Marketing your work
Marketing is all about raising awareness and understanding of your product or service.
It's more than just advertising, selling and promotions – it's about knowing who your audiences are, working out the best way of communicating your message to them and sharing your work through different channels.
Look for similar authors to you. Find out where they are, what marketing channels they are using and what makes your writing different to theirs – how does it stand out?
Also think about writing bloggers. Could you approach them to blog about your book? Or are there any links to good writing forums you could join for networking and feedback?
TV shows like This Morning often interview authors on current topics, so make sure you keep an eye on what’s going on. You could also approach TV stations to interview you about your background – remember to mention your own backstory and what makes you unique as a writer.
- All social networks have a different reader-base or audience, so start by identifying your readers – who reads the kind of books you write?
- Sign up to the social media channels that your target readers are likely to use. It doesn't have to be every social media channel – manage it according to what works best for getting your work out there.
- Create your own website and have an area to build a mailing list and collect your readers' data – then you can send out newsletters once in a while to keep them updated on your work. You can also include tips on writing, speaking opportunities etc.
- Create content that people will want to share and plan your content with a call-to-action – you could include an excerpt of your writing, linking to where to buy it.
- Twitter is very popular with publishers and agents and is a good platform to engage with them – agents tweet what they're looking for, what they don't like, and to announce when submissions are open.
- If you don't feel it's your area of expertise or interest to do social media marketing, you can find a marketer who can do it all for you (both the planning and the posting).
Other promotional tools
Other ways to promote your book include booksellers, schools, arts organisations and book readings, as well as speaking at events, bookshops and libraries.
Harper Collins has run virtual romance festivals on Twitter, organised by Sam Missingham (Head of Audience Development). So festivals don't have to by physical. Would you be interested in developing and running an online festival to get your name out there?
You can get your voice out there by writing articles, blogs and guest blogs, and carrying out interviews and Q&As. You can also review other people's books online through channels such as Amazon or Goodreads. This all helps to raise your profile as a credible writer.
Look for authors who get a lot of likes, retweets and attention and ask them if they can support the release of your book, for example by tweeting about it. This will help get your book out to the masses.
Understanding your audience
Think about who is going to buy your book and flip it on its head – how do you choose a book? Where do you buy books from? How you decide what books to buy? What attracts you to buying a book? What puts you off about a cover and are you influenced by it?
Do you write reviews? What makes you write a review? Do you like to research more about the author? Think of what entices you to buy books and what will entice your target audience to buy your book.
- Think how your readers will feel when they finish reading your book – make them find more on your website, promote offers to keep the discussion going, etc.
- In your email signature, have an image of your book and hyperlink to your website or a specific webpage for people to buy the book.
- Leave copies of your book in public places where people read – ie coffee shops, local cinemas, the tube, public events, talks, etc.
- The London Writers' Club runs monthly events.
- The London Book Fair is a good networking opportunity as new agents will be taking submissions there. Agents do specialise, so do some research and find the ones who represent people like you.
- Byte the Book is a networking group which meets up on a monthly basis – a mixture of authors, publishers etc.
- There is a network of Arts Council England-funded development agencies which cover different regions and have different programmes including networking events.
- The Book People sell a range of books, including children's books.
PR benefits and considerations
PR (public relations)
- PR is about communicating the right message to your audience. It's an opportunity to influence opinion and build relationships.
- Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising.
- Public speaking, book signings, festivals, interviews and blogging all provide a platform for you to talk about why you write. What does it mean to you? What do you want to express and achieve? What is the writing process like for you?
- Do you teach classes? Are you an expert in something? Do you write articles on other topics? Is there a catalyst or inspiration behind your writing? These are all great hooks for promoting you as a writer.
- Consider organising collective book launches and panel discussions with other writers – this is also a good way to maximise publicity.
- What media contacts do you have, or do you know anyone who can help with this?
Advanced Information sheets
Advanced Information (AI) sheets provide information about you and your book for press and book buyers, such as Waterstones, Foyles etc. An AI sheet should include:
- a picture of the book cover
- publishing data/ISBN number
- a picture of the author
- the retail price
- the number of pages
- the format – hardback, paperback, ebook?
- an author bio, contact details and information on where you can buy the book
- a synopsis of the book
- your marketing and PR plans
- Think about the angle – why would a journalist read past the first line? What is newsworthy about your story? Do you have a universal theme?
- Cut out adjectives and any kind of jargon – stick to the facts and be short and sweet.
- Always follow up with journalists – take the lead.
- Try to get editorial coverage rather than reviews.
Press release template
The square brackets show where to personalise the press release for your own work.
[Publisher and/or Author] announces the release of [Genre] book, [Book title]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Town/city, county] – [Publisher and/or Author] are proud to offer the [latest, debut, etc] work from [Author], [Book title], hitting bookstores everywhere on [Date].
[Book title] is a [gripping story, informative guide, etc], focused on [basic premise of the book, or the subject matter covered].
[Further synopsis of book and/or details about the author. Try to persuade the reader that they want to buy this book because it’s exactly what they/their customers are looking for].
[Quotes from author, and/or any positive reviews from critics].