Think of marketing like sharing pictures and stories about your kids! You wouldn’t hesitate to say “My son made the Varsity basketball team! And he’s only a Freshman!” or “Check out this picture of my daughter’s ballet class. She’s so adorable!” and people comment and ‘Like’ your posts.
You love your books almost as much as you love your kids (sometimes more, depending on whether they’re going through the terrible twos or pre-teen years!), so share tidbits about your books and your WIPs similar to how you share stories about your kids. After all, you created those stories just like you created those kids! It may have taken longer and may not have been quite as much fun! ;)
Sometimes when I’m writing or editing my ‘favorite’ scene in one of my WIPs, I share excerpts or quotes, or funny things about my book. These are the posts that get the most traffic, and they show me my target market! If someone comments with “I can’t wait to read that book!” you know they are probably going to love the whole book.
Pictures have been shown to draw way bigger traffic than just text. Whenever I have a photo that ‘goes’ with one of my books, I share them. “Check out this picture of the view from my mom’s front porch! This is the lake that inspired my novel The Cove!” or “This picture of Ashton Irvin from the rock band Five Seconds of Summer is how I imagine my character Ian Taylor would look like (if he was real!).”
I don’t expect to be the next Stephanie Meyer or Nicholas Sparks, but I also realize that neither of them could have predicted they would be as big of a bestseller as they turned out to be. It could happen. It probably won’t, but it could!
You can’t sell something that doesn’t exist, so my main focus right now is writing. I have quite a few stories in my head right now and I’m writing and editing as fast as I can to get them out of my head! I publish them as fast as I can, but edit the heck out of them beforehand.
Learn all you can about marketing, but don’t start marketing until you’re ready and have a plan in place. Think of it like going to college. You wouldn’t read one book about nursing and then go to a doctor’s office and apply for a nursing job. You would go to college for several years and learn how to be a nurse before you go and apply for a job. You also would need to get a ‘starter’ job rather than apply for the position of head nurse at a prestigious hospital.
Recognize that you may not be as good of a writer as you think you are. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. Use beta readers and editors and LEARN FROM THEM! Get off your high horse, be humble and malleable. Just like the nursing analogy. You will not be the head nurse at a hospital before years of practice as a nurse. Don’t expect to be the best writer you can be without a lot of years of practice and continuing education.
Everything in life is ‘selling’ and it’s not a bad thing. That’s why you get dressed and put on makeup and do your hair every day. You put your best self forward as a means of making a good impression to those around you. Whether you’re bringing a plate of cookies to a potluck, hoping to be hired for that job, or sharing stories about your kids, you are selling yourself, your thoughts, your cookies. You hope you don’t come home from the potluck with a full plate of cookies. You want that plate to be empty and people asking for your recipe. You want validation. If you do come home with a full plate of cookies, you might be selling them wrong (are they a funny color or misplaced on the plate?) or you added too much salt and word got around pretty quickly that those cookies tasted horrible! It’s the same thing with your books. You need a good cover and good content.
Ask for help! That’s what we’re here from! We can be your validation. Everything comes down to the Home Depot advertisement: You can do it. We can help! –Julie