A Few Thoughts on “Marketing”

One of the reasons that I started this blog was to interact with other authors and learn a bit about writing, publishing, and marketing a self published book.  I’ve only been on this site for a few weeks now, but I’ve been reading and researching everything I can find.  And now, I have a couple thoughts on some of the things I’ve seen and read.  Of course, take it all with a grain of salt since I haven’t published anything yet.

One of the reasons I decided to write this post is that I realized today that I have never, not once, bought a book because of something I’d seen on social media.  Maybe that’s just me, maybe I’m in the minority, but none of the “techniques” I’ve seen so far made me click the link to check out someone’s book.  Sure, I’ve only been on here a short while, but as soon as I signed up I was following every site I could find that might have anything to do with indie authors and self publishing.  I’ve seen countless interviews, reviews, blog tours, etc.  There have only been a few times I was tempted and that was because the author caught my interest, not the book, and I was curious to see what they had written.

Now, obviously, we want to raise awareness of our publications, get as many eyes on them as possible, so interviews, reviews, and tours aren’t going to hurt anything… but how many people are like me, put off by obvious efforts to market a product?  Half of these posts are basically advertisements, it’s like clicking a link to a commercial.  For someone like me, I might glance through very briefly before going to the next post, but that’s it.

Ok, so “marketing” might not always be the best way to market your book.  What is the alternative?

I have a couple of friends that are popular bloggers.  They write stories about their day to day life, their thoughts, their dreams, and manage to connect with a lot of readers.  They’re funny, entertaining, and have many hundreds of followers.  They aren’t “writers” in a traditional sense, basically sticking to blogging, and they never try to sell themselves or anything else.  However, if they ever did write a book they have a huge audience that would love to read it, review it, and share it with their friends.

Rather than marketing books, putting up ads on all the social media feeds to get attention, maybe try marketing yourself a bit more.  Build up a group of loyal, interested readers and friends on social networks… and don’t try to sell them anything.  Interact in a very personal, honest, entertaining way and people will come to you.  If you publish your book you let them know, put up some easy to find links, but don’t push it, and then go back to being your regular self.

Kind of like:

“Hey, check out Bobby-Sue.  She’s awesome!  She’s even written a couple books.”

Instead of:

“Yes, I know her new book is out… she’s been talking about it for two months now.”

Then, once you’ve built up a steady following of readers, you can be a little more book-intensive in your posting because that’s what the readers want.

Personally, the bloggers that have caught my eye talk about their books but everything else too.  I follow the blogs because they interest and entertain me, not because they are published authors with a product to sell.  And those are the kind of authors who’s books interest me because everything else they do interests me, I’m sure they’re book will too.

Now, I’m not a marketing guru, I haven’t even published my first book yet, so these are just some observations I’ve made over my short time here.  And undoubtedly, the more people who see links to buy your books, the more people will buy it… but maybe there is a kind of middle ground we can find between “over zealous, new author marketeer” and “nobody is going to buy my book because they’ve never heard of it”.

Obviously, this is going to depend on the author and the book, but I’m leaning toward a “less is more” approach myself, because “more” has yet to crack my wallet.  Just some thoughts.

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3 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on “Marketing”

  1. These are some really interesting thoughts. As someone who wants to be a published author some day also, I’ve done a lot of research on this topic before. I definitely agree with you that advertisements don’t seem to work as well as building an audience. It was one of the motivating factors for me when starting my blog. Thanks for the great post!

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  2. It’s tricky. the best actual marketing is through paid services (eg, BookBub) that promote your book(s) to readers who’ve signed up for their mailing list. I try and limit my self promotion to one tweet a day, so long as I’ve tweeted other things of interest. They say a good rule of thumb is the “80/20 rule.” 20% of your content about your books, 80% about anything but your books.

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    1. That sounds like a pretty good rule, 80/20. Not too much, not too little.

      I’ve also heard about BookBub getting good results.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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