Thursday, March 6, 2014

Work It Baby: How to Make Your #Fantasy (#Novel) A Reality

Book marketing is a tricky biz. I can’t say I’ve mastered it, since I just launched my first book 2 days ago, but I’ve been at this for months, and I can say that so far a few things are working really well--while others aren't.

What Works

Giving Up The Goods
People like to know immediately what they are getting themselves into. This is why it is super important to provide samples up front. Here is an example of my synopsis and free first chapter. But your blog/website shouldn't be the only place to share. Also, make sure that your paperback/print version has a "Look Inside" feature and that your ebook is set up to provide a sample as well. 

Amazon has been great to work with so far. They did a good job of condensing the multiple versions of my book and giving it exposure. (It’s #55 on one list and #60 on another, which isn't bad for day 2).   Amazon also made it easy to get my author page  up and ready. Don't know how to create your author page? I just looked at other good examples and read a few posts. For more on that, read this  and this.

Book Bloggers and other Indie Promoters
They are your friends. All you need is a few great reviewers to be as excited about your work as you are and they’ll be happy to shout from the mountain about it. My cheerleaders so far have been Cabin Goddess Kriss, Sharon of I Smell Sheep , A.B. Shepherd and RebeccaPoole, who’ve all had really encouraging things to say about the book.

This is good because people get tired of hearing YOU talk about how much you love yourself. Hearing it from someone else makes you seem less like that crazy cat lady who is always showing pictures of her Noodles and Mr. Cranks.

Yes, cats--not how much time I've spent formatting my book

So make friends with these fabulous people and remember—it is a two-way street. Don’t forget to show love to the people who showed it to you first.

Getting your Goodreads author page set up is important. Start early (months before the release!) and get your ARC (advance reader copies) out. Ask for reviews and then watch others add you to their TBR list!

I’m also going to try a Goodreads giveaway this weekend: 3 DAYS, 3 AUTOGRAPHED COPIES. I will write about it once it is over and let you know how it goes. I’m mostly following the advice given in this well-written article.

If you aren’t on Twitter, make it so. It’s a great resource and I’ve met some wonderful people in the TwitSphere. If you are apprehensive about getting started, read this guide from book baby.  It makes it easy. Also, once you may want to invest in a twitter managing service to help you grow and maintain your follower list. I use JustUnfollow to manage my 7500+ peeps.

What Doesn’t Work

Paying to promote my posts or page on Facebook hasn’t garnered me much success. I easily wasted too much money that could have been used to better advertising ends. At first glance it looks like a good deal. It promises exposure. You are in control of your “daily budget”, etc. But really what you are paying for is “likes” not sales. And even when people are feeling generous, and give you a like, it doesn’t mean they will rush off to buy your book. Instead of paying for promotions, direct your twitter traffic to your FB page, and there are plenty of likes to be had. :)

Crappy Content
Writing a great book and cleaning it up is the first step, yet you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. You don’t have to be rich to produce a good book—but you will have to take the time to do it right. Make sure your print book is well-edited with a nice cover—if you aren’t a good editor yourself, get one. Don’t have photoshop skills? Hire someone. Just do what you can to the best of your abilities. Look at good examples in your genre and aim high. You can use scrivener to produce a proper eBook complete with embedded links instead of just uploading a generic word doc.

Shooting in the Dark
Don’t try to sell your work to just anyone. Sell to your specific demographic. For example, my book is good for readers who love sci-fi, paranormal or urban fantasy. And people who are into quirky, sassy protagonists with attitude—added bonus. So it does me no good to twitter stalk someone who only reads children’s books or nonfiction. Get the idea?


1) Make it good (clean up that book!)
2) Start early—(get those ARCs out, build those Goodreads/Twitter profiles)
3) Make friends (Indies unite!)


  1. Thanks for the insights into writing and publishing a book. It is a great, simple and we'll written post. I can clearly see you know what you are talking about. This is inspiring me more and more to write a novel......maybe sometime I to the future.
    Meanwhile, I like what you write.
    Great success for your book.

    1. Oh good! I'm glad I could offer some helpful tips, Inderpreet! :) I will write more about this once I get a little farther down the marketing road ;)

  2. I like the suggestion to send tweeps to your fb to "like" seems more practical than paying for likes ~ use those ad dollars on more targeted sites visited by your specific audience. clever. thanks!

  3. Hi L.L. Thanks for commenting! :) And yes, I've had a lot more success directing traffic from my Twitter page than paying for likes! So I encourage you to try it :)