Most people who want to be writers don’t envision ourselves becoming master marketers, but we dream of seeing our books on the shelves of a bookstore. We see ourselves writing the “great American Novel” or the next New York Times bestseller or even a Pulitzer Prize-winning book. We dream of the day our name becomes a household word. We see ourselves traveling and signing our books for fans who stand in line for hours just to see us. That is the ultimate! We’re popular. Our books are loved and our fans can’t wait until the next one comes out. Then reality settles in when the first book contract is signed. You and I are responsible for 99% of the marketing for our book!
Where to start and what to do ?!?
Networking on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and what about the groups and hangouts where we’re supposed to develop relationships with readers. Oh, don’t forget Goodreads and Shelfari because that’s where the readers are.
Follow marketing blogs and make comments. Read marketing books and take their advice. By all means, you must have a website that is simple, clean, and easily navigated but includes all the information your reader needs and gets them to convert from browser to buyer. Don’t get pushy, just court them into a purchase.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? We’re just getting started.
STOP! Take a deep breath and relax. The way to learn networking/marketing is one step at a time. While you’re writing your book, start reading the books on marketing during your breaks from writing. Read a few blogs when you check your email and follow the ones that are the most helpful to you. Sign up for newsletters. After a few months, keep taking the ones you find the most valuable to you. Unsubscribe from those that are not as practical and useful.
Learn one thing at a time. Focus on a few things and do them well. It’s easy to get spread too thin and join lots of groups and end up participating in none of them or rarely showing up. I’ve learned that you have to cut down to the ones you can actually participate in and let the others go. You’ll feel better about handling the networking part of marketing and the people you talk to won’t feel used. You’ll be able to start relationships with other writers and with your readers.
Remember and take heart. Every New York Times Bestselling author started the same place you are beginning your writing career.