A final word on The Publishing Journey as we wrap up this series -
As I've been working through the posts, it's become obvious to me that the publishing journey - from book proposal to post launch exposure and everything in between - is a completely different beast to how I remember when I first started out at the age of 15.
If you aren't venturing down the traditional route - and even if you do - at some point you will need to embrace and learn about the virtual book marketing techniques available to you as a promoter of your own work. This series is packed with good ideas to kick start your publicity and branding - and I've been learning along the way too!
I'm going to squeeze in some last minute marketing advice for you before we get into all things self publishing next week ...
Like most of you reading this, marketing is something I've plunged into head first with no prior knowledge, but thankfully I'm picking up tips and tricks and helpful advice all the time.
Here are 10 pitfalls to avoid when marketing your book and how to stay on the straight and narrow:
1) Don't try to aim for everyone
You have written for a specific genre so stick to it
2) Don't bet on consumer rationality
Research suggests that emotion plays a big part in purchase decisions so market to your audience's whims. Don't be square with your strategy. Think outside the box
3) Don't take market research as the be all and end all
Interpret the data at face value and don't try to read between the lines - that could cost you
4) Don't get seduced by new, exciting marketing methods
Stick to what works whilst evaluating what might
5) Don't advertise your aspirations
You are setting yourself up for a mighty fall by inviting your potential readers to catch you out. Live by them and set the tone for you and your writing that way
6) Don't follow the leader
Focus on your individual hook because that's what makes your story unique. If you try and copy someone else's style or idea and it doesn't work, you are proving to your audience that you will never be as good
7) Don't create a big marketing team
What's that saying? "Too many cooks spoil the broth". I can't afford a big team of people to help me market my work which is just as well because the best committee is a committee of one
8) Don't starve your budget
Tricky because I have no budget, but every writer must somehow get their message out. For now I'm using free social media and the internet. That's as good a starting point as any...
9) Don't expect your marketing efforts to work immediately
It takes time to build a brand. Credibility grows through consistency. Plan plan plan and stick to your plan
10) Don't get stage fright
Now it's time to execute those plans and find out what works and what doesn't
And here's a novel tip for free advertising overseas:
Write a message in the front of your book linking back to a promotional piece about your story on your website or blog. If you travel a lot or know someone who does, give them a copy of your book to leave in a well trafficked area like a cafe, hotel reception or even on public transport. Get them to take a pic of your book in-country and "social media" it, then you could post their pic and words back to your website or blog and keep an area dedicated to this ongoing promotion.
Wouldn't it be amazing to see your book travel all around the world!!!
I promised a blog post on the daunting subject of networking so here we go. I'm hopefully going to show you that it isn't as scary as it sounds...
I know for a fact many writers are the shy, retiring type (like me). We don't want to talk to people. All we want to do is be left alone to write. Our creative space only has room for one!
But, here's a thought - what if you're already talking with fellow writers through Facebook and Twitter? And hey presto, guess what, you're networking.
My first word of advice - don't think of it as networking. Don't think of it as what can I do / what do I have do for this person for them to like me and connect with me. And turning it on its head, don't go into the relationship with the selfish motive of what can I get out of this, either.
Think of it as socialising with friends - meaningful sharing of ideas, sharing books and articles you've read and interesting industry advice. Who wants a shallow, negative relationship anyway?
Seek out the people you admire and invest in them. After all, you get out what you put in. And people will reciprocate. The idea is to surround yourself with those friends who will motivate you and keep you sane on the rocky road of a freelancer.
I love giving something back through my blog. Put yourself out there with your writing and pretty soon you'll be attracting like-minded people. It really is as simple as that - and once again I say Hallelujah to the Twittersphere!
Not only did networking uncover the real world of publishing to me, but it found me my agent, who in turn found me my publisher. I also made some good friends and held some lively debates at the events I attended. This is why it's so important to throw yourself out there every now and then. You never know who you're going to meet and what will happen.
Go on, go for it!
Here is a splash of my favourite networking tips:
Something I never capitalised on with my debut novel - because I was learning how the Publishing industry had changed and adapting - was maximising its exposure at the time of release. Looking back now, I would definitely have a solid marketing strategy in place before the launch date based on the advice I've been sharing in The Publishing Journey blog series.
We spend so much time plotting and writing a book, editing, re-writing, editing, re-writing so it seems criminal that the hype will probably only last for a couple of months after all of that hard work.
Marketing yourself and your book/s has to be scheduled into your writing week unless you can afford to pay someone to do it for you. It's a hell of a lot of work but will ensure you do your work justice and get it in front of as many people as possible on a regular basis.
The point is to keep networking - making new friends / contacts / potential readers and sharing your experiences as a writer. Therefore it stands to reason, much the same as the build up to your book launch, your long term marketing strategy should include some or all of the following:
You know, this does take up a huge amount of your time and could completely overrun any time you have for writing, so don't pressure yourself to do all of these things at once. Pick one from the list and see how you get on. Maybe give yourself two months to accomplish it. If it doesn't work out or you didn't find it useful, pick another and try over. As I so often say, it's all about finding what works for you.
I'll have some tips for networking in my next post.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.