Disclaimer . . . I’m terrible at marketing so I won’t blame you if you skip this week’s column.
Oh, you’re still here. Okay, l guess l should actually put some effort into the topic of marketing for writers. So, here goes nothing.
All jokes aside though, I am sort of terrible when it comes to marketing myself and my works. It’s one of my many weaknesses. Some other examples of my weaknesses include running, the ability to maintain a positive balance in my bank account and spelling corrctly.
If you caught the joke in the last sentence, then you can delete “tell bad jokes” from the weakness list.
So, in order to improve in the marketing area, I thought I’d write a column about the subject. So, without further ado, here are a couple tips that I found during my research this week.
- Increase your Social Media presence. This is a broad tip, sure, but this is more of a summary than an actual full blown explanation. Social Media is by far the best tool that an author has when it comes to marketing themselves. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, even TikTok have a book community. I’m now in my upper 30’s and therefore considered to be archaic. I was talking to a senior in high school regarding social media and it turns out that not too many of the younger generation use Facebook anymore. It’s all Instagram and TikTok. Weird times indeed. If you’re rich enough to afford to purchase books in a Barnes & Noble store (I like to walk through it and dream), you might’ve noticed that they have a display of #booktok novels. For those that don’t understand hashtag culture, BookTok is a book community on TikTok. There are a lot of great books that would’ve gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for BookTok. Examples include It Ends With Us (Colleen Hoover), The Midnight Library (Matt Haig), and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid). Would they have gained such popularity if it wasn’t for TikTok? Sure, probably. However, it would’ve been a slow burn.
- Start a Newsletter. Do you have a new book coming out? Are you doing a cool new giveaway or contest? Do you have an upcoming author event? If you have a newsletter, you can inform your readership about all of that and more. I must’ve tried building a newsletter twice and I’ve failed each time. It’s not for a lack of things to say either. It’s just that it takes a lot of work to cultivate and maintain a newsletter. Mailchimp is a pretty good service if you’re looking to create a newsletter. They’ve got a free option and then they have what’s called the Premium option that costs $350. Per month. Yes, I wrote that corrctly (see above joke)… $350 per month. That’s more than I paid for an XBox. From my experience, the free option suited me just fine. It wasn’t hard to use and it looked as if it would do the job. I just never followed through with it. Having said that, you should totally not pull a Jim and follow through with starting a newsletter. Newsletters serve as another method for authors to connect with their fanbase.
- Listen to your elders. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Not everything your elders tell you is applicable to today’s society. I had one elderly relative once tell me that they used to drink radium laced water as a child. That’s right, look it up. People used to drink what was nicknamed as “liquid sunshine” back in the early 1900’s. You think that’s crazy, but today’s people drink energy drinks (and I bet most of them can’t tell you what’s in those things). However, about 98.5 percent of what elders tell you is good advice. I use the term “elders” in a loose manner. Basically, listen to authors that have more experience than you do. YouTube has a plethora of videos about how to market yourself and your writing. I would say listen to people like me, but honestly…you probably shouldn’t be listening to people like me. Or James Patterson. Basically, don’t listen to anyone named Jim or James. Maybe listen to James Earl Jones, but only if he talks in his Mufasa or Darth Vader voice.
You know, as I’m writing this I’ve discovered that these tips could be expanded into full fleshed out column topics. So, that’s what I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be sharing with you my experiences about these three tips. I’ll also have practical and applicable advice about how to market yourself as an author.
Until then, keep calm and write on!
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