Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Getting on the Right Marketing Track

When it comes to my writing, there are a few things I’m not good at.  One of those is being able to summarize my story in one or two lines, something usually known as a tagline. The other thing I’m just plain awful at is marketing my work.

Over the years, I’ve tried a few different things, most of which came to me courtesy of some bestselling marketing books I forked out good money for. Not only did I fork out good money for these books, but I made sure they were specific to the subject of how to market for writers. Early in my career, my budget was very limited so I tended to stick to the lower cost ideas offered in these books.

While I would have loved to take out full page ads in the New York Times or even a quarter page in a writer’s magazine, that was beyond my reach. Instead, I sent mass emails to friends and family begging them to buy my book and spread the word. I tried sending post cards, printed from my home computer of course, to people I thought had an interest in romance novels. I gave out cards to my coworkers announcing the release of the book which included links for purchase. I started a website. I reviewed books by other romance authors and made sure to indicate in the review that I was the author of the book Letters from Linc. I participated in a couple of blog interviews. I sent my books to interested reviewers. I entered them for consideration into contests. Once, I even managed to secure a table at a local charity event where I gave away gift bags with all homemade items that included; a post card, a business card, a window cling and a bumper sticker.

Despite my best low budget efforts, my books didn’t fly off the shelves. Now, all these years later, I’ve got a little more money a few new ideas. Most of these ideas come courtesy of social media. I pay attention to how other authors market their books and draw inspiration from those who are good writers that are selling well.

One of the newer things I’ve seen is the use of eye-catching pictures featuring lines from the novel over the top of them. Typically, the picture also includes the title of the book, name of the author and a link to buy. The nature of the picture depends on the genre of the book. For example, a romance author might use a picture of a couple kissing to promote her book.

Having seen this for some time now, I’ve found myself wondering how well this really works. I know it works to some degree since I’m often introduced to new books by these homespun ads. I will say there have been a couple of times where I’ve purchased books featured on these ads and wished I hadn’t.

Despite being sometimes disappointed with the books I’ve found this way, I still wanted to give it a try for myself. My plan was to do one unique ad a week and post it on all of my social media sites. Since I started this two weeks ago, I suppose it’s too early to say whether or not it’s working and to what extent. So far, the impact has been minimal. I haven’t seen a huge spike in sales that I can correlate to this strategy. The fact that I can say there’s been even the slightest increase shows I’m on the right track and as long as it’s even marginally helpful, I plan to continue using it. Like the little engine that could, I’m just going to keep chugging away!

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