First, my philosophy in marketing is how effective is whatever I’m doing compared to the time/money I have to put in? As a mother of four kids and the wife of a pastor, I have limited time to use toward my writing and marketing. So unless it guarantees a big return, I am reluctant to do something that requires a lot of time.
Same with money. My family just came off of being unemployed for a year and we are currently recovering from that. And as a small indie publisher, I have very limited resources from my publisher. Not that I’m complaining, I absolutely love Marcher Lord Press and there are some benefits you get with going with an indie publisher vs a traditional publisher (that will be a topic for another time ;)). Lastly, I see marketing as a small, step by step, reader by reader process. If I gain even one more reader through my endeavors, then I see that as a win.
So here is what I have done that has required little time and money:
-I started a blog 2 years ago (and here it is :)). I love blogging and so it’s not a hard thing for me to do. I blog about anything and everything on my heart and am not afraid to bring up sticky issues like what does a person do when they have lost their faith or how to deal with bitterness. Through my blog I have found a small readership who isn’t just writers. They appreciate my candid approach to faith and that readership has transferred over to my book.
-Build a relationship with the people you interact with on Facebook, don’t just talk about your writing life. Most of the people in your life do not understand the writer’s life nor do they really care. But when you are a real person with kids who do funny things or issues you are passionate about, you build ties with readers.
-Send arcs 3-4 months in advance to some big review places like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, even Locus magazine. I sent to about 10-12 places and only heard from 2. But that was 2 more than I had the day before :).
-I chose not to do endorsements. At the time I was getting ready for my book release, I was also getting a house ready for the market and moving across states. Since endorsements have never influenced my choice in books, it wasn’t high on my priority list. And I didn’t really know anyone personally to ask, except one friend. She had just signed a contract for 2 books (hurrah!) and was honest and said she didn’t have the time, which was fine by me.
-Reviewers: I’m still learning this aspect of marketing. I do a lot of research into a reviewer before I ask them to review. I see what their site is like, do they like my kind of book, do they post their reviews in other places besides their blog? I know traditional publishers can send out a lot, but since every review book I send out comes out of my own pocket, I am selective on who I give one to.
-How to find reviewers: I just spent yesterday looking up quite a few of them. I looked over amazon’s top 150 reviewers, saw who reviewed my kind of book and sent them a nice, polite email with a request for a review. I also see who is reviewing my peers’ books and see if they would review mine. I have already received responses, all positive, and half of them said they would review.
-Always be respectful and polite. For one thing, you are an example of Christ to whoever you interact with (for the Christian writer). Secondly, it might win you a review. I had someone respond yesterday that they were so impressed that I actually took the time to look at their blog and read their posts that even though she was bogged down, she was going to make a spot and do a review for me.
-Be a part of Goodreads. I had never heard of this site before, but it is a great place to interact with your readers. Also check out Shelfari.
-Do a book giveaway with Goodreads. I am finding that a giveaway gives your book great exposure and it’s free advertisement! And it’s going on right now, so if you’re interested, here is the link: Goodreads book giveaway
-Book trailers. Not everyone likes them, but some people do. And it might bring them one step closer to purchasing your book. If you have a mac, it comes with iMovie. That is how I made mine: Daughter of Light Book Trailer
-I have not done a blog tour, but thinking about it.
-Remember, you can’t do everything or you’ll go crazy (not to mention not have time to write!). Do what you are good at. I don’t twitter or do pininterest because I don’t know how or have the time to keep either updated. I’m good at FB and so that is what I do for now.
– And lastly, remember God might have different plans for your book than you do. Keep your priorities straight: God, spouse, family, then writing. Sure, there are seasons when writing needs to take a front seat (like that dash to the release date), but it shouldn’t stay there. Be who you are suppose to be, have eyes open and ready for opportunities, and give your writing and marketing to God.
When you think you did it all yourself, you take the glory away from God. But when you give your marketing to God’s control, He might surprise you and in the end, all you can say is “God did it, not me!”