Today, I’m taking a short break from all things medical mayhemish and participating in a blitz blog on marketing. My agency, WordServe Literary, through Rachelle Gardner’s blog is doing an all out attack on the good and bad of this side of the book business. Several authors are participating so you can find more links on her August 2nd post.
If this is the first time you’ve ever stopped in at Redwood’s Medical Edge… welcome! This blog is devoted to helping authors of historical and contemporary fiction write medically accurate details. So, keep this place in mind for those medical questions and nuances you may need help with.
Marketing is the bane of most authors I think. We’d much rather stay in our writing caves than have to worry about this “other side” of the book business. My debut suspense novel has just been contracted and is set to release sometime in the Spring of 2012. I’m just dipping the tips of my toes into the large ocean of marketing possibilities and it is foreign territory. It feels a lot like learning a new language. After all, nursing school didn’t have a lot of emphasis on marketing… all right… none.
Here’s what I’ve started doing to “get my feet wet”.
1. Begin to build relationships through social media. I’ve found people to guest blog for me through these avenues. For me, FaceBook has been the most useful social media tool. I like it because you can carry on a decent conversation with people and are not limited in the amount of words you can say. I feel like I’m getting to “know” others who have the same interests as mine through FaceBook. I do participate in Twitter but this is a little bit of an enigma for me. I’m not sure I understand the full potential that exists. I don’t often read other people’s tweets whereas I do find myself surfing FaceBook to see what my friends are up to. The aspect of Twitter that I do like is that my blog posts go to Twitter and are then posted to Facebook. That’s a lot of advertising work that doesn’t need my input. I’m on LinkedIn but I don’t use it and don’t actively network there. LinkedIn has not been beneficial for me.
2. Learn from other authors and marketing professionals. There are lots of resources out there where you can begin to learn about marketing for little money. One place to check out is WildFire Marketing. This site has a lot of free resources that will definitely give you ideas to get started. I read Austin S. Comacho’s self published book Successfully Marketing your Novel in the 21st Century. Although it is more geared toward self publishing and e-publishing, I did pick up several helpful hints on how to market with a traditionally published book. I think he covers how to set-up and handle book signings well which many publishers are now leaving up to the author to arrange. Also, he has good tips on press kits. A what? Exactly. He explains it nicely. Also, check out the Murder Must Advertise Yahoo Group.
3. Think about your brand early on. This is one area I’m working really hard on. A brand clearly links you with a product– be it a novel, record or coffee. You know what Starbucks sells even if you haven’t stepped foot into a store. They have a strong brand. I think many authors feel a pressure to get out there in the Internet realm and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their brand. What is it that will make you stand out from the other hundreds of authors who have a blog? I spent a good couple months mulling over what my blog would be because once an impression is out there, it may be hard to change mid-stream. Have a clear identity at the beginning. If you’re not gifted as a web/blog designer, this is one area I would consider investing some money to have it professionally done.
If you’re in my stage of marketing, what are some things you’ve done that have worked or not worked?