It’s a little chilly this morning on the porch, but I can’t even complain as I know my brothers and sisters in New England would scoff and laugh me off the porch! My heart goes out to all of you suffering from this winter weather. Hug your loved ones close and stay warm.
Well…I’ve got my sweater on, and I’m joined today by the fabulous and funny Margaret Millmore. She’s making me spit my tea, which is very unlady like of me, but I think you’ll enjoy what she has to say. Let’s listen…
When Kelly invited me to sit on the porch for a spell, I was excited, I mean who wouldn’t be? Have you seen the view from her porch? It’s gorgeous! And she offers tea! But then she said, “I want your blog post to be something that will help aspiring writers. Not just a promotional post. Something you’ve learned about writing, publishing or marketing would be great.” I cringed and almost ran from the porch, but alas, the view, the tea… resistance was futile…
I’m horrible when it comes to that free-for-all writing stuff. I like questions. Send me a list of questions and ask me to answer as many as I want and I’ll send you honest responses. Anything else is pure insanity…thus the cringing and the urge to run…
But alas, that porch swing and that tea inspired me and I hope it inspires others too! So I thought: what have I learned? Well, that turns out to be a great deal, way too much to write about in one sitting, so I decided I’d concentrate on my nemesis: marketing!
Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, you need to market yourself, and unless you’re familiar with the marketing basics, it’s an almost impossible task. When my first book was published, the publisher provided some guidelines and ideas on what they expected in regard to an on-line presence and my marketing contribution as an author. I knew virtually nothing about this (I didn’t even have a Facebook account) and for the most part, I flopped around like a fish out of water. I spent an enormous amount of time researching websites that provided free promotional opportunities and blog-sites that did author interviews. I signed up everywhere—I had so many passwords and sites that I belonged to, that I had to eventually create a spreadsheet (which I didn’t get around to doing until my fifth book came out… I was a disorganized mess…). I loaded my book onto the sites and hoped for the best. I signed up with Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and about a billion other sites. In all honesty, it was a full time job for those first few months after publication, and I’m not sure it did much of anything, except keeping me from working on my next book.
But I eventually learned some things that have been very helpful. First and foremost, make that spreadsheet with the site names and passwords; this will help a great deal in keeping things organized. I would also make a file for each of your books that include the sites you’ve loaded your book information on, the sites you’ve queried for reviews and any other pertinent marketing you did for that particular novel, such as blog posts and interviews. Doing this will not only give you a list of future sites to query, but it will allow you to review what worked and what didn’t, so when you’re ready to market your next book, it will save you time.
There are many authors out there that will tell you not to spend any money on advertizing, I don’t necessarily disagree, but I also don’t completely agree either. If you can manage a small budget ($25 – $100) there are quite a few sites that offer promotion for $10 to $25 a pop, then there are others like Goodreads, which allow you to set your own budget. If you do plan on paying for advertizing, be sure to research the site thoroughly to be sure their target audiences are the kind of readers who would be interested in what you’ve written. Also check their “follower” stats and spend a little time in author chat rooms asking if anyone has used that particular site before and what their experience was (since there are almost as many author chat rooms as there are book sites, I typically type something into my preferred search engine, like “has anyone used such and such book site before”, this usually garners more focused responses).
If you don’t have any money to spend, that’s okay too. There are a lot of sites that offer free exposure and you should definitely take advantage of those regardless.
I can’t really tell you if what I’m doing now is the right way of doing things, but I can tell you that I’m much more organized, and that in itself is a goldmine, because it allows me concentrate on writing and that’s what it’s all about in the end!
Wow Margaret, you offer some great advice! To add to his discussion, readers, why don’t you list some of your favorite marketing sites in the comments to help us all out! Thank you so much for being here today, Margaret. You were an absolute delight. To find our more about Margaret and her books, visit my Porch Guests page.
I can’t really tell you if what I’m doing now is the right way of doing things, but I can tell you that I’m much more organized and that in itself is a goldmine, because it allows me concentrate on writing and that’s what it’s all about in the end!