Monday, August 27, 2012

#OBSummer Guest Post by Sybil Nelson

Marketing as a Bind
by Sybil Nelson

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What are your thoughts?

Personally, I see marketing as a necessary evil. I would much rather be writing my next book than marketing the ones that are already out there. But it takes a balance of writing and marketing in order to have a successful career as an author. I definitely notice a dip in my sales when I take a short break from my many and varied marketing ventures. But if I spend all my time marketing then I won’t have any new books to release in order to keep my current fans satisfied. How do you keep that balance and where do you begin?

We’ve all heard it before: You have to build your platform. You have to have a web presence. You have to get readers and followers. I used to think, hey, I’ll get published and then the marketing department of my publishing house will do that for me. Well, the more and more I read, the more I learn that most publishing houses nowadays do not have means to give first time authors a large enough marketing budget. Especially with small presses, but increasingly with the larger ones, authors are left to build publicity for their writing solo. And if you wait until you’re already accepted by a publisher and have a publication date, you may be too late in the publication game. That’s not to say that it’s too late for you, but it’s like being the pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth when your team is down by three and the bases are loaded. Sure, you could hit a grand slam and win the game, but at that point, you’d be extremely fortunate to just get a hit and keep hope alive.

For a while I was kind of skeptical as to how important it was to have a web following. Can you sell books without one? Sure you can. But then I started thinking about all the books that have come about just from web presence alone. For example, the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid did not start out as a book. It started out as a series of daily diary entries published on a website, much like a blog.

Here are some ideas to get you started on your marketing venture:

Author Website: Make it professional. Offer some samples of your writing and your contact info.

Blog: Get creative. There are plenty of blogs from struggling writers talking about their struggles and giving advice on how to make it (This one included). But the blog for marketing my book is found at . Here, my main character offers her opinions on the latest movies, books and music.

Book trailer: I think a book trailer is a good way to build interest in your book. I don’t think book trailers directly lead to sales but they’re fun to make and who knows, maybe they’ll become viral. Be sure to include a link that directs readers to your book.

Twitter: This is a good way to get out the latest information about you or your book. Don’t just tweet about yourself though. That gets old. Have a dialogue with your fans and promote other authors from time to time.

Facebook: This is my favorite way to communicate with my fans.

Newsletter: Build up your newsletter list one email address at a time. Then every time you have a new release you can let your most loyal fans know and perhaps get an instant surge in sales.

Write the next book: One of the best ways to increase your sales is to write another book. The more you have published the more you can sell. To accomplish this, I like to give myself daily writing goals.


Genre - Middle Grade 
Rating - G

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