it proactively.
Either way, you can do what they do.
Here’s a very simple book marketing plan which uses short stories for promotion. Modify it as you wish — make it your own. Don’t forget our fourth step: compile your short stories into a bundle, and sell that ebook too.
A tip: leave your solo short stories for readers to discover. Don’t remove any from publication just because you’ve included them in a bundle.
1. Publish a short story while you’re writing your novel. (Make it low-priced. Or just post the story on your blog.)
You’re writing your novel. Whether or not it’s going smoothly, take a few minutes each day for a week or two to work on a short story.
Use our basic short story template:
Someone — Your Main Character — Wants Something.
He wants to achieve a specific goal. He also has a hidden need. For example, your character, Fred, an accountant, might want a promotion at work. His hidden need is to build his confidence.
Write a page or two so that the reader gets to know and like the character.
Publish the short story while you’re writing your novel.
Vital: create a signup page for a mailing list, and add a link to the signup page in the back or front matter of the story. Any reader who signs up to your list after reading your story may well buy your novel… they like you. 🙂
2. Three weeks before your novel’s publication day: post another short story.
Happy days. Publication day is in sight. You’ve got your cover, and someone’s proofing the final copy of your novel.
Write a quick short story that has some relation to your novel. Maybe it’s set in the same location as your novel, or is a prequel. It doesn’t matter how slender the connection: write the story, and publish it.
Don’t forget to include the link to your signup page.
3. Publish another short story (or novella) a month after publication day.
Publication day has come and gone. For better or worse, your novel is now available for readers… It’s time to write another short story, or a novella, to kick your novel along.
Your novel will appear on various “new” or “just released” lists on the ebook retailers for around four weeks after publication day. This gives your novel a little boost. Then a month after you publish, it drops off those lists.
This is the danger period — kick Amazon and the other ebook retailers back into life with your new short story. It will appear on the “new” lists and gives your novel a boost.
Again, don’t forget to add the link to your mailing list signup page to the back matter.
4. Three months after publication: compile your short stories into a bundle, and sell it.
It’s three months since you published your novel. You’re hard at work on another novel.
Take a few hours and write another short story. Add all your other short stories, and bundle them into a collection. Publish it.
Of course, you’ll let readers know that they can read a novel you’ve published. Add the novel’s links on the various ebook retailers to your signup page.
Remember to use social media to promote your short stories — and your novel too, of course
We’ve talked about writing short stories. Don’ t forget to promote each story as you publish it.
You’ve now got quite a collection of books you can promote… You have the short stories you’ve written, and the bundle, and your novel too.
You’re doing a wonderful job of promoting your novel, and you’re doing it in the way you do best. You’re writing. Kudos to you. 🙂
Discover how to write and profit from short stories
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that’s excellent… Here’s why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. Discover how, with Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories; it’s now available at ebook retailers.