Probably the worst part about being an author is having to market your work. In my experience writers are introverts. People who prefer their own company to others’. People who are humble and live a simple life. So when a writer is forced to move out of their hermit-like comfort zone and peddle themselves to the public, it’s like asking someone afraid of heights to go mountain climbing. It doesn’t come easy. For the past ten years I’ve kind of “hoped” I wouldn’t succeed. I hoped my books wouldn’t get taken on by publishers and that agents would pass me by. Of course this little seed of hope was stuffed into the back of my brain, overpowered by my other hope of sharing my stories with the world. And now that I’ve had one of my books picked up, and publishing is becoming a reality, I need to seriously step into the intimidating world of marketing.
And a world it is. Larger than I could have ever imagined. Facebook and Twitter are stuffed with other authors, many who are self-published and who have no one but themselves to get their name out. It’s like a circus filled with colorful clowns. Everyone has their makeup piled on, and are performing their best tricks to attract an audience. But without the spotlight of a huge publishing firm or top agent shining on me, how can I possibly be seen in the shadows? This is the problem I’m facing. The problem all authors face. And I have a plan… kind of.
First of all, a couple of months before The Glass Ceiling comes out, I’m hiring a web-based promotions company. These are author-friendly companies who set up blog tours, contests, interviews, and create online banners you can use in social media. The prices can range, but the one I’m looking at is about $150. I think it’s well worth it. What good is writing an awesome YA, if the only people who read it are your editor, mother, and a couple beta readers?
The second thing I’m doing, and have been working up to over the past three months, is growing my online presence. I try to blog when I can, post in Facebook, Goodreads, and very rarely Twitter. Social networking is not my favorite thing to do. I think it’s a time drainer, and you’re reading a bunch of thoughts from complete strangers. But for a debut author, it’s necessary.
Last, I came up with this amazing idea…that’s quickly become a flop. But I’m hoping when the time is right I can take advantage of it. I created a shop on Etsy. You can view my shop here. Etsy is to crafters like Facebook is to authors. Ridiculously packed. I’ve had 32 items listed for over a month with no sales. Why? Because no one sees them. Unless you pay for the advertising, your products are placed in the back of list…on page 856. But all is not lost. There is a method to my madness. There are “some” authors who have succeeded in posting autographed books on Etsy. However, since Etsy doesn’t consider books “handmade” you run the risk of having them removed. Thus, I needed to have an established store on Etsy before putting up my autographed books. AND, I have another niche. Daisy chains play a large role in my book. They symbolize the friendship and create conflict between a few of my characters. Along with a signed copy of the book, I intend to include a handmade beaded daisy bracelet. I figure I can put a link on my author site directing fans to my Etsy shop. Of course, this only works if my publisher puts my book out as paper as well as kindle. Fingers crossed.
What marketing strategies have you used that have worked for you?