After I have critiqued a children’s book, the author often asks me for advice about marketing. I often see the same questions asked again and again within writing forums; authors wanting to know the best ways to get their books ‘out there’ and enjoyed by many. It’s a competitive market so just how do you market the book you’ve poured your heart and soul into?
- Start before you even begin the manuscript.
Promoting your book has to begin early. Before you start to write your story, consider your audience. If you want a book that is ‘marketable’ then consider the subject area you could cover- is there an event or news topic coming up that you could latch onto- the Olympics coming up, a big trend towards raising awareness of a certain area, an anniversary of a big event that you know will make the news. If you write about something which is relevant, you’ll find it easier to establish your audience, join in with discussions, target specific people and so forth. You can use the hype of the event to talk about your book
- Build up social media.
Again, this needs to start early- it’s no good having your book in your hands and THEN starting to try to sell it. Who are you selling it to? A blank platform on social media or a ready built up audience? Establish yourself on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Join in with discussions by using hashtags that are relevant, connect with other authors, bloggers, people who often tag specific books that are similar to yours or on a subject matter which your book covers. It takes time but it creates an audience ready for when you’re hoping to put them in the direction of your book.
- Create a blog tour.
A blog tour is where bloggers will post about you/your book. A blog tour should be about a fortnight long and have the first week the week before your book is published and the second week being the week after. This will help to drum up the hype and reach a whole new audience. You can ask in groups for bloggers who would be willing to review your book, do an interview with you or post excerpts from your book within their blog. You can also recruit bloggers by using the hashtag ‘bloggerswanted’ on Twitter and Instagram. Check their blogs first and their audiences to make sure that they are relevant, offer them a free copy of your book and provide them with enough notice to be able to read it and create the post ready for the tour to begin.
Advertising on social media is all very important but what about the community outside of the Internet? Establish yourself within your local community. Arrange to give talks at schools- you could read your story, create some activities for the children to do based on your story, answer questions about what it is like writing a book and so forth. Children can go home inspired and talk about your book. You could take part in an event at your local library giving a talk or craft activity. Look around and see what options are out there to get yourself within your community. Always make sure you have a stack of books with you that you can sell and sign too.
Everyone likes to win something! Create a competition and have it help build your audience; perhaps entrants have to simply ‘like’ your post and tag a friend that they think would enjoy your book- this will help to expand your audience so will help in future publications too. Choose your prize carefully- a free copy of your book and something relevant to the age-group too.
- Be present.
The main marketing tip is to make sure you’re present. Respond to people who send you Tweets and emails, post regularly about what you are doing, the book’s progress, what the weather is doing… let people see you are active; interaction is vital and keeps you present within the market.
Be careful how you word things; NEVER post “NOBODY is buying my book, PLEASE go to Amazon and check it out.” “Why is it so hard to promote a book??” Instead be positive “I’m really enjoying reading the lovely reviews people are putting on Amazon about my latest book” “I have been working on another book and can’t wait to see people enjoy it as much as my latest one!” Keep it positive, people don’t want to read that you’re having insecurities!
Marketing a book takes hard work, it needs to begin way before you put pen to paper and has to continue throughout the whole process. It’s important to remember you need to build an audience up, create a presence both on social media and within local communities, use blog tours and competitions to get people talking about your book and always, always be careful about the words you use when posting updates.