We've all heard stories on the love-hate relationship writers have with marketing. However, they are responsible for promoting themselves and their "babies" to fulfill their writing potential (and bring home the bacon).
Here's Gracy Wynter from Writer Unboxed getting down to the nitty-gritty:
The hard truth is—whether your path to publishing is via the traditional, indie, or hybrid route—if you want a sustainable writing career that involves receiving income and reaching as much of your target audience as possible, you'll need to do some marketing.
Lucky for you, there are many marketing tools out there to help you promote your book and make your life easier. And as long as you learn to embrace marketing, you'll have a blast using them.
In this post, we'll talk about the importance of marketing for writers and we'll walk you through the best marketing tools to help you get the right eyes on your content, books or whatever it is that you're writing.
As a writer, you need to do more than write.
According to Copyblogger, "If you take a look at the most successful (or talked about) people in any field, you'll almost always see someone incredibly talented in the art of self-promotion. "
This stuff is powerful.
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books, sold over 27 million copies in 109 countries. In an interview forAustralian Writers' Center, he said, "I am a best-selling author, I am not the best writing author. What I do is when I'm writing, I'm selling constantly, I am a salesman, I am not a writer."
So would you rather be a best-selling author or a best writing author?
What I'm trying to say is I get that for many self-published authors, writing is in their wheelhouse. But selling should also be their top priority. Because being an author is like running a small business. You have your software purchases whether Scrivener or Squibler. And you have to think about your brand, your products (books) and create buzz by promoting your mission.
For author Danny Iny, there are two big reasons why writers need marketing:
You won't make money without marketing
Your writing won't be any good
To defend his first reason, Danny thinks that, "without marketing, odds are that nobody will be reading your work, and even if they do, you won't be making any money off of it." He also points out that:
Without marketing, you can't grow an audience, and you can't build a brand
Without marketing, you can't align your work with the needs of readers and buyers
And without marketing, you can't make sales
According to Danny, the other reason why authors can't do without marketing is that "it's very hard to be a very good writer who is a very bad marketer, or vice versa. If writing is about getting people to think, feel, and act---so is marketing," he adds. Both writing and marketing have to do with understanding your audience.
Here's something from Danny to put you in the right mindset:
"If you think you're a fantastic writer, but you just don't 'get' marketing, then one way or another, you're kidding yourself---either you 'get' marketing better than you think, or you aren't the writer you think you are. Because while so much of writing is artistic---for example, voice, style, and tone---and so much is a function of creativity and inspiration, what sets the best writers apart is their ability to get into the heads of the reader, and create something that will truly resonate."
Without further mentions, here's our list of marketing tools for everyone who wants to create a steady income from their writing.
As an author building your platform, StoryOrigin is a great help. It's a "one-stop-shop" to meet other authors in your genre and manage cross-promotions. When you join StoryOrigin, you become part of a community of author superheroes that work together to build email lists, boost sales, and find reviewers. StoryOrigin takes care of file delivery, customer support, and store link localization, so that you can focus on your writing.
Think of GoodReads as Facebook for book lovers. Once you're in, you gain access to a massive audience of more than 90 million readers. What makes it notable is you can share the books you're reading, explore suggestions and review books. GoodReads provides authors with several marketing tools, like creating an author bio and listing their books, running a book giveaway, or setting up Q&A sessions.
Since a lot of book lovers use the website to look up new reads, you want to put yourself out there and raise your chances to gain more readers.
"People love lists because they are easy to read and full of valuable information. Bloggers love them because they don't require as much effort to put together and readers love them because they get all the information they need in a matter of minutes," says Social Media Today. And we couldn't agree more.
List.ly is an interactive tool that allows you to create, curate and share lists. Plus, you can embed your lists on your website (including Wordpress personalizations with the Listly plugin). The great thing about it is you can share your lists on social networks and email them to anyone you like.
Oh, and other users can share your lists on their websites, which can raise awareness about your book and bring more traffic to your blog or website.
Pretty cool, right?
SimpleReach (who recently joined Nativo) is a tool that helps you track your content's performance across websites, social channels and third-party publishers. Entrepreneur calls it "one hub that lets you measure engagement and conversions, so you know what content and which channels deliver the highest returns."
They also offer "native ad programs and paid content distribution, which clients like The Atlantic and The New York Times use to expand their reach and readership."
According to SmallBizTrends.com, AMC is a "free service created by Jim Kukral aimed to help authors who don't have a clue how to market their books. The service is also available for readers who want access to new and free releases."
AMC offers tools and training to help authors get more reviews and sell more books. It also includes a forum to connect with other authors, free landing pages for books and video materials on how to successfully upload books to Amazon.
By the way, if video is your thing, Lumen5 is an easy to useonline video maker that helps anyone to create engaging video content within minutes (no experience required).
In this day and age, authors can't afford to miss out on opportunities to reach more readers, so it's time to turn paper into digital.
Ebooks are super easy to market. When you publish a book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon starts promoting your book immediately. KDP provides a complete guide to help you format and market your Kindle book.
Who said you should stop at Amazon? GoodKindles---“Where Writers Meet Readers,” is a smart platform you can use to reach new readers and raise your chances of selling your ebooks.
"When you submit your book, it will appear at the top of our home page on a day of your choice, and it will be put in front of thousands of readers, our newsletter subscribers and our social profile followers". Your book will be listed permanently on the site and in a daily newsletter.
Publishing a new book is like welcoming your new baby into the world. If you want to do it the right way, you have to use Amazon to your advantage.
The first thing you should do is to set up your Amazon Author Central account (your author homepage) and write in your book's description. It's a free marketing tool authors use to get exposure, share contact information, and keep an eye on their sales.
Once you create your Author Page, you can:
Add your books to your Author Page
In your Author Central account, you can:
"Similar to Goodreads, LibraryThing offers benefits to authors beyond just a biography---including Author Chats, book giveaways and an Early Reviewers program to help get some buzz before your book releases," saysMashable.com.
However, keep in mind that LibraryThing is a place to connect with readers, not a place to advertise. According to their Terms of Service, "Do not use LibraryThing as an advertising medium. Egregious commercial solicitation is forbidden."
Everyone loves a giveaway---they're a fun and effective way to give back & grow a community of readers.
Rafflecopter is a kick-ass platform to run a giveaway in no more than 3 minutes. You can customize your giveaway, so it matches your brand or promotional event. When your contest is over, Rafflecopter reminds you via email to pick the winner.
Plus, the free version will connect your Rafflecopter account to your Facebook author page for extra exposure. So how about making Rafflecopter giveaways a regular part of your marketing arsenal?
Bonus Idea: Lean Into Online Communities and Fanfiction
There are many sites like Commaful and Wattpad that allow you to post snippets of your work that you can then use to promote your book. Both are home to large audiences of readers, so if things take off, your sales can go off the charts.
The trick is to post just a teaser of your book and strategically plan where you cut it off. The more of a cliffhanger the story is, the more likely people will go buy your book. People will also comment things like “What happens next?” which further increases the reach of the story as most communities-driven platforms reward engagement.
If you want to be extra clever, you can try hosting a contest on one of these sites. Both have large fanfiction communities (like this one) and you can capitalize on that by having them create fanfiction of your work. Not only are you getting exposure from the story, but now there are others promoting your characters and universe on your behalf.
Over to You
Back in the days, writers didn't have to worry about promotion and advertising---that was the editor's job.
There's a science to successful marketing. Hopefully, after learning about these ten stellar tools, you feel more equipped to promote your writing business and get ahead of the game.
About the author: Josh Fechter is the Co-founder of Squibler