Marketing is essential not just for indie writers, but traditionally published ones, too.
You’ll reach a far greater audience far quicker than if you expect your writing to speak for itself (with the amount of books published each day, this is unlikely. Sorry).
But where should you start? What tools do you need?
Out of everything, I’d say this is the most important thing you need.
Because it will be the first stop for anyone who’s enjoyed reading your book. Likewise any media that are interested in you.
There are plenty of free sites out there that will do most of the legwork for you, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have any programming knowledge — you don’t need it!
The design should be clean and simple. No busy patterns or migraine-inducing colours. Navigation should also be user-friendly and based on what your readers would want, not what you want.
Make sure your contact details are easy to find, and encourage people to reach out to you on social media.
Even if you don’t post to it very often, having a blog is beneficial. The general rule is to post consistently, and that consistency is based on whatever you’re comfortable with. Having a blog gives people the chance to get to know you, the writer, outside of your fiction or poetry.
Pick one or two social media platforms to focus on. The majority of writers stick with Facebook and Twitter, but there’s no reason you can’t try Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or even Snapchat. Which you use really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what you’re most comfortable with.
I would highly recommend having a Facebook page even if you seldom post on it. Why? It has the largest audience base. If someone enjoys your book and decides to look you up, chances are they’re either going to look you up via a search engine, or via Facebook. Having a Facebook page — even one you don’t post to — allows people to discuss your book, mention you, and potentially attract new readers to your work.
Google+ also ranks incredibly well on Google, so it’s worth having that and at least promoting your own posts on there. I’ve seen Google+ posts rank higher than the blog posts that they’re linking to, so it does have an affect.
Social media is a great platform for not only interacting with your audience, but also forming a community. Fans of your books will naturally want to discuss them with other fans, so why not encourage them to do it on social media?
Keywords make the world go ’round.
If you want your book to stand out on Amazon, or your blog post to rank highly in search engines, you need to research your keywords. I’m still getting to grips with keywords myself, but one thing I have discovered is that taking the time research them is definitely worth it. Whenever I update a blog post with a better keyword, instead of one I’ve plucked out of nowhere, the hits to it increase dramatically. I imagine the same would be true on Amazon. One thing I do know which helps is tailoring your Amazon product description to contain relevant keywords. The contents of the description are taken into account when people search for books, so include as many as you can without sounding like you’re just listing them.
Marketers swear by mailing lists, because it’s something that you have full control over. Your social media account could be deleted at any time; your website could be taken offline; Amazon could delete your listing; but your mailing list is always yours.
How you use it is up to you. Some authors email daily, some weekly, others when they have something to promote. Your mailing list are your most loyal fans because they’ve made the conscious decision to sign up and hear directly from you. Take advantage of that, but don’t just use it to sell. Give something back to them, too.
The Short of it
- Have a website
- Have a blog
- Use social media
- Interact with your fans
- Check your keywords
- Have a mailing list
What do you think? Is there anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear what strategies have worked for you!