My students tell me that the biggest challenge they have with book marketing is finding time to do it. Authors are busy, especially those authors who work a day job. Add children to the mix, and you end up writing in the marginalia of your life.
So how do you find time?
Book marketing: time, energy, and money
You need time to promote your books, as well as the enthusiasm for it — and the money, today. So I’m always looking for easy, fast, and low-cost marketing strategies for my students, and of course for me.
Try these tips; they work for my students, so they’re worth trying because they may work for you too.
First, a tip which concerns writing.
1. Many books from one idea: think smaller books and publish more often
In Self-Publishing Tips: How To Sell Books Without Marketing we pointed out:
Amazon doesn’t care whether you publish a book of 100,000 words or 2,000 words. I’ve been encouraging you to write and publish short stories, and short nonfiction too.
We’re on the cusp of 2019. I’ve developed my publishing plans already. If you’re still working on it, and mulling over what you’ll publish next year, consider adding shorter books to the mix.
Think in terms of novellas for fiction.
With nonfiction, think of “easy solutions.” It takes forever to research and write a nonfiction book of 50,000 words. Moreover, the market’s well supplied with them already, in many categories.
Consider short nonfiction.
Start by researching current trends in whichever categories of books you write. Then research trends and crazes in the news media. What movies are coming up which indicate a trend? (Movies set fashions.)
Take a risk, too. When an idea strikes, trust your intuition. Who knows, you may be in the vanguard of a brand new obsession. Rush to publication, and you may sell thousands of copies. (Remember the coloring book craze of a couple of years ago?)
2. Sell your books from your own website, and keep more money
When you sell your books via retailers they of course take a chunk of the profits. When you sell from your own site, you get to keep more money.
That’s a big benefit. Here’s another benefit: by slowly transitioning to “going wide” (publishing everywhere you can), and adding your own website to the mix, it gives you a chance to build community.
When they think “community”, authors tend to think “oh — a Facebook group.” Creating a Facebook group became popular once Facebook started restricting what appears in your news feed, because you get group postings in your feed.
BUT (and it’s a big, juicy but) when you tie your fortunes to a big company, it’s like swimming with a killer whale. Yes, the whale may play nice for a while, but sooner or later, you’ll be swiped to oblivion.
It’s a challenge to set up your own website. However, if you use a website creation company like Squarespace, you can set up an online store in minutes. And the big company takes care of all nuisance housekeeping tasks.
More and more authors are spending time and energy on their own websites. Consider whether it might work for you, going forward.
3. Build your community: reward readers who love what you do (and find new readers)
Authors are hopping onto Patreon too, to build their community of readers. They publish complete short stories on their Patreon blog, then publish the stories elsewhere. They also offer snippets from works in progress.
In 2019 and beyond, building a community around your author name will become imperative. Today, it’s a challenge to find your readers because audiences are so fragmented. The only way to get a wide reach is via advertising, and that’s becoming increasingly expensive, as well as taking lots of time.
Try out different book marketing strategies: test, to see what works for you
We all long for a magic bullet when it comes to book marketing. Unfortunately, no single strategy works for everyone. Nor does any strategy keep working forever, except for carrying on with your writing, while marketing.
Onward, ever onward. And do have fun with it all. 🙂
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Why write serial fiction?
Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.
It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.
If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.More info →
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.More info →