Guest post by Lynnette Phillips
As with anything, thinking of the whole picture slows me down, so at first I was momentarily stumped when I started to think of marketing Visionary Fiction. But after all, I’ve been a book blogger, book marketer and author service provider for years, so I started to ask myself some basic questions and immediately I was giving myself a mental forehead slap (as in calling yourself a fool) and got down to business.
Question: How’s Visionary Fiction different from what I’ve been marketing?
Answer: It isn’t different in the marketing sense of things. It’s fiction. It does, however, have several sub‑genres like paranormal, fantasy, supernatural…so start with the basics and away we go!
Q: What do readers trust when deciding what to read?
A: Word‑of‑mouth. Word‑of‑mouth is one of the strongest marketing tools available (and money smart, too). Readers wonder if someone else has read this book or author’s writing and enjoyed it. They look for reviews.
How do you get these reviews? Approach book bloggers – be aware though that there is such a demand to have a book’s image and review appear on an influential site that you will want to ‘court’ the most prominent bloggers. Become a recognizable name to them.
First do your homework: Check web analytics, look for bloggers who will review your genre or sub‑genre, check their availability—their schedule might not permit them to review another book for several months. Peruse their blog; how do they treat the books and authors they review?
Also, engage them on Twitter (microblogs and posts have definite advantages), ask a question or for their opinion, make comments on their site.
Word-of-mouth is also connecting with your readers on a personal level. Take advantage of author spotlight venues, video, audio and interviews. Write guest posts: talk about your writing process, anecdotes about writing your book or how the characters came to life.
Q: When should you start marketing and promoting any product, i.e. your book?
A: Before it’s released. Talk it up. Get others to talk about it. Spread the word that it’s coming. Try some cross-promotion, some blending of promotional techniques, start checking with other authors who might be willing to stage an event together such as an appearance.
Q: What is one of biggest, if not the biggest, concerns of any writer when it comes to promotion or marketing?
A: Time taken from their creativity; their first love, writing.
The reality in this publishing environment, though, is if the author doesn’t market their book no one else will either. If you are thinking to yourself, ‘But I have a publisher, they’ll take care of it for me’, think again. As author Judith Briles says, “Authors who think a publisher is going to market their books is in la‑la‑land.”
I have a few suggestions for saving some time on promotion so you can spend as much time as possible on your writing.
- Pre‑schedule your social networking activities using HootSuite.com or Socialoomph.com.
- Link your blog posts directly to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more using dlvr.it so that they are shared automatically when they publish keeping you visible.
- Join a Tweet Team to expand your reach and visibility without you taking time to attract more followers. Check out the World Lit Cafe. Remember to include the hashtag #RT in your marketing posts. Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter either.
- Use Fiverr.com for cheap help distributing flyers and canvassing conferences with your business card or bookmarks for offline promotion. Let someone else spend time doing legwork.
- Think about asking a Virtual Assistant to handle some of the marketing duties that you can delegate like Internet searches for bloggers and social networking duties.
When Lynnette Phillips thinks marketing the two focuses uppermost in her mind are 1) be cost effective, 2) be time smart — but but not necessarily in that order. She writes both a book marketing blog and a book blog besides providing varied author services. She has produced several marketing guides which you can find on Smashwords and Amazon. Please visit her at http://bookworldmarketing.com or http://lynnettesbookworld.blogspot.com/