One question I frequently get asked from new authors is, “My manuscript has been accepted by the publisher but I am clueless about how to market my book. I know it mostly depends on me, but I am hardly active on social media. I don’t know where to begin and I fear it is too late.”
A problem identified is one-third solved. You know what you want to do, and what you haven’t been doing. All that remains is doing what you need to be doing. Simple? Not so much, but you are not in as bad a place as you’d imagine.
Let’s break this down. Digital is here to stay and is at a peak now. All your promotions need to be here, and here is where people will pick book suggestions from, mostly. Now the thing is, for your book to be known, your name needs to be known first. Gone are the days when books sold themselves, its definitely not happening for us common souls. Readers adapt to authors they have read before, even if in blogs, or even as small as tweets.
So, embrace digital media even if it is the last thing you want to do. Trust me in this, and read on.
Start as early from the book launch as possible. It’s never too early. I have come across a lot of people who believe their book deserves the limelight and not they. Let’s not fool ourselves, you need to brand yourself as an author and its that brand which will be marketing the book. There is no other way about it. Unless you are Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl, writing a say-it-all exposé on the who’s who of the society, or something similarly controversial. Actually, even there, Dan had to show his face and brand himself in a way. When he didn’t, his book sales had dropped, remember?
It is a scary world out there – putting yourself and your work out there. It’s a vulnerable situation. With free internet, everyone has an opinion and you will be subjected to it. Don’t let that scare you off. You’ll know what is genuine criticism and what is not. You will also learn how much of the branding is positive, and how much is spamming or having a negative effect. It takes a while, but you will learn, I promise. Or you can just hire an expert to handhold you. I will have a separate post on the details of brand building, but in this post I’ll share things you can do broadly to create your author brand and name on the www.
Write – But, of course. And not just your book. It is easy for readers to identify with your name, if they have read you before. Blog. Pitch to publications, and write away. Get your name all over social media.
Related: Five Reasons Why Your Brand Needs Content Marketing
When blogging, it is okay to begin with a generic blog, but I highly recommend a dedicated domain in your name. Your website will be your electronic biodata, and will hold links to all your writings. A home for your author brand.
Network – Online and offline. If you live in one of the metro cities, offline meetings are particularly easy. Meet with other authors, be part of forums and interact online+offline, attend events – as guest as well as panel speaker. Mingle, online and offline. If you ask me, twitter is probably the best platform to mingle and network online, the outreach is remarkable and people can be very accepting. Women, join women tribe. Some people have been known and seen to have gained leverage through their political views on social media – if that floats your boat, get into it by all means. But focus on a positive image, not a negative one!
Related - Are You Active On Twitter But Not Gaining Positive Visibility? This Is What You Could Be Doing Wrong.
Tweet – This, I mention apart from networking. You cannot be online only to interact with others, right. What are your views? Talk about things you love, books you read, what you are reading, your writing process, maybe share links to something interesting you might have read, retweet interesting things tweeted by other people – find a balance in what all work for you and do that.
Share – If you have written something, be it on your blog or for publications, share them extensively (don’t spam though) on all social media platforms. Learn to use the correct hashtags, and pick out one or two which work the best. You can also use a personalised hashtag, could be just your full name or something more creative. Follow other authors who promote their own works, and observe their styles.
Take it slowly and steadily, don’t rush into it. Give it some time, and observe other authors. Learn and imbibe social media habits, and then find your own. Your presence is crucial for your author brand, so be present online.