I have a plethora of books in my library on writing, but a dearth on marketing what I’ve written. That’s a mistake. Most authors I know end up spending as much time marketing their books as writing them. Why don’t we get professional guidance as often for the latter as the former?
One reason for me: I have trouble finding books that address the types of online marketing that are affordable (or free–that’s nice) and doable for an author who’d rather write than market. Recently, I found two books I think assist with marketing the newly-published book:
by Fauzia Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I met Fauzia Burke when she was presenting at a San Diego writers conference and came away with no doubt she knew her stuff. I wasn’t surprised she has marketed books for some of my favorite authors (Jeffrey Archer, Dean Koontz, and Daniel Silva to name a few). When her how-to book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2016) became available on NetGalley, I grabbed it.
Based on what I’d seen at her presentation, I expected expert advice that would kickstart the online marketing campaign for my latest novel in a down-to-earth voice with suggestions achievable even for the novice marketer. And that’s exactly what I got. It’s important to note: If you’re looking for a palette of marketing options that includes physical events such as book tours and radio interviews, this may not be the book for you. If you’re looking for online events you can participate in that are low-no cost and the payback on time spent is excellent, this is the right book. Fauzia specializes in showing authors how to use readily-available online tools to market their books such as blogs, websites, social media, and more.
She calls this an introductory book but don’t let that confuse you. I consider myself pretty savvy with online marketing–I’ve published dozens of ebooks over a decade–and I found nuggets that I can make use of immediately. Fauzia organizes the book into three parts:
- Getting organized
- Turning Your Thinking Into Action
- Staying the Course
Each has relevant subtopics like personal branding and know your reader, as well as worksheets to help writers organize their efforts around the specific topic. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- The best part about online marketing is that it levels the playing field.
- How do you prevent your brand from getting lost in all the social media noise? The answer: Be uniquely you. Aim for authenticity.
- …building an effective brand is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Over the years, authors have told me interesting things when it comes to their audience. Most of the time it’s half the planet. “My audience is women…” [this is part of the chapter on knowing how to narrow your audience].
- Develop a long-term relationship with your readers…
- You don’t have to be an early adopter and chase every new social media tool. Use tools that have a track record for success.
- When you look at all the different elements of online marketing, you may feel overwhelmed. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to do it all. You can start slow and small and grow gradually.
- Double down on what’s working and ditch what’s not.
- The bottom line is this: Don’t spam ever, on any network. Always show respect for others and their time.
Overall, this book is highly recommended to all authors who are trying to market their book and just need a few meaty suggestions to make that go well.
by Dana Kaye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dana Kaye’s Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-by-step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales (Diversion Books 2016) came recommended by several friends when I was whining about the lack of success I was having marketing my latest novel. While Kaye doesn’t have even a decade of experience in publicity, she does have a fresh eye and addictive enthusiasm. Once I got started reading, it was easy to see why her ideas were so valuable to writers.
Rather than the linear approach to marketing in Fauzia Burke’s book above, Kaye writes about typical problems writers might have with marketing and how to fix them using both online and physical solutions. She includes topics such as branding, online media, pitching, social media, in-person branding, and promotions, often with worksheets so readers can determine how to fit the topics into their world. A nice inclusion is a sample campaign and a suggested timeline for events.
Here are some of my favorite suggestions:
- Book promotion is more of an art than a science. What works for one author may not work for another…
- The first step is to always write a good book.
- All authors, regardless of audience, will need an author website. This serves as your online business card,
- All websites should include the following: [and then Kaye tells you what the critical pieces are].
- …always pay for your images through stock photo companies; never pull images from the web.
- To stay focused, answer the following questions: Does your audience prefer print or e-books? Where do they get their information (TV, radio, websites)? What else do they read (newspapers, magazines, blogs)? Where do they buy their books (online, grocery stores, chain bookstores)? What social media platforms do they utilize (Facebook, Twitter…).
- There are many companies that will charge you thousands of dollars to boost your SEO, not telling you about the many easy ways you can do it for yourself. One of those ways is securing online media coverage.
- A press kit is like a highlight reel, an expansion on the one-sheet that encapsulates all aspects of you as an author. It should feature all your books, showcasing the most important titles, as well as a longer bio and more in-depth talking points. It can also include any or all of the following: [and then Kaye lists those for readers].”
- …Google+ is less about social networking and more about search engine marketing.
Overall, this could be an important part of the professional library for authors who are new to marketing.
–I received free copies of both of these books from NetGalley in return for my honest reviews.
More books on the business end of writing:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.