M is for Marketing Your Book

Welcome again to our series of blog posts where eight of us – Devika Fernando, Preethi Venugopala, Paromita Goswami, Adite Banerjie, Ruchi Singh, Reet Singh, Saiswaroopa Iyer and I – will post on a myriad of writing-related topics with the topic corresponding to the Alphabet of the Week. Today, I’ll be talking about marketing your book.

At the beginning of my writing career, I assumed that a writer’s life would be about writing and nothing else but writing. That was until reality hit me. So yes, there are LOTS of books out there and there’s no way that you’ll find your readers unless you market yourself and your product – your book. Just like many other new authors, it took me a couple of books to get my marketing game into shape. And while you can hire an assistant to do your marketing work for you, it’s cheaper and wise to know what is involved. Here are some pointers based on my own experience as a traditionally published author and a self published author too.

  1. Embrace Social Media: Whether you like it or not, social media is a vital tool when it comes to book marketing. It isn’t just about posting links to your books when they are released, but more about building relationships with your potential audience and networking with others in the writing community. You can’t expect hundreds of people to buy your book immediately unless they are interested in you and your writing in the first place. So what should you do? Keep your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feed engaging with content ranging from your own blog posts to your shorter fiction and cool stuff that isn’t about you but somehow relates to your passions and your books. For example, I feel strongly about mental health matters and my first book deals with negative body image, so I post links to articles about these.

2. Start Before the Book Launch: DO NOT wait until your book is live on Amazon (or other book seller sites) to start talking about it. Pre-launch activities generate interest in your books. That means that you need to have a marketing plan chalked out months before. Creating social media buzz with excerpts is one example of how that works. Giving out early reader copies to book bloggers is a must too. Hold a Facebook LIVE event and get talking to your readers. Schedule blog posts that are relevant to your book from some time ahead.

3. Get Media Savvy: Guest posts on other authors’ blogs or on writing/book blogs are an inexpensive way to market your author brand and your books. Pitch to magazines, blogs and any publication or even podcast where you think you can provide valuable content. Once you do that, more people will know about you and your books. Easy, right?

4. Write a Series: Writing a series can bring you loyal readers in large numbers. Most bookworms have a tendency of getting hooked to a series so you know they’ll read the next and the next if you keep the plot going. Later on, you could sell these together as a box set, which is something that many authors and publishers do.

5. Time Your Release Right: Certain times of the year bring about specially themed books. For instance, Christmas books set around the holiday season are popular at the end of the year. Then if there’s a news event that you could associate with your book, go ahead and release it then when the theme or topic is all over the news and in people’s conversation and thoughts. I remember seeing books about Queen Padmavati all over the place when there was a controversy about the movie based on her story.

These are just a few of the many ways you can get yourself into book marketing mode. Remember that whatever image you are projecting online and offline will be linked to your books. So keep it professional, clean and just the way you’d want your readers to see you. Spend money on paid ads if you can afford it. Get some bookmarks made and ask the local bookstore if they’ll keep them. Spend money on a book trailer. There’s a lot you can do. Getting the word out there about YOU and your book and letting that translate into sales is the goal. Get your budget and plan ready and get going!

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