The fabric of our lives are made up of richly-woven memories and it is these that craft the essence of our being. We all have our own wonderful experiences – these contain a mixture of those that are deeply inspiring and gratifying and those that are not. All our experiences shape us in ways you may not imagine. These resonate with us but, they may also reach out and touch the lives of others too. As such, your life story is interesting.
Your life story – as it is
You may not think that your life is wildly exciting. You may even feel that it is deadly dull, after all, we all yearn to expand the boundaries sometimes, but, share some of your tales to others and they may marvel at your experiences. Share your tales of woe, and the journey of highs and lows and others may connect with you as their experiences mirror your own.
Writing as therapy
You don’t have to write the whole of your life story, but, you can use aspects of it to incite interest in fiction or, to write a non-fiction book to help others. People often think that their lives are just not that interesting but, that’s not true. Emotions, experiences, events all make you the person you are and no two people’s lives are the same. Find a unique element and build your story around this.
Writing can be incredibly therapeutic too. When I wrote Emotional Abuse – Get Out Of My Head and Out of My Bed, I was not initially planning to write it as a book, but the words poured out. Suddenly, I realised that it needed to be a book. Since, it has helped many others who have shared similar stories. I have been so grateful that I did share those memories and my own development since those days.
There are many ways in which your life story can help or encourage others, but, if you don’t know your starting point, maybe we can help? There really could be a good book hiding inside of you.
Most authors embark upon their dreams of writing a book without giving much consideration to book promotion. After all, that comes much later, right? Wrong. The best starting point for promoting your book is before you’ve even started writing it and of course, during the planning stage. It may sound as if you are in it for the long haul when it comes to book promotion but, without a doubt, the success of your book depends upon it. In the early stages, it’s all about the planning and if you can think like a marketing pro, your book sales will reward you.
Book promotion and the creative process
I have worked in the publishing industry for a great many years – yes, even before digital books exploded onto the scene, and a great many authors were waiting for this with baited-breath. Through my own mistakes, and, through studying and researching the publishing industry, one very important thing became apparent. The emphasis had to be on the author taking responsibility for book promotion. Why? Because the industry was changing rapidly and as a result, even traditional publishing had its wings clipped when it came to promotional funds.
Publishers stopped investing in unknown writers but promoted those who had already made it, after all, they were a safe bet in an industry that literally was evolving as everyone watched. As a result, many new authors or, those who were considered a risk, suddenly had to find their own way to make their books known and, suddenly, the creative process was not enough. Let’s be honest, you could write the best book ever but, unless you had money to throw at book promotion, it was obvious that your book could sink without trace.
Set the foundations of book promotion
When you start contemplating your book, this is the time to consider book promotion. Forge the foundations of it. By doing so, you create the mindset needed for success. You create the right approach considering where you could promote your book and what the marketing angle might be. You consider whether to have press releases or, to hire a company who specializes in book promotion. Or, you could look for free sites that may publish details of your book so to get the message out there. Each book may require a different approach, but you must formulate a plan otherwise, your wonderful book will just not be seen. That’s the harsh reality.
The mistake I made with my first book was not investing enough time in the marketing process. Sadly, I rushed it and paid the price. This is a classic new author mistake. If you are reading this and nodding profusely, then, you’ll know the importance of a little strategic planning next time. At the time, self-publishing was all-new and success, not guaranteed. Marketing options were a little hit and miss but, opportunities for success were available.
Nowadays, you have to be ultra-smart. You may wish to utilize press releases for media attention. Or, you can submit your book to free marketing sites in the hopes they may promote. Equally, use paid-for advertising to get the word out there. But, don’t make the mistake in randomly selecting advertising methods. Think it through. It’s easy to spend a fortune and achieve absolutely nothing.
Ask any author who ventures into the self-publishing arena what the most difficult aspect of the publishing process was and they are likely to say book marketing. The reason for this is simple, most authors who are relatively new on the scene would admit that they know little about marketing. They may have spent years learning writing techniques to help engage their readers but, are suddenly thrust into the marketing arena when it comes to generating sales.
Think it through
If you want your book to do well, you have to consider what your overall goal is. What story are you telling? Are you sharing knowledge that will resonate with a great many? Understanding what your book is about on an analytical level will help you to develop a strong book marketing strategy.
It’s important to find a unique selling proposition (USP) and once you have achieved this, you can plan how to impart your key message to the world. You also need to know who your target audience is. Think about the age of your anticipated readers and the type of interests they might have. You need to create a book that will resonate with them.
How to generate awareness of you as the author
How to create events to market your book
How to get online and offline exposure
Book marketing – specialist or self-promotion?
You must also consider what budget you have at your disposal and also, the time factor too. Ideally, an ongoing marketing plan is vital but if you don’t have the time to commit to this, consider hiring a specialist company. Talk to the company about your goals and discuss an action plan. There are many things you can do to promote your book yourself so, don’t just sit back and let it happen. After all, if you have invested months or even, years of work in writing your book, go the extra mile. Give it the best send off possible.
There’s no doubt that blogging is huge and for some, it’s profitable too but, as an author, should you create your own blog? To determine this, it’s best to consider what you are trying to achieve and this way, you can plan a strategic rather than a creative approach to your blogging endeavors.
The blogging conundrum
Blogging has great potential. Many people love it because it gives them a chance to vent or share their thoughts by way of an online journal. But, is it really worth it? From an author’s perspective, it can be useful to create an online presence providing it is regular and you have a plan of action. When you consider the time spent to set up and provide content for your blog, any money that you expect to make is going to potentially be low in comparison to the amount of hours in which you are investing. So, this will be a labour of love in the first instance.
If you have little to no idea what you want to blog about, but, you fancy doing something creative, then, go ahead, a blog enables you to test your creativity but it’s also a sharp learning curve too. If you are a methodical, forward-planning individual, you may want to create your own blog for these reasons.
1. Create your own blog and form your writing platform
If you want to get yourself known as a writer, a blog can help you to do just that. Define your ideas, think about each post carefully and plan ahead. It makes sense to create quite a few blog posts and schedule them in advance. This takes the pressure off you when you don’t feel like writing or, if life gets in the way.
2. Create your own blog so to incite interest in your books
Yes, blogging can help you to get your audience interested in up and coming books. There’s no doubt about it. Blogging has a far reach providing you do it right. But, it’s not all about being creative. It’s about using keywords, yes, SEO (search engine optimisation) is still important. It’s about considering the steps towards your concept, the writing of a book and the whole marketing process.
In the online world, there’s a fine line between writing, marketing and overdoing the whole SELL, SELL, SELL process. So, if you want to captivate and engage the readers, you need to be smart. Don’t make everything about your book, unless the whole purpose of the blog is to share your process, but rather, let readers into your life.
Share your thoughts and feelings and share your inspirations and those difficult to write days. There are ways and means in which to sell to others and the best way of doing so, is to reach out to them and to engage with them like..well, human beings. It works. Hard sales do not. Readers are savvy. They know when they are being over-sold something so, be careful.
4. Consider the longevity of your blog
What are you going to write about and does it have longevity? Can you sustain an ongoing blog about your subject? If you have set up an author site and your blog is a part of that, it can be on any aspect of your life giving the chance for readers to get to know you. But if you are writing just about your book, consider what you will write about when it is published. The blog content will also determine the title of your blog, so plan ahead.
Ultimately, having a blog can be a good thing for authors. But, plan it carefully before you start. Many people make the mistake of rushing into blogging but, don’t consider their long-term plans and that’s a mistake.
If you are venturing into the myriad of twists and turns that is the self publishing route, never underestimate the power of the blurb. I have seen many beautifully presented books with dazzling covers and great titles appear to run out of steam when it comes to the all-important blurb.
How to be successful
To be successful in self-publishing, you need to consider all angles – so, you are a writer, an author, a publisher and marketer too. It is difficult wearing all those hats and it is understandable to feel overwhelmed by it all, but, write down the tasks and work on them one at a time. But, do think about each step carefully. The success of your book depends on it.
In addition, your book blurb has to be incredibly tightly written. Plus, it has to engage the potential reader right from the start. So, depending on the type of book you are planning to publish, you may need to write from the heart. Dig deep within your soul and think about what might resonate with you. This at least gives you a starting point.
Wear your self publishing hat
With self publishing, you have to think about every aspect of promotion. It can be as simple as adding a few opening lines to the top of your blurb. Just ensure these incite interest. If they don’t, then, you need to work harder on these sentences and make them evocative.
Self-publishing is not easy but it does bring great opportunities. As such, take your time, think about it and provide the best blurb possible. Aim for a powerfully written invite into the book that you are passionate about. It could make the difference between lots of sales or no sales at all. Self publishing is a wonderful venture into the unknown. The way forward is not always apparent but, it’s a fabulous chance to get your work out there into the public sphere and to make a name for yourself.
In my previous blog post, I mentioned the potential for being interviewed on local radio and I know this is something that many authors dread, that of self-promotion and having to embrace their time in the spotlight. But, the publishing industry has moved on so much in the last ten years and it’s a whole new beast to deal with if you wish to become a success, so book marketing these days is an essential component of getting the word out there.
I often have writers say to me that the words within their book speaks for them. Well, great, but, it’s worth noting that even if your book is the most amazing collection of words ever, the story is strong, the characters compelling, if no one knows of its existence, then, it will remain on the shelf and just grow dusty.
By actively seeking out and being prepared for an interview through radio or TV, this can really escalate your book sales and you will come across well. But, remember, your book alone will not get you the promotion you need to sell numerous copies. You are the one that people will want to talk to, they will want to understand who you are, your background, what made you write this book. They want to know about you and you need to engage with your potential readers and share a little of yourself. Make sure you know your stuff, be engaging, articulate and definitely entertaining.
Prepare a list of potential questions so you don’t feel under pressure or unprepared and do your best to enjoy it.
If you feel uncomfortable being in the spotlight, then, get friends and family to interview you so you feel more comfortable being asked questions and with the attention fully on you. Have them video you so you are used to cameras. This will help you to feel more natural on screen or, even prepare you if you are participating in a radio interview. Ultimately, it’s about making these opportunities work for you.
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When it comes to book promotion, you may well be one of a large group of authors who like to bury their heads in the sand but, newsflash, procrastinating, hiding or refusing to join the self-promotion bandwagon will get you precisely nowhere.
As a publisher and author, I know how important your book is to you. You wouldn’t have written it if it didn’t mean something. But, your book is just one among masses, not just competing for physical book space but, for digital space too. So, remember, you only have a short space of time to make an impact for your book and this should start long before the publishing date. You can pay for publicity, have someone set up ads for you, create flyers, etc. But, there are things you can do for FREE and it makes sense to make the most of any publicity available. But, you had best get your timing right.
I am a firm believer in the power of the press release. Even if you don’t use one of the professional distributors, you can still write a press release and distribute it to your local newspapers. Make it concise and play the local angle. Start promoting your book approximately two months in advance. So, send announcements to your local radio and TV stations, newspapers, book distributors and so on.
When your book is published i.e. you have a physical copy in your hands, send an updated press release along with a copy of your book to some or all of those you had contacted previously. You may not hear anything or, you may find yourself contacted for interviews or even book signings. Don’t faint at the thought. Try to enjoy your moment in the spotlight. You can also have fliers made of the book jacket and ask local bookshops if they will display it near the till point. But don’t just leave it there, give them some copies of the book too – try the Sale or Return angle. If they decline, give them a copy and ask them to read it and encourage their friends to buy it.
Are your friends avid readers? Ask them to talk about your book (be fair, only when they have read it and liked it) word of mouth is a really powerful way to promote and if they talk about it enough, others are likely to buy a copy. Ask your local library or doctors or dentists if they will stock your promotional fliers. When people are bored, nervous or sick, they will want to distract themselves and your colourful looking promotional literature may incite interest.
Is your book about a subject that local people will really want to see? Is your book about something that local groups will be interested in? If you have written a book on Yorkshire Terriers and there happens to be a specific group of dedicated enthusiasts regarding this breed of dog, well, drop them a line. You must always look for the angle.
Local interest is a great way to promote for free but you must be prepared to put yourself out there and promote with enthusiasm. Don’t be shy. Self-promotion is essential these days. If you want to be an author, you must also be a marketer. Accept it, relish it and now promote like crazy.
No doubt about it, the book marketing process causes more grey hairs and worry lines than the whole writing process. New authors fear it and less-than dedicated authors give up. It’s important to see the whole marketing process as a business and where possible to enjoy it rather than it being a ‘dread-doing’ but must do’ scenario each day. If you want to seriously promote your book, here are a few ideas that you may not have yet considered.
1. If your book is based on a local area topic, this makes it easier to market to those who live in your town or city because you can visit your local newspaper, (hand in a press release) advertise locally and become somewhat of a local expert. This latter point is particularly relevant if you have written a non-fiction book and it affects those who live in the area.
2. If you have written a novel and you have based it in key areas of your town or city, ask local businesses to promote it for you. Ask local hotels or bed and breakfasts if they will keep some paperback books in their reception area and leave on a sale or return basis.
3. Offer some sample chapters out to readers. If you have a website and plenty of followers, this can generate some serious sales. You can also leave leaflets at your local book shops or, at the library offering free sample chapters. This is a great way to capitalise in your local area. Of course, your opening chapters must be really strong and highly-compelling. If you are not sure about how good your opening pages are, click HERE.
4. One of the main reasons why authors struggle to market their books is because they don’t enjoy their time in the spotlight. So, the thought of having that spotlight shining very brightly on them is far too daunting. But, if you can take the plunge and contact your local radio station, they may be all too happy to do an interview with you. This can lead to book sales so don’t shy away from it.
Do you need help with any aspect of the publishing process? Click HERE
There’s so much advice available in the book publishing world and it is often overwhelming for anyone new to the realms of publishing. But, one thing you may have heard of is that of the author platform. Make no mistake, it is an absolute necessity for any serious writer and forms a solid starting point on which to build your career. The best way of building your author platform is to have your very own website. It doesn’t need to be ultra-fancy. In fact, the best author sites are aesthetically pleasing and simplistic in terms of design. You just need to direct potential readers to your site and to intrigue them long enough that they may wish to read an excerpt of your book, or, to sign up for your mailing list so that you can tempt them at a later date.
These days, it’s seemingly a lot easier to write and make your book accessible to the general public but that doesn’t mean it is without its pitfalls. You may have spent months or even years writing your book, so, you have to do everything that is humanly possible to put it into front of the right people. If you are seriously considering publishing a book, you need to make sure you are not making a very common mistake.
Gone are the days when an author could sit back and relax on their creative laurels, feet up and just waiting for the royalties to roll on in. Nowadays, the responsibility for marketing lies solely on your shoulders. Scary? Well, yes but, you must plan out a professional plan of action if you wish to send a media shockwave out about your book launch. Too often, writers overlook this aspect of the publishing process.