Writing a book…is hard. You go through the happy, yet incredibly draining, experience of churning out the work. Then you manage to round up an editor, go through edits, get a cover designed, formatted, and (ah ha!) finally published.
Then it sort of goes nowhere.
Okay, maybe not nowhere. A good pile of reviews come in, book bloggers review the book, you do a blog tour, family and friends buy the book. After a few weeks or months of the promotion, where do you go?
You didn’t write the book for the money, although you would very much appreciate if people bought the book because then you could cover all the costs you went through to get editing, design, and formatting done.
Marketing your novel doesn’t have to be a draining experience. Sometimes, just maybe, the thing you need to do most of all is…very little at all.
I take it you have never heard of the web series High Maitenance. The show revolves around the people a weed dealer interacts with as he delivers weed to customers around New York City (interesting, right?).
Well, there is insight to be learned from the makers behind High Maintenance. They did hardly any promotion at all for the series.
They sent out the first few episodes of the series to friends, family, and acquaintances…and that was it. They didn’t constantly pester bloggers to review their series, pitch to places, and so forth. The end result of their minimalist promotion? High Maintenance developed a cult following.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Not all people that do little to zero promotion for their products end up hitting it big. In fact, doing little promotion can be super risky.
Investing tons of your time to marketing your novel (when you should be writing) is another risk you take.
Well, there are some things you can do to help cut down on the time-consuming task of marketing your book and spend it on writing your next book.
Get people to sign up for your author newsletter
People who are subscribed to your author newsletter are around 25X more likely to buy your book than some random blogger you encountered or a Twitter follower you got.
If you don’t have an author newsletter, get one. Services like MailChimp help deliver the newsletter to potential subscribers.
Reach out to other people
Ksenia Anske, author of Siren Suicides, posts her word count for the day on Twitter. She responds to things people ask her. Best yet, she compliments other people on their work.
Talk about your writing process (no, really)
Okay seriously, don’t be another one of those people that posts pictures of your perfectly placed laptop along with a Starbucks cup. Show the actual process of your writing (and include visuals!).
Ksenia Anske posts on her blog about her writing process, how she is coming along, and so forth. She shows her writing process even when it is not so glamourous. People like a raw human element to things.
When people see you at your rawest self, they have the ability to empathize and connect with you more. These are the types of people that buy your books.
Think of cool, subtle promotional techniques you can do for your book
You know that author newsletter you send out to people? What if had first few chapters of your work in progress in one of the newsletters. Send the first few chapters of your novel out, one by one, for free. Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series, did this at first. His books took off in popularity, partly due to it.
Ksenia Anske gives her books away for free, letting readers download files from the drafts of her novels. This in turn, gets her readers pumped up for the final version of the book.
Marketing a novel is hard work. Don’t let it consume your time and keep you from writing more. The purpose of your marketing should be on building a community around your books rather than just getting people to buy it.
- This can be risky considering most self-published authors make less than $500 per year.