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Saturday, July 14, 2012

What I'm Learning About the "M" Word ~ Marketing

I realized something very important this week. Just because I have a few books out there doesn't mean readers are finding them. Why? Because I haven't been doing my job at letting them know they're out there.

I mean, sure. I post about my works on my Facebook page or Twitter but I guess that doesn't really count as full-out marketing. And I didn't realize the importance of understanding it until I started promoting my new fiction title, DARK WATER (officially released tomorrow on Kindle). When I shared some information about the book, one of my strong supporters of my nonfiction work said, "I didn't know you write fiction!"

I was seriously taken aback at first. This is my third fiction book and this wonderful girl, who has read and helped spread the word about my two memoirs, had no idea I'd even published the first two books. Then I realized that, perhaps, I may not have been doing a good enough job making sure people found them. No wonder sales for those books haven't been great. ::slap forehead::

Of course, it shouldn't be so surprising. Yes, my books are all listed on my author blog. Yes, if readers clicked on my name on Amazon they'd be taken to the other books I've written but that doesn't always happen, right? So, here are a few things I figured out:

~ Connect with other authors out there who are making it with marketing. Watch what they're doing. Learn from them. Take notes.

~ Do for others and they will do for you. You know all of those writing groups you've joined? Don't just go visit them when you have a project to promote. Go in a few times a week to connect with your fellow writers. Help them spread the word on what they're doing. Give kudos and support. Interacting is a big part of marketing because what goes around comes around.

~ Remember that marketing isn't bombarding or spamming. It's giving information about you and your work and knowing when, where and how to give it.

~ Create a buzz and keep it going. My marketing mentor, Cheryl Tardif, told me that you generate excitement for your projects by being excited about it yourself. Share in bits and pieces to get some initial interest, then keep sharing to maintain it.

~ Teasing is a good thing. Another awesome tip from Cheryl. This is how you maintain that buzz. When you share a tidbit, invite people to come back for more and make it even more interesting.

~ Use a new work to create new buzz for your older projects. There are several ways to do this. You could arrange a virtual book tour for the new book, using the other books as prizes. Talk about the other works in interviews. Do character interviews and have the new characters talk about characters from your older books. Use your imagination!

~ It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. This is a direct quote from Cheryl, and I just love it. What she means is that you don't just go full out for the pre-promotion then fizzle out. It means that marketing is a long-haul thing and you should be putting time in each day to keep your work out there. Put the same effort in after release day as you did before.

~ Don't be afraid to take risks. Try new things others are trying that work. If you discover something doesn't work, it's okay. It's all a learning curve. What works for other authors may not work for you but you have to be brave enough to try.

~ Treasure each tiny effort of help. Value those readers who connect with you after reading your books/articles. Shine the spotlight on the reviews. Reach out to those people who retweet or share your news. People really appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge their efforts and it encourages them to keep going. I always thank people for their reviews (if possible), email back to those who have reached out to me and thank folks for retweets, etc. That is so important.

These are just a few things I've learned this week while promoting DARK WATER, and I know I still have alot to learn. Now that I've gotten on the marketing train, I'm going to do my best to stay on there. Watch, listen, learn. That's what it's all about!

Happy writing.


  1. These are great tips, Chynna! And congratulations on Dark Water!

    I think authors who genre-hop have an even tougher time with marketing because they have so many different audiences they must reach out to.

    I have a different view of marketing. I think authors shouldn't try too hard at plugging their own books. (You mentioned this with bombarding and spamming.) It's nice when someone other than the author recommends the book. That's why blog reviews or media coverage works so well.

    Of course, you can't directly make those things happen, but you can target them by offering free copies of your book for review, sending media releases, participating in blog events or blog tours. Then you might just see those "organic" results. Organic results with effort from the author! ;)

    LOVE the quote from Cheryl: "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

  2. Hi Ang! <3

    I love your tips. And you should are a marketing GENIUS! That's why I've had better success with guest posts, giveaways, blog hops, etc. xoxoxoxo



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