I’m talking craft & going to touch on those scary words – promotion & marketing. As a very newby writer in the publishing world, those two words have the power to make me crawl inside a cupboard & lock the door. And put a blanket over my head. But even with a publishing house behind you, in this day & age with budget cuts & heavy competition in the written world, every writer is expected to do a certain amount of promotion and / or marketing of both themselves & their work.
So I’m going to cheat a little here by cross posting this blog onto both the Hot Down Under blog (of which I am a member) & my website as well with the hope of garnering more input / comments on this important subject to increase all of our knowledge. I’ll yak a little about my so far, brief, experience with this subject & what I’ve learnt to date then leave the field open to anyone who would care to comment on their experiences too.
Prior to about August or September last year, I’ve been blogging a bit here & there on my website with no real structure or plan apart from the vague idea I was putting my name out in the cyber world. I’d comment on random articles that caught my attention in the press (usually space or tech stuff) or ramble on about the craft aspects of writing. But when I held my first publishing contact in my shaky hands, I realised I had to take this aspect of my writing seriously; that writing is a business.
Since then I’ve gradually increased the number of my posts both on my site, on guest sites & on group author sites. I’ve increased my presence on facebook & twitter; I’ve been working diligently on increasing my followers / friends, hoping that this will put ‘my brand’ in the public eye. I’ve probably annoyed the hell out of people who know me in the real world. I have no idea what works & what doesn’t work but one thing I learnt (the hard way I might add) is that by putting all my energy into social networking, my writing time has suffered.
Here is what I’ve learnt so far (ok, I’m assuming that you have a reasonably professional-looking website, have decided on your brand & have some basic computer knowledge):
1. Time – write first, promote / market second. Something I’m now doing after taking a hard long look at the date & my goals for the year & realising how far behind I am!
2. Be courteous, promote not just yourself & your current story but other writers too. Blog posts are a great tool here. Request guest posts on other writers’ sites (& don’t limit yourself to writers in the same genre, branch out, you never know where you might find new readers), return the favour & host guest blogs on your site – best on a regular basis, even if its one guest author every two months for example. Try to make it quirky or interesting by not just being a sales pitch; give something back to the reader & engage them.Having guests blogging on my site is still on my list of things to organise – J.
3. Participate in blog hops. There are free ones out there as well as ones you need to fork out those hard earned dollars on. They can be time consuming but if you chose the timing to coincide with a new release it could be worth the effort.
4. Promote your release day with a special celebration, offer giveaways, think of fun ways for readers to engage with you on your site to get them interested in you & your stories.
5. Set up & keep up to date the following: Author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Romance Reviews, The Romance Studio, Savvy Authors, The Romance Novel Centre, Author’s Den & if you’re a member of writing organisations such as the RWA, NZRW, Savvy Authors, RWAmerica etc. Out of that list, I have six that are up to date & five still to do. (Eeek.)
6. If you are writing a series, you could set up a fan page on facebook for the series.
7. A lot of authors are now doing their own newsletters. (Muttering to self here now)
8. Don’t promote / market yourself ALL the time when on social media. Share something of your life without giving food to any would be stalker. I’m interested in animal welfare, the environment, anything to do with astronomy & new tech stuff, so I like to share any snippets or articles I find, usually via twitter.
9. Don’t do everything or your brain will implode. No seriously, none of us are Super Jane & we don’t have twenty clones of ourselves sitting by to be programmed into effecting multiple tasks. If you are time poor like me (ie have other claims on your time) why not pick one or two promo / marketing tools & focus your energies there?
As you can see, this is not a long list. My experience is limited & I’m still learning. But if I have twenty hours of time to put towards my writing business each week, then out of those twenty hours my social media / marketing time should be ONE HOUR. So the one biggie for me is TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!!! & WRITE.
As writers, what works for you & do you enjoy this aspect of the writing business? As readers, what irks you most when you read writer’s blog posts?
Of course, reading is CRITICAL so why not check out the stories written by the Hunter Romance Writers for some creative ‘research’. Thanks for dropping by & I hope you’ll leave a comment should you have the time.