Okay, yes, I know. I said I wasn’t going to write about writing for writers. But I never said I wouldn’t talk about marketing for writers. Like usual, something is driving me nuts and so I’m blogging about it. What’s new?
Besides – my blogs like this are really meant to HELP my fellow writers regardless the amount of snark.
So I know I’ve already blogged about writers who refuse to market themselves and hate social media, but today I want to talk about writers who do marketing and don’t tell anyone about it, and writers who have opportunities for marketing thrown in front of them, but they kindly bow out for whatever reason.
Yes — there are people who do this and it makes no sense! Seriously people, if you have books and short stories available, you have to tell people they exist or no one will know – or care. So I’m going to share some personal experiences I’ve had with new writers recently, and my thoughts on each.
First scenario — a new writer with a their first (or second) book does a blog tour. For those who don’t know, a blog tour is where you write a series of articles, or do a series of interviews across several blogs to promote a book. The point of the blog tour is to get exposure. Not only for yourself — but also the blog. It’s give and take, people! Said writer does not tell anyone (via their writing social media) which blog they’re on that day. They just don’t mention it AT ALL. Nor do they stop by to post and say “Thank You” to the blog owner, which is proper etiquette by the way. I guess they figure the blog’s regular readers will see it, and there’s no reason to tell their existing readers about it.
My question is: Why not? Your readers might get excited about a blog hosting an interview with you and share the link with their friends! They may want to read what you have to say!
What can we learn from this? If you are doing a blog tour — TELL YOUR READERS ABOUT IT! Post links to the blog you’ll be on. Start the buzz! Also – be sure to thank the blog owner. A comment in the blog is always welcome, especially if readers have commented. You should at least say hi. Mentioning your marketing things on your author pages or on twitter alerts readers what’s going on with you. The more you’re doing, the more interesting you become. If people see you constantly doing signings and blog tours, and interviews etc… they’ll be curious about your books. They’ll want to see what all the buzz is about. Do you see what I’m saying?
On that note, there are also ways to make things like this seem more personal and less like marketing. Especially if you’re concerned about over promoting yourself. (Which a lot of new writers seem to be.)
For example, instead of saying, “I’m doing a book signing at Bob’s Book Shop on Saturday at two!” say, “I am so excited to see all my readers at Bob’s Book Shop on Saturday at two! Anyone local – come on down. It will be fun!” See how you can make it personal and not nearly as annoying? You can do that with all promo stuff you post. Talk about your excitement to see people, or how you’re thankful for someone else’s efforts to help promote you. Or how much you love the bookstore you’re signing at. You’re a writer — be creative!!
Second Scenario – A writer is published in an anthology and has an opportunity to do an author takeover on a FB event to promote the release of said anthology + promote his/her other work. She politely bows out because she’s nervous, or doesn’t know what she’s doing, or just doesn’t see it as her job to do the promotion. Umm — actually it IS your job to help promote it. That’s part of the writing gig, baby! You know what they call writers who don’t promote? They call them unknown!
So – take that slot whether you know what the hell you’re doing or not. Chances are you’ll have plenty of time to ask other authors to help you out, or attend a few author events to plan what you’ll do during your slot. The whole point of author takeovers is each author brings his/her fans to the party, and by default – the fans of one author are introduced to the other authors, and subsequently their books! Think of it as a big party where the core group (writers) all invite their friends so everyone can meet everyone.
What? You don’t have anything else to promote? Well, you likely have an author page to promote. Or a blog you can direct readers to. You can also help promote fellow anthology authors and the anthology itself. Or you can just show up to support the authors who are doing the takeovers.
I know! I get it. Marketing is tough. There is no fail proof formula and you don’t want to piss everyone off so they stop following you on FB. Yes – sometimes it’s a crapshoot. Two of my pen names only have a few hundred fans, while the other two have thousands. I have built each fan-base one reader at a time. Not just by self promoting and doing online events, but by talking to people about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Sometimes we just talk about cats. That can be enough to hook someone on your books. I’ve also made fantastic friends this way.
So make a little noise! Talk to people about cats (or dogs, or snakes, or fish). Do some events! Talk about that book signing! Don’t be shy!
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Laozi