I learned long ago I’d get further ahead in life if I gave up trying to know everything I need to know and instead focused on knowing the people who already knew what I need to know. Mary Hamilton is one of those people. She writes beautifully. Equally impressive, she manages to sell what she writes in the most gracious, low-key way that has me believing I too can sell what I write. I asked her to share some of her secrets. These appear at HowWiseThen in three installments. Kathryn Haueisen
Tips to Sell What You Publish – Part One
By Author Mary Hamilton
Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, the reality today is that the majority of marketing for your book will be on your shoulders. I find the advantage of publishing my own books is the control it affords me in experimenting with different forms of marketing. Instead of receiving monthly or quarterly reports, I can immediately see any direct results from those efforts. With the publication of my fourth book, which has been completely independently published, I’ve finally begun to understand a few things about marketing.
Marketing is a Never-Ending Effort
First of all, marketing is not a once-and-done thing. It’s a never-ending process of trial and error. What works for one author may not work for another author. What worked for your first book may not work for your second book. While this is frustrating, it also means you can relax, take your time, and not feel like a failure when you don’t see results. Remember, you didn’t learn to write in a week or a month or even a year. You won’t learn how to market in a short period of time either. But one step at a time will get you farther than giving up and believing you’re no good at it.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you there’s a secret tried-and-true recipe. Remember how people said you had to be on Facebook, have an author page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest page, a Google+ account, etc., etc.? You’ll hear the same thing about different marketing efforts. But if you’re overwhelmed with everything you’re “supposed” to be doing, turn off the noise. Ignore it.
Try one Method and Track Results
Pick one method, try it, and keep track of your results. If you don’t see any benefit, move on to another method. You’re in this for the long haul, and if you try several things at once, how will you know which one worked? Experimenting with one method at a time will help you see whether you’re getting any results. Don’t be afraid to go back and try something again if you happen to learn a new angle or nuance to it. Just keep track of what you’re doing and what happens when you do it.
Having said that, let’s talk about a few methods to market your book. We’ll assume you’ve put in the effort to write a quality book. You’ve hired a professional editor and you have a professional-looking cover. The #1 best thing you can do to market your book…is to write more books. Why? Because the more books you publish, the easier it is for your audience to discover you. I recently published my first book in a new genre using a slightly different pen name. So I’m basically starting over in building an audience and a reputation or a brand. People who read this book may enjoy it, but if they look for other books by me in that genre, they won’t find any. And by the time the next one comes out, they probably will have forgotten about me. But as I write more books, my chances improve for drawing in readers and keeping them as fans.
Study the Markets
Make a habit of studying marketing the way you study writing. Read blogs. Purchase and read books about marketing. Some of the books I’ve read include:
How To Market A Book by Joanna Penn
5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors by Penny C. Sansevieri
The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman & Michael Larsen
Many free podcasts and webinars are highly instructive and cost nothing but time. Bryan Cohen runs frequent webinars on various aspects of marketing. Thomas Umstattd, Jr. and James Rubart host some amazing twenty-minute podcasts related to book marketing at www.novelmarketing.com
Check back next week to read about ideas Hamilton has tried and the results.