Friday, April 15, 2011

Marketing and Promotion for Writers

I've heard it takes someone three years to build up their writer's platform. If you start when you have a book signed, it's too late.

Promoting a book is difficult and sometimes frustrating. You can't constantly talk about your book or people get bored and annoyed. You never should spam people with advertisements about your book either. Word of mouth from others is wonderful. Book reviews, people mentioning the book to their friends, that's great. Only, you as the author can't do it as much for your own book.

Then how do you get people to find out about your book or much less want to buy it if they discover it?

I'll tell you a little secret. The key to promotion is promoting yourself.

That's right. Being you will sell more books than talking about your book. You must become recognizable. The reason the big authors sell is because they are a brand name. Almost everyone has heard of James Patterson, Stephen King, JK Rowling, etc. They are a brand. Combine that brand with word of mouth and it will sell books.

How does an author build a platform?

It isn't easy and it takes time. Before the internet, authors would go on book tours, libraries, bookstores, malls, etc. They would talk to people, give talks, make themselves known. Some authors still do that, and if you have a print book, I highly recommend considering donating a copy to libraries, talk to managers at bookstores. It can help.

Now, though, we have social networking. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Goodreads, Linkedin, etc. There are many places out there, and you don't have to do them all. It doesn't hurt to pick a one and see how it goes. Be yourself. Find ways to find readers. If you're a mystery writer, join in on mystery reader groups. Fantasy, science fiction, do the same. Be willing to learn and grow. It takes time, but it's worth it.

As for myself, I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and Goodreads. I joined Blogger and Goodreads to build my platform, but you know what, I've enjoyed meeting the people on there so much and have learned more from my Blogger friends than I ever thought.

In the end, it's important to find what works for you.

Oh, and don't forget to write the best book you can. That's very important too. *grins*


Cats! said...

Great advice, Cherie.

Sara Thompson said...

How soon is too soon? I want to be a published writer and have 3 completed works but I am starting to doubt their quality and really think they need more work. Should I start promoting when they are ready to be sent to publishers/agents or wait until they've been accepted or just give up because I am not good at promoting anything and just want to hide with my stories?
I understand the importance of working hard to get my brand out there but what if I make a fool of myself and never get published (and this is a little embarrassing just asking)?

Aubrie said...

Great advice! I'm building my platform right now. Phew it takes a lot of work!

Cats! said...

Sara - It can't hurt. Even if you don't go the agent/publisher route, you can always self-publish on Kindle. Just make sure you get an editor or proofreader. If you've got three under your belt, I'm betting you've got skills.

Cherie Reich said...

Sara - I agree with Lisa. There is no such thing as too soon. I know quite a few writers who are unpublished but have blogs. They blog about writing, life, what they've learned through their journey, etc. If you try to do all that's needed to build your platform once you have the book contract, it's almost too late. You don't want to have to scramble to build a readership. If nothing else, find other writers' blogs, start following them, see what works, what doesn't work. Join Twitter and follow authors, agents, publishers. Find your favorite authors and see what they're doing. Every little bit helps.