The Importance of Marketing

I was on Facebook the other day when I got a friend request from an author. I always do my best to friend other authors as we need to help support each other. She was an author from one of the top 5 Big Boys of the publishing world. One of her friends was a fan of my series, The Ghost Files and told her about it. She looked me up on Amazon and then struck up a conversation.

At first, I was flattered, then I was pissed. I got insulted and complimented in the same breath. She wanted to know how I was staying in the top 100 on Amazon in my books specified category and she couldn’t get hers to move. She was published and her books were in stores whereas mine was only on Amazon. She made it sound like there was no way my books should be able to do that because I wasn’t with a top publishing house. Then she asked me how she could get her book in the top 100. I was insulted and then asked for help. 

Me being me, I decided to ignore the insult because she did ask for help from this poor little author who doesn’t have a big 5 behind her.

We've all been there at one point or another, ready to pull our hair out in sheer frustration. 

** Remembering all those rejection letters from agents...**
The first thing I asked her was what kind of marketing did she do? Her answer was her publisher had done some things here or there. Then I asked her what she herself had done. Her answer? None. She didn’t think she had to market her own book because she was published and in bookstores. I sat there looking at the chat and just shaking my head.

Yes, if you are lucky enough to get snatched up by one of the top 5 in publishing, you do have a leg up in that you will get some shelf life for your books. That is always great. There isn’t an author I know who wouldn’t sell an organ for a chance to see their books in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Walmart, or Target. The thing is though, even if you have this advantage, you’re relying on people to pick up your book and read it. Unless the cover is spectacular and will grab everyone’s attention, chances are slim that people will even pick up your book in those huge bookstores. If they don’t know who you are, what the story is, why would they buy it?

It is up to the author themselves to go out there and promote not only their book but themselves as well. Great, you published a book, but then you just sit there and expect it to sell? How long did it take you to write that book? How long did you work on edits? That same amount of focus and time, needs to be spent marketing. Yeah, that big 5 is going to do some work, but with a first time author, they are not going to put the same kind of marketing behind you as they would a New York Times bestselling author. It just isn’t going to happen. You have to go out there and tell people who you, what you wrote, and why they should run to the local B&N or Walmart and pick it up. Otherwise, your sales are not going to do what you want them to.

It’s hard work. You have to do blog tours, make connections with other authors, and anyone in publishing who could potentially help you. You have to make yourself available to fans, get them talking to their friends about you and their work. You need to coordinate book launches, get the media involved. As an author, you’re gifted with words. Use that to do guest posts, try and get your book noticed by local news outlets and radio shows. Never turn down an opportunity to chat about your book even if it’s just to someone in the check-out line at the grocery store. Get your name out there.

Social media is a must, especially in today’s world of technology. Smartphones, tablets, and even some GPS’s are equipped with the ability to get apps like Kindle, Nook, Goodreads, and Wattpad. Use this to your advantage. Tell people about your book and that its available on the Kindle or Nook. Utilize Facebook to create an author page or even your own personal one. Just make sure you have a presence. Twitter is a great tool for advertising as well. The thing you need to remember about Facebook and Twitter is that you can’t just spam ads for your book. People will stop listening. They want to hear from you, their favorite author in the world. Post some pictures that you think are funny, share some stories, things from your life. Give your fans a way to say wow, she’s awesome. Make them remember you.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the author and the time they are willing to put into building a following and brand. I work hard every day to get my name out there, make sure people are talking about my books, The Ghost Files. If I didn’t do that, I’d be in the same place the author I spoke to was. Maybe selling a book every couple weeks. Make everything you do count, make people remember you, and eventually through sheer force of will, things will happen for you. You just need to be willing to work for it instead of sitting around waiting for things to happen to you. Take the bull by the horns and make it happen.

Apryl Baker

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