Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday's Helpful Hints - Marketing

Okay, today is about hints about what I've learned.

First, I learned, years ago, when my books where being published by NY, that unless you were one of the BIG authors, your publishing company was not going to spend any bucks on you, to tell the world you have a book available. You had to do it yourself. Of course, I didn't know that. At the time, I was teaching in a conservative, rural high school, and didn't feel comfortable advertising the fact that I was writing steamy (well at the time it was considered steamy) romances. I could just hear some of the parents having fits. So, I selected a pen name and kept my mouth shut. Only my family knew.

Mistake! My sister and the wife of our principal were good friends. So, right after my first book was published, when we are at a teachers' meeting after school, my principal announces to the assembled teachers - he wanted me to autograph my first book. The 'cat' was out of the bag.  So, here I was with a book, not knowing a thing about how to sell, market, advertise, or even defend myself if there was a need - nothing.

So hint # one, if you don't want anyone to know you are writing a book - don't tell anyone. However, know that no one, except maybe your aunt Tellie, or uncle Joe (depending on what you write) will only ever read your book, because that's what they read. If you want others to read your book, you are going to have to market it - yourself!!! You need a plan. I had no idea where to start, and I've learned, it's different for every author, depending on time, money, genre, commitments,  a hundred and one things. 

My next hint is probably the hardest one to achieve. Learn to control you time. Life has a habit of getting in the way, so you have to be committed. Okay, you've written a book, but are you going to be a one book wonder? You need writing time and time to learn, as well as life in general. Most people who write also work - somewhere, at a go-to job, at home, whatever, so you must make time to write, and promote. There's that word again. So you need to start with a written plan and try to stay with it. As I said, that's the hardest part.

My next hint is be realist. Little goals, once achieved, can multiply into larger goals. You decide what you can reasonably do and if you've planned too much, pare down your goals a bit. And, remember, don't break the bank. If you can't afford to pay for advertising, don't sweat it. Lot's of us don't pay for much. I can't afford a big promo budget. Most mid list authors can't.

So with all of that in mind, take a peak at the Internet, and start reading about marketing plans. I'm not giving you a detailed plan, because what works for me will not necessarily work for you.  Go to google or Bing and look for marketing plans for authors. Check them out, read a bunch, then decide what you can do. And pick those things you are comfortable with. If you don't like speaking in front of people, don't plan to do readings or talk to groups about writing. You'll make yourself sick and won't achieve a thing, other than making yourself sick.

Last hint for today. First and foremost - You must decide who you are writing for and why.  I think the why is probably the most important. I write because I must. I have always written - something. Now, I write love stories. I do want others to read my books, so I have two goals. One for me - write, and one - to get others to read my books. How I'm going about that is my marketing plan.

Next Monday - There are some of things you really should do and I'll details those. Then I'll name some things that didn't work - for me! Remember, they just might for you. In the meantime, spend some time searching for marketing plans for authors!

Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch
"Betrayed Bride" available now from Champagne Books
"Lynbrook's Lady" coming in August from Champagne Books


Fiona McGier said...

You're right about other jobs eating into the time we would love to be spending writing...or even promoting! With multiple kids still in college, I work multiple jobs. I write when I can stay awake long enough at night, or when I can slip away from the family who expects to spend time with me yesterday, for Mother's Day...imagine!

Mary Ricksen said...

If only someone would do it all for me!!!