Marketing. It's more than just getting your book noticed, it's about making a name for yourself.
So you've written a book, or two, or three and now you need to word to know about your books. But even more important you need to let the world know about you and you need to engage with your reader. Think about it, how many times have you read a book and then moved on to the next? Often, right? But if you're in sync with an author you'll always go back and see what they have coming next.
Even if your book is not published yet there is opportunity to promote it. Let people read a little. (C'mon you never know when someone knows someone who knows the MAN right?) But readers want in on the ground level. And especially if you're going to self-publish, get readers involved from the start!
Marketing doesn't mean you'll have to spend a lot of money. In some cases you can do this for free. Yes, I said free. Let's look at what you need to market you and we're going to do it all for FREE!
If you are not in the world of social networking...get there! Social networking is one of the the quickest and cheapest ways to get your name, face, and product out there.
Facebook! You should have your personal stuff separate from your professional. If your mom, sister, and grandma want to follow you, they can follow both pages. But you should have a professional page for all your professional accomplishments. In addition to that page you should have a fan page. A fan page will not limit the number of friends you have and you're going to get a lot more exposure. Use this Facebook page to mingle with readers! Don't just have it up for display...talk to those who came and liked. You don't have to always talk about your books or about writing in general. Be personable and ask a question to gain interaction.
My Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie) is used to interact with my readers and colleagues. I try to post something everyday. If I have a book coming out, you bet, I publicize it. But I also say, Happy Tuesday! And I ask what they are doing on that day. People like to interact with you. So let them. Run contests too, but don't always be pushing. Be yourself and let them enjoy you. People really like when you reply to them too. Take a moment a day to do just that.
And though we all have our opinions on the happenings in the world, try to keep those to a very minimum if you want to have a smooth running page. I don't mean you shouldn't believe in your convictions, but people want easy going, they don't want to be preached at.
Twitter! I hear so often, "I don't get Twitter!" Well...you should. Twitter will allow you to mix and mingle with like minded people very easily. This is a great place to build a alliance among other writers. You're going to find multi-published authors are just as willing to follow you back and interact with you as aspiring authors. And ALL of these people will have something to offer you in regards to more knowledge!
BLOG!!!! Get one! What better way to showcase your writing skills than to blog! I use my blog for professional opportunity. I've written a few series, like this one, to share my knowledge with others who might seek it. I've written about daily musing (such as Muffin Tops and Farting in the Tent), but I try to tie it all into the world of writing and my books. Another way I use my blog is to showcase other authors. That's right...share the wealth. Think about it. If I host Miss Sally Something on my blog, my readers learn about another author. (Trust me there is enough to go around.) BUT, Miss Sally Something has followers too! And she's going to tweet, FB, and blog my name to her followers and they're going to come to my blog. That's right, just by interviewing her on my blog I'll have upward to 100 extra people look at my name.
Goodreads is a great place to follow authors! Take a moment to look around and see all the great things there. Mark all the books you've read and get to meet other readers.
What do all these things have in common? They are free! That's right. You can market yourself to thousands of people a day, just by being personable for free.
These are only four examples of opportunities. Look around and you'll find hundreds. World Literary Cafe is one that I think is worth your time as well. The resources there are phenomenal for authors in all stages of their career. Join in on discussions and groups. Get to know others and that will help you. Let people know who you are and what you're doing in the world writing. So many of us out there are in the same boat in this huge sea called publishing. And you always need a friend, right?
Okay, so why get my name out there if I don't have a book? Let me tell you why from a publisher's standpoint. If you send me your query and I like it, I'm going to want to know about you. So I'm going to go look at your Facebook, your Twitter, your Blog, and your website if you have one. I want to know what you've done to pre-promote yourself. In this world of publishing now days authors have to do some of the marketing if not most of it, so I'm going to want to know what you can do. The moment I get a submission that says, we don't do Twitter or Facebook and don't interact on the internet (yes, I've had these) I pass on the submission. I think it is just too important in today's market. A blog will show me how you write other things than just books. Your FB page is going to show me how you interact with the general public. Trust me when I say...get your name out there now!
I do want to also say, beware. Having your name and book out there will cause the opportunity for you to be taken advantage of. Note: publishers and agents DO NOT come looking for authors. Authors go in search of publishers and agents. If a publisher comes to you and says, "I saw your book, I'd like to publish it," be very, very, VERY careful. Think about it...if a publisher is good then authors are flocking to them. The same goes for agents. If they are searching the internet looking for business...then it is not a good sign. Why do I tell you this...because I've walked the walk. It is flattering when a publisher comes to you! BUT after 3 years of battling to get your books back when they fail to pay you or exploit you, then you see the error in your ways.
But don't let this one warning stop you. Go out there and Facebook, Tweet, and blog!!!! Ask to be a guest on a blog (yes...I love to have people on my blog always!!!) Host others on your blog (YES I love to be on other blogs too!) You will find the alliance is HUGE and it's FREE if you just use it! If you don't, who is going to know your name?