Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Marketing yourself

There's a self-publisher living close to me. I know this, because yesterday I came home to find a bookmark-sized card on my doormat announcing his new novel. I thought this was a pretty nifty piece of advertising, because it made me check out the web site as soon as I was online.

However, I think in this case, the author is missing a trick. The web site is a single page on the printer's site. And it's pretty basic. It gives the briefest of blurbs and ways to buy. It does link to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Again, unfortunately, another trick missed. The Twitter account is the printer's account, not the author's; and the same with LinkedIn. The Facebook account is the author's private account, so there's no information unless you befriend him. If you list Facebook, then you should at least make it public, or set up a completely new page for your novel.

I was particularly interested in this because soon I'm going to have to think of my own marketing ploys, and I realised how easy it is to not go the full hog. It sounds easy, I suppose, when you're thinking about all the things you could do, but actually getting around to doing them takes time. It's also easy to fall into the trap of thinking your work will speak for itself which hopefully for this author it will - but before that, readers have to know that this work is out there. The bookmark drop was good for my area, but how far out did he go?

I'm lucky that I have this blog, with a good selection of followers. I'm thinking about the design of a dedicated page here, and also a new page on Facebook. I'm not on Twitter, and I think signing up just to say 'buy my book' wouldn't go down well, so I'm probably not going to follow that route. After that, though, I'm stumped. What else can I do?

Like I said, the bookmark drop is a fantastic idea, but sadly someone beat me to it.

27 comments:

  1. Annalisa, I think you're doing a great job at marketing before your work is out and that's by forming relationships by blogging.
    I found Goodreads very helpful, but I'm still working out how to use it best. I've met some great people there.
    I will soon be putting up a Resources page on my blog for authors and writers. Marketing will be one of the topics. I'll discuss what's worked for me and what did not. Since much of my 'global' and 'international' promotion will be done Feb-Mar, I want to wait for the results and then post them. I haven't even gone local yet, that's next (newspapers, radio, television). I'll let you know when the resources page is done:)

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  2. I wouldn't not do a bookmark just because he did it already. (Does that sentence make sense?)People aren't going to think, "oh what a copy cat, I'm not reading her book" or, "yeah, I already have a bookmark, so no thanks." It's a good idea, go for it. :)

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  3. Thanks Marta, I've just had a look at GoodReads. Looks like something I definitely need to get on to. And I'll check your blog when your Resources page is up - that sounds perfect for me.

    Rachel - I'm just imagining my neighbours faces when they get loads of bookmarks through their doors! Also, I like to be unique - so maybe I just need something slightly different to post.

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  4. Readers love bookmarks! Just because he already did it doesn't mean you shouldn't. Maybe you could ask different bookstores if it would be ok to leave some free bookmarks on the counter for people to grab.

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  5. Nicole, my book will be published as an ebook only, so I can't advertise in bookshops. My only local one is independent, and needs all the business she can get.

    D'oh... equally, how daft is a bookmark for an ebook. I hadn't even thought of that! I think I'll just go and bang by head against a wall to knock some sense back in.

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  6. That would bother me too. I mean, it's like I came to your web page to find out about you and all I get is info on the printer? Not my cup of tea. I think it's good for readers to connect to authors in a personal way. Blogspot are good for that and twitter and facebook are too. You should still join twitter because I think you'll find the connections valuable. I do anyway!

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  7. J.A. - I'm not planning to join Twitter yet because I'm not sure how regularly I'll use it, and I want to make sure I use it to its best advantage when I do. I'll need help when I do plunge in though!

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  8. Pick the social media you like best and connect with people. I like twitter. But like everything else, you have to actually talk to people and sell you, not your books.

    Then supplement your online world with the real world. Get involved in things that bring you in touch with others.

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  9. I'm more neutral on the bookmark idea. It's all about people feeling connected with you and therefore wanting to buy your book. A bookmark doesn't make me feel at all connected with an author - not that it's a bad idea but I think blogging and other forms of social networking are so much more effective.
    xoRobyn

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  10. I have received postcards of author's book covers announcing their books and that was very eye-catching. Since I'm a sucker for a pretty cover, when a postcard that is like a little piece of art comes to me, I'm apt to check out the book. I think you have to pick the social media outlet you are most comfortable with and stick with it. Too difficult to try to keep up multiple places, I think.

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  11. With it being an ebook, I think Twitter is the perfect place. Yes, people who just tweet, please buy my book, don't go down well. It's about interacting with people, building friendships/relationships and then popping in the odd tweet about your book. I have set up by blog so that every time I post, there is a link straight up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Twitter doesn't take a huge amount of time and you will find some great people on there. I've met a few at the crime writers festival I attended last year and I now class them as friends.

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  12. M Pax - I agree. The whole idea of marketing and selling is hard enough, without having to learn a whole new social interaction.

    Robyn - The bookmark worked because I checked out the website, but the info there fell short of what I was expecting. Ditto the Facebook page, which had nothing at all. He had half a good idea - he just needs to follow up with the other half, and then he would be connecting.

    Julie - I find it hard to keep up with all the blogs, as it is, let alone adding anything new. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles.

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  13. Rebecca - The people who use Twitter say such great things about it. For me, it's a case of never say never... My plan is to get hole of Nicola Morgan's Tweet Right book and go from there, once everything's calmed down.

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  14. There's a whole marketing industry, yet it seems writers are expected to do it for themselves - even those who have publishers behind them. It doesn't seem fair.

    How about a competition to win a copy? That might create some publicity.

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  15. I had postcards made and sent them to everyone I'd known in the past who might be tickled that I'd written a book. I also did a blog tour, which I think was extremely effective for reaching many people all over. Bloggers who offered to just give me a guest post then offered to review the book too, because they liked it. So that multiplied the exposure. There was always a book giveaway with the blog visit. So I did shotgun approach with mail marketing and social networking, and then rifle aproach by drilling down where it made sense (meaning where I knew people or had an in) - readings and book signings where I live now and where I grew up. This year, it will be building on that with grassroots connections - classroom visits and readings (oh - it's a children's book!). I've yet to figure out how to really capitalize on twitter - so far I think it works like blogger - you have to make some individual friends. I found some people on twitter who blog and they offered to host me and do reviews. There's a zillion people on there, but I think you still have to find them one by one. Most of them will just be shouting about their own books :-)Would be happy to share more if you want to stop by and say hi to me.

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  16. I love the idea of a bookmark through the door, but agree that a postcard would be better for an ebook :-)

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  17. Patsy - I suppose writers are marketing themselves as a person, so you have to do a lot of that yourself. Years ago, the book would have spoken for itself, but I think the rise of Twitter, blogging etc means readers want to talk directly to the writer. And, yes, I'm sure there will be competitions!

    Melissa - thank you so much for such a detailed response. It sounds like you made a tremendous effort which worked really well. Did you find all other writing had to stop for a while? Thanks for the follow, too - I'll definitely be stopping by.

    Sarah - I bet you're wondering why it took me so long to figure out why it was a silly idea for me!

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  18. Annalisa: writing completely stopped! Maybe there are those who could find time and energy for both, but I'm not one of them! And, I wanted to really enjoy the book launch and for once not berate myself for what I wasn't doing - I can honestly say that I loved every minute, but now I am thrilled to get back to my writing!

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    1. That's what I'm a little nervous of. Especially since my concentration hasn't been the same since my novella was accepted. Oh well, I suppose you just have to look at it as a different part of the same job! Enjoy the writing, again!

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  19. ...prior to my novel coming out, I actually started a file with marketing techniques. It's funny, the ones I thought would work, made little impact, while several other ideas, the ones I nearly abandoned, turned out big sales.

    Lesson learned. Try anything ;)

    El

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    1. It's interesting that different things worked for you than you were expecting. I'm tempted to ask what ideas worked the best, but I understand that's probably a state secret! :-)

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  20. I'm releasing a new book tomorrow and had not thought of this idea. Seems expensive to have these printed. Maybe Vista Prints offers something along this line that's economical.

    And good points about the networking accounts should be personal.

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    1. Good luck with your book. I'll stop by your blog tomorrow, because I'm sure you'll be mentioning more.

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  21. Surely he hasn't cornered the market on the bookmark drop idea. No reason you can't do it too - but better =D

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    1. I suppose not, but how many bookmarks through the door would be too many. I suppose it would all depend on how many secret novelists I've got in my neighbourhood!

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  22. I am not the right person to be advising but blog tours and guest posts on other authors' blogs seem to work for some, even a giveaway where people tweet about your book or share on FB is considered 'happening'.

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    1. I've been thinking about a blog tour, but I have no idea how to go about that. I'll probably being posting with further cries for help closer to the date. Thanks for commenting.

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