marketing strategy street signs

Book Marketing

So I’ve been thinking about how a book marketing works for… no reason. Specifically, for an author releasing a new, first novel in an e-market with little-to-no backup from the publisher. Again, no reason.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

1. Facebook As much flak as I and the rest of the world gives Facebook, it survives by being marketing tool. If it’s meaningful, I’m not sure, but more views is good views. The easy part is creating a Facebook page for people to Like and such. Not sure what to do with it after that, besides post occasional statuses and pictures and links.

People have said Facebook ads are good idea, because they have perfect targeting. I wonder how expensive they are though. Especially with the proliferation and effectiveness of ad-blockers. I used to work in that industry and know how people tune them out. (Above statement applies to Google ads too).

2. New Communication Means Specifically, I need to create new email and Twitter accounts. The ones I have now are personal.  It shouldn’t be too hard, though. The author email can redirect and filter to my main box. Creating a new Twitter account should be effortless.

The problem is keeping my Twitter feed fresh. Making your stream more than just retweets and promotions is key to staying followed. It’s a great medium for stand-up comedians, because it’s like a little try-before-you-buy feed. Me? I’ve only made 500 tweets since I joined 5 years ago, and most of those are from my GoodReads feed.

3. Goodreads Speaking of, Goodreads is considered to be one of the best social media sites for book lovers. I use it frequently myself, just for fun.  And I already have an author account for my tiny short story anthologies. I use LibraryThing too, but GoodReads also offers ads and book giveaways.

4. Review Copies and Book Giveaways Word of mouth is, always will be, the best way to advertise. There’s no better endorsement than from someone who has nothing to gain by it.  Because you know they’re sincere.  They want to let people know about good things to make more people who like that good thing so they can talk about that good thing.

The only real way for an author to get that endorsement is to put his stuff in front of loud people. And even then, it’s no guarantee.  Reviewers pick and choose what they read, and how much attention might they give a small press e-book only?

This also means a chunk out of my own pocket to pay for those copies and giveaways. But that’s the rub when you’ve got a starting novel out. The aim of my “marketing plan” is the paradigm Scalzi (or Gaiman, I forget which) came up with: “money should flow toward the writer”. So I don’t plan to buy everyone in the world a copy.

5. Blog Tour This is the one that perplexes me the most. I’m an introvert, so I’m very much a lurker. I don’t have any connections to authors, reviewers, or important gurus. I read their blogs, but I don’t make comments, I don’t send fan mail. So even if I knew which blogs and web sites have the target audiences I’m searching for, how do I just out of the blue approach these webmasters and say “Hey, you don’t know me, but can I write a guest post that promotes my book?”

Of course, my strategy is never to do straight promotion. I’d be writing peripheral articles that meld the topics of the web site/blog with the themes of my book, kinda like The Big Idea. Otherwise I end up sounding like: