Currently reading - Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Whethr or not writers want to admit this, marketing and promotion are falling more and more on the author's shoulders. Unless you're Stephen King. So, Stephen, please ignore the following post.
Everyone wants the secret, that one thing you can do that will launch your book into the stratosphere. I hate to tell you, but it's like the magic query. It doesn't exist
The following are my marketing suggestions based on what I've observed over the last six years:
Be Polite and Professional
A smile and good, old-fashioned common courtesy go a long way in making your career. This includes both industry professionals such editors and fellow writers as well as your readers. The former are more likely to help you if you're just plain nice. The latter will recommend your books if you make a good impression. By the same token, a diva attitude is the fastest way to kill a career.
Word of Mouth
The most effective promotion I've seen is word of mouth. Think The Bridges of Madison County. Think The Da Vinci Code. Think Twilight. How did you first find out about any of these books?
Back when I worked in a bookstore, a regular customer and I were lamenting the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He said as a Buffy fan I needed to try out this new lady, Sherrilyn Kenyon. I loved her book! Seriously, I handsold the hell out of Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series for my remaining year and a half at the store.
If you can't work in a bookstore, the next best thing is guest blogging and tweeting. Just don't over-hype yourself. By that, I mean talking about your book, and only your book, 24/7. Add a little value. Maybe a conversation about someone else's terrific book you've read lately. A movie you've seen. A new game you've played. Take a look at your interests and strike up a conversation with someone.
Yoda and Obi-Wan (aka Colleen Thompson and Christie Craig) swear by this method for getting their names out to the book-buying public. If you're a people person, then this route may be for you. If you're like me (I used to puke before every court hearing), then find another route that's easier on the stomach.
Bookmarks, Postcards and Flyers
When was the last time you bought a book based on one of these? What makes you think John and Jane Public will be any different?
This is a toughie to admit because frankly, I love decent swag at conferences. Sometimes this may work. Sometimes not. Mints, lip balm, and pens have all come in handy, but I can't honestly say I bought a book because of them except once. Years ago, one gal passed out a variety of teas. She got me hooked on Irish Breakfast tea, but not her Regency romances.
If you can afford them, great. I love wearing author logo shirts. But are they really cost effective? I'd have to say no. Unless you're Wil Wheaton.
If I'm wearing a Star Trek, comic book or Wicked t-shirt, I can guarantee a comment or conversation with a fellow geek. My beloved Christie Craig t-shirt, not so much.
Yeah, wouldn't we all like hordes of adoring fans? Again, if you're Sherrilyn or Stephen or Neil, no problem. The rest of us? Well, mystery author Parnell Hall sings it more eloquently than me.
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