When setting out to market your book, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are just so many different options and things to try: Should you be on Facebook? Twitter? Have a newsletter? A blog? A book site? Are you signed up to Goodreads? Library Thing? Is your book in your local independent bookstore? Local library? Have you written a press release? Contacted your local paper? The list goes on and on!
1. Set achievable marketing goals.
If you’re a regular reader of my posts here at Frankly Books then you’ll know that I’m a massive goal setter. I’ve always got something that I’m working to achieve in an aspect of my life (or usually several aspects at once! Here are my 2013 goals) Setting yourself some goals can be a great way of making marketing manageable.
My goals, for example, are to try to update my Author Facebook page once a day, to tweet regularly and to aim to produce 2-3 blog posts a week. These things don’t always happen, but they are what I am working towards achieving and they are manageable targets for me to try to hit. In addition, I try to use at least one marketing idea that I haven’t tried yet each month, such as having a launch party, a giveaway, making a donation from book sales, that sort of thing. It helps to keep things fresh, exciting and interesting!
If you are new to social media, you might decide to focus on mastering just one new tool every 6 months. I’d suggest starting with getting an Author Facebook page up and running. Just stick with that to begin with. Then, you might add in an author website with a blog or you might join Twitter. Practise balancing these two together for a while before adding in something else. If you find that you’re not a fan of Facebook, then ditch it. There is no point carrying on wasting time with something that isn’t working for you!
2. Give yourself a daily or weekly time limit to spend on marketing.
It is very, very easy to get sucked in to spending hours and hours on book marketing. It tends to go something like this.
– I’ll just update my Facebook page quickly.
– Oh look, someone has put a link to something mildly interesting on there. I’d better click on it.
– Hey, that reminds me. I was going to look up a baby site for girls names for a character in my next book.
– Harriet … no. Hattie … no. Oh Hermione. Well I clearly can’t use that. But that reminds me that I should pop by Pottermore and take a look.
And suddenly 2 hours of writing time have disappeared!
I suggest that you limit yourself to a maximum of 30 minutes per day. During those precious minutes, you should aim to:
- Post an update to your Author Facebook page
- Fill your Buffer with interesting tweets
- Reply to any book related emails
- Jot down any ideas for blog posts that come to mind.
On Sundays, I give myself 2-3 hours to write and schedule my blog posts written for the week. The amount of time this takes really depends on the ideas that I have jotted down and things that have happened during the week to inspire me. Getting my posts at least mostly completed on Sundays (even though I might look at them and tweak them before posting during the week) has been a great way to free up writing time on week nights.
3. Use tools that enable you to work smarter, not harder.
One of the best tools that I was ever introduced to is Buffer. It allows you to add tweets into a queue, which will then be tweeted at designated times later on. This is fantastic for two reasons: Firstly, if you come across something interested whilst you are browsing the web, then you can add it to your Buffer as a tweet right away and secondly, you can schedule your tweets to appear on Twitter at a time when people are most likely to read them. I’m based in Australia and if you look at my tweets, you might think that I’m up at 3am tweeting to people in the US or UK. I’m not, it is Buffer doing the hard work for me! You can even use Buffer to send updates to your Facebook page too.
Using the scheduling function when you are blogging is another clever way to keep things ticking over. As I mentioned earlier, often I’ll schedule 2-3 blog posts on a Sunday and these will then appear later in the week. Sure, I could log in to my computer at 8am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to click post, but this way, I don’t have to. It might only save me 10 minutes, but even those few minutes over the course of a week quickly add up!
What tips do you have for other writers when it comes to not letting marketing your novel take over your life?