Friday Speak Out!: Easy Book Marketing for Authors Who Hate Marketing

Friday, July 20, 2018
by Linda Strader

I haven’t met an author yet who loves the marketing aspect of book promotion. Certainly I don’t. I’ve never been particularly outgoing, nor social. Not that I’m a recluse, but I’ve never been one to talk (which in my world means brag) about my accomplishments. Simple compliments throw me, to the point that I often pretend I didn’t hear them.

However, I knew that if I wanted people to know about my book, which I did, I was going to have to get them interested long before it was published. How to do this? I had a Facebook account, but never used it. I didn’t have many friends, and certainly not on Facebook. I needed to meet people beyond the few friends I had. I mean, seriously, how much promotion could a few people help me with? I decided to explore further.

I discovered Facebook Groups. I’d no idea these existed. I decided to join a few that were focused on writing, as well as my other hobbies, including gardening and art. To my surprise, I found people quite sociable and friendly, to which I responded in kind. I never mentioned my book, but once in a while a post would come up that opened the door for me to talk about myself. And what do you know? People were interested to hear about me, my book, my life…which I reciprocated, because it was fun to share.

What I’ve discovered is this: if you want people to buy your book, you need to connect with them on a social level. Sending out a gazillion emails that essentially say “Buy my book!” will not work. Neither will the accumulation of hundreds of email addresses of people you don’t know in order to blast them with book release news. You wouldn’t stop a stranger on the street and whip out a copy of your book saying, “Hey, want to buy my book?” would you? That’s essentially what you are doing.

It took over a year, but I made not only new friends, but important connections that led to guest blog-posts, interviews: written, video, and audio, as well as speaking opportunities, and book signing events. All of these resulted in over 150 pre-orders for my book, and not just in the U.S. New friends and connections from all over the world wanted a copy—all by me simply connecting and being friendly with people I met online.

Never discount the importance of a connection. That one connection might not be interested in your book, but maybe they know of someone who would be. People “share” with others online, and your news is spread even farther. It’s all good. You can do this! I know you can.

* * *
Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, released on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

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Twitter: @desertplantlove
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Margo Dill said...

I really like this post. You are so right about needing a connection with other people. I never thought about joining other Facebook groups full of people with the same hobbies or interests as a marketing tool, but I see what you are saying, and it is a really good idea. It is true that you never know where a reader will come from. Thanks for this food for thought!

Linda Strader said...

You're welcome, Margo! Glad to be of help. :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Joining or starting a Facebook group is a great idea. I also agree about not being too pushy when trying to sell your book. But I wouldn't be so quick to discount email lists. Of course, I don't think you should just send emails that say, "Buy my book," but you can get creative and do fun things like send newsletters or hold giveaways and announce events. You own your email list, but you can't own your social media account. I had an Instagram account for my business and had built it up to 18,000 followers or so in a couple of months, and one day I tried to log in and it said my account didn't exist. No explanation, just gone, and no way to get it back. The only thing I can think of is I mentioned a discount in a post, and you're not allowed to mention prices or sell on Instagram. I found out it happened to several other businesses in my industry. So that's one good thing about email own them and they can't be taken away. :) I think a mix of things works media, blog posts, tours, email newsletters, appearances, speaking, signing, booths, giveaways, promo items, garnering reviews, etc.

Linda, I just checked out your memoir, and it sounds riveting! I'm adding it to my TBR list. Memoir is my favorite genre, and I just love reading ones when I "meet" the author online. It's a great way to get to know people. :) Congratulations on your launch, and your reviews are fantastic! They definitely make me want to read your book.

Thanks for the though provoking post! :)

Linda Strader said...

Hi Angela! Thank you for joining the discussion and sharing your ideas! Options are always good. :) And thank you for checking out my book and reading the reviews. I appreciate your interest!

Lynn said...

This was both an interesting and timely post. I'm hoping to have a book out next year, and the marketing aspect is more than a bit daunting. I love Facebook, so utilizing that platform in a slightly different way makes sense.
Your book sounds fascinating. I'm in Tucson so admire your bravery in joining fire crews. We have little enough forested area and losing it is heartbreaking.
Thanks for sharing.

Linda Strader said...

Hi Lynn,
Thanks for reading! I also live in the Tucson area. :) I'm glad my post came at a good time for you. I hope it helps!

Renee Roberson said...

I agree that you have to market organically. I too am pretty shy about talking about myself, and attending conferences gives me such anxiety if I don't know anyone there beforehand! It sounds like you are on the right track, though, and I also agree with Angela that there are ways to get creative with e-mail lists. Plus, your bio is riveting and makes me want to check out your book right away. Share that thing as many places as you can, Linda :-)

Linda Strader said...

Hey, thanks, Renee! I understand how you feel. There are many times I have to force myself to events, even though everything always turns out okay! Too bad I can't remember that when I need to. :)

Unknown said...

What a great Friday Speak Out, Linda! Social media is the "new" word of mouth, but it can definitely be a slow burn process. Putting yourself out there for the world to see (read: scrutinize) can be a scary thing, especially in the beginning. But just as you discovered - there are loads of amazing people out there with whom we might share a common interest, and as a result begin a conversation, and holy cow - become real friends! Social media works best when we go "old school" and consider the relationship first. When we keep that in mind, and stick with it, chances are pretty darn good that the sale will just happen naturally. Now, I'm off to join some Facebook Groups! :)

Linda Strader said...

Go for it, Andrea!!

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