Marketing and writing: two things that many authors wish were more separate. Unfortunately for those who are marketing-shy, it’s not really possible to ignore it completely if you want your book to be read.
The good news is, you don’t have to sell your morals to do the basics. It doesn’t even have to be all that unpleasant to do. By being more visible online, opportunities will make their way to you with much more ease.
(I am speaking as someone who’s just spent a fair few days trying to track down contact details for 60+ authors, with varying degrees of difficulty.)
Step 1: have a website
Ideally, you should have a website. Even if it’s just one page, with a contact form and a link to your books/writing online. If you are publishing or performing your work at all, people will probably Google you. Would you rather they land on this, or on a random page that has nothing to do with your writing?
- About.meis a great tool if you don’t want the responsibility of a full website. It’s the digital equivalent of a business card.
- Wordpress is the go-to website for many authors as there are so many ways you can customize it. You can also use it to blog regularly.
- Wixis more of a website than a blog (though you can use it for blogging too). It gives you lots of flexibility in terms of design.
Whichever route you choose, do not forget to include a way for people to contact you.
Step 2: social media
This step demands a little bit more involvement on your part, but it comes with numerous rewards. Social media is a great way to connect not only with your readers, but also with other authors and publishers. There’s a thriving community out there, and ideas are often fermented and put together through them.
If you are not on social media, you are essentially missing out on the writer’s equivalent of the water-cooler moment, the cigarette break, and the after-work pub rolled in one.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, social media isn’t really the place for you to be overly promotional. The occasional tweet or post about your book is completely fine, but they have to be a minority of your output. Use social media to network with others, to share interesting links, and to find out more about the world of your particular genre.
Step 3: give back
There are so many ways you could promote your work without seeming like a spambot. One of these is to provide value. This could mean a number of things, such as:
- writing informative blog posts
- promoting other authors through interviews, or by featuring them on your website
- organizing events in your local community
- joining Goodreads and organizing a giveaway of your book
- reviewing other authors
- doing and sharing research on a topic of interest to others
Step 4: treat others as human beings
This one should go without saying, but sometimes authors forget this in their quest to promote their books.
Try to avoid hounding other authors to promote your book, using their Facebook wall or Twitter mentions as if they were an advertising space, or any other similar behaviour.
These authors are people too, with their own thing going on.
People respond to people. Be reasonable. Be kind. Remember step 3.