When I was asked to write this guest blog post I didn’t really know what to say. Lorraine informed me that I’m quite the social media guru, which I guess until recently I never really noticed. So I’m here to talk to all you authors, those of you who are new, old, considering publishing your first book or looking to learn something new.The thing is, marketing via social media, or any other platform for that matter, isn’t awfully difficult. I’ll tell you one thing though, you must have one key quality to succeed. That quality is BELIEF. It sounds sappy and dramatic, but the biggest way to fail at the first hurdle in publishing is to believe that nobody cares. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say, that it’s all been said before.
Here’s the thing.
It has all been said before.
But not by you.
If you’re a new author you go out there with a freaking megaphone and you tell anyone who will listen about your book. I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard to know if people will want to hear it, but the truth is if you don’t start shouting about your book, nobody else will. Being an author isn’t the kind of profession for those who are shy anymore. Writers used to be thought of as raving introverts, incapable of communicating in any other way than by the pages of their novels, but times have changed, and with indie publishing, you are your own marketing campaign, you are a part of the product. You have to be the one to sell it, to tell people how amazing your book is. To SHOW them what you’re capable of. But to do that, and do it well, you have to believe you have something worth selling. It’s true, vampires and werewolves aren’t a new concept, but how is YOUR vampire novel different? Why should a reader pick it up? If Picasso and Van Gogh both sat down to the same scene, they would paint entirely different pictures. The same goes for writing. Every author is different, and though we walk in the same genres, and among the same types of stories, our experiences and the way in which we write them are nothing less than one of a kind. That’s what you have to realise to market well. Nobody else can be you. Only you can do that. Only you can tell your stories. So, the most important thing is to put your embarrassment and fear aside and start selling yourself. Take a long hard look at who you are as an author and what makes your stories special. Why should a reader pick them up? Pay for them? If you can’t answer these questions- neither can your readers.
The second thing to know about marketing online is simple- image is everything. Often authors say to me – well my graphics don’t matter, they’re paying for my words, not my artistic skills. WRONG. Putting up crappy graphics puts doubt in people’s minds that you know what a quality product looks like before they’ve even checked out the blurb/excerpt. Looks do matter, now more than ever because the market is particularly competitive. You can write the world’s next great novel, but if it looks like crap nobody will buy it. People are shallow, and they say that seven seconds in the length of time it takes someone to decide whether to one click or not. This isn’t just for covers, it’s for everything. Website, teasers, banners. If your author persona doesn’t look professional, people will automatically assume your writing is of a similar quality, even if that’s not the case. If you’re not good with graphics, hire someone!
My final piece of advice is persistence. Doing one round of spamming facebook groups with your ads isn’t going to see overnight results. Facebook platforms, like anything truly effective take a while to grow and evolve into what you want them to be. Being an indie author these days truly is a marathon, not a sprint. Never be afraid to change it up, to try what’s new and HONESTLY, don’t take every single person’s advice. What works for some authors won’t work for everyone, and marketing trends are just that, trends. They change quickly and often burn out as so many people jump on them they quickly lose their effectiveness.
At the end of the day, there is no one way to market yourself, there is only what you think is right for you. The most important thing is that you’re happy with your approach and open minded enough to make changes when you need to. Trust your gut, believe your product is worth buying and persist. Good things will happen!