By Andrea Hintz
Through every process in life, we all have those, “I wish I had known” moments. We wish we had known how to do things better and how to be more effective. For this series, I chose the topic of five things I wished I had known about marketing before I published my first book. I would like to share my experiences in the hopes of helping new writers as they go through this exciting and inspiring journey. I will go ahead and dig straight into these five topics:
1. I wish I would have marketed more before the book was published.
This is hard to do when you are just learning about the world of writing and publishing books. The more you market in advance, the more promised readers you will have. It can be disappointing when you have been dreaming about getting your book published for such a long time, thinking about how the moment your book is available for sale, the sales will suddenly begin flooding in. But most of the time, this does not happen unless you put in a little pre-work with marketing before the book is published. I remember someone once saying that writing the book is only about half the work. The longer I experience the world of sales, the more and more I find this true. In fact, right now, writing the book only feels like about 20% of the work. So your next question might be, “How do I market my book before publishing it???” No worries. I got you covered. Read on my curious writer…
2. I wish I would have built up some book reviews before posting the book for sale.
If you have the ability to get some book reviews before you publish your book, that will help to build your status as a writer and make your books more desirable. Now, before I continue this article, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU COPYRIGHT YOUR BOOK FIRST! These steps will require getting your book out there before you can publish the book, and you want to make sure that your precious talent is protected. Go on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and ask your friends if they would accept a free PDF version of your book in exchange for an honest review. You can post the offer on your timeline, message individual friends, or both. I would recommend adding a watermark in Word, saying something like, “Copyright, 2017, Author Name.” Then change the Word document into a PDF so that it cannot be changed. Do this before distributing the book to strangers. Don’t know that many people who would be willing to give you a book review? Don’t worry. I got you covered for that too in my next topic.
3. I wish I had known that Goodreads was such a great place to find book reviewers.
It is intimidating, finding book reviewers. You have fears of bad book reviews, and you might not even know where to find book reviewers in the first place! It is scary to hand over your book baby to a stranger and listen to them analyze your precious characters who have become your dearest friends. I cannot guarantee that you will get a good review every time. But I had great experiences meeting a lot of really nice people who just wanted a good book to read, and I was able to get several four and five-star reviews. I did get one bad review, and strangely enough, the reviewer never even posted it online. The great thing is that Amazon does not allow sarcasm or foul language in their reviews, so if you get one back that has a lot of that in it, it will most likely not be allowed. Or you can report it and see if you can have it removed. Removal is not guaranteed either. That is why I recommend having several reviewers read your book at the same time. I would recommend about ten at a time. The reason I recommend so many is because that way you can get some good reviews to balance out the few bad ones, and also some reviewers will accept a free digital copy of your book and then maybe about two out of the ten will not post a review because something came up and they forgot about it. I do follow up with my reviewers after about a month. Just keep a list. You might be wondering…where do I find book reviewers on Goodreads? Look under the book groups and search out book reviewers. There are whole groups dedicated just to this. And most of them are real, genuine, wholesome readers. There are not a lot of book snobs that enjoy giving terrible ratings and give you a horrible review because of one typo in the book. Again, MAKE SURE YOUR BOOK IS COPYRIGHTED AND WATERMARKED FIRST!
4. I wish I had completed more author interviews before I published my first book so that I could have built up more hype about my book.
There are plenty of book bloggers on Twitter who are eager to email you a set of awesome interview questions that you can type up over the weekend on your computer and send back to them. And they are a lot of fun to fill out (especially if you love writing, talking about yourself, and analyzing your own book). These guys are usually completely uplifting, and if you can, you can ask them to review your book. Bloggers are excellent in their fields and a great source of support during this new and exciting time. They make great friends as well. You can find them by searching out phrases like, “book blogger” on Twitter, finding their accounts, following them, and tweeting them a message asking if they are currently conducting any author interviews at the moment. You can also search out book reviewers, in general, using this same technique.
5. I wish I had taken some sort of action on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn every day.
When I had my first book published, I created my social media accounts on the same day that my book came up for sale. I have seen a lot of other authors create their social media accounts a few months before the book is published, and they are able to build quite the following. How do you do this? Talk to people. Talk and talk and talk. I would recommend following about thirty people a day on Twitter and then adjusting this number based off of how much time you are spending online. You do not want your whole life to revolve around it. Follow people who might be interested in your books. I noticed that teenage girls tend to love my books and are always more eager to follow me back than anyone else. So I go to the Twitter accounts of famous bands and authors (i.e. One Direction, etc.) and follow as many teenage girls as I can. A lot of them follow me back. Now, if you write books that are targeted at an older audience, and maybe more male than female, then you should find Twitter accounts that people like that might follow. When they follow you back, send them a public message that thanks them for the follow and include their name in the message so they know it came from you and not a machine. A lot of them will follow back. If you can, start an easy conversation with them. A lot of times, they might start a conversation with you. Go ahead and talk to them and see what types of books they like. Just be safe in your communications. Stay neutral when talking to strangers in order to protect yourself. For Facebook, make a page for you as an author, and then separate pages for each of your books. Invite all of your friends to like your pages. They most likely will. Facebook has author groups as well who all support each other and will like your page in exchange for a like on their own page. If you do this every day, you can get a lot of likes. I always ended up focusing more on Twitter than Facebook, but every author is different. See what works for you. For LinkedIn, there are author groups where you can freely post anything you want. I would post writing topics on the discussion boards that encourage writers to do their favorite thing…writing about themselves and their work! Ask a question like, “How long did it take for you to write your first book and what was your book about?” And then connect with as many of them on LinkedIn as you wish.
These are just a few of the things that I wished I had known and I wanted to share them with you so that you can be as successful as possible. As life happens, you can fall out of the regular routine of marketing, which is normal. Just jump back into the routine when you can. When I market, I sell books. When I don’t market, I don’t sell any. That is the simple fact of being an author. But if it is something you are passionate about, don’t let go of your dreams. Fight for them.
© 2017, Andrea Hintz. All rights reserved.