My Favorite Marketing Tools for Authors
You think that writing a book is the hard part, right?! Getting your book noticed (and appreciated) by readers is a whole new thing. Here are ways I’ve connect with readers and have grown my fan base … without being annoying!
Just a few quick tips that have worked for me…
1. I’ve hired a nearly full-time assistant to help with marketing. She posts my blogs, formats my newsletters, sends out packages, etc.
2. I fit my radio interviews, etc. into my calendar. I also schedule in things like e-mail interviews, mailing signed books, etc. I don’t have specific days but rather specific slots to meet the need.
I used to speak two times a month. Now I limit that to four times a year. It takes me days to prepare, days to travel, days to “get back into life.” At this season in my life I need to give time to my family first. This is out-of-town stuff. This doesn’t count in local engagements, which I will take if they fit.
“I’m an Author. Do I Need a Newsletter?”
Many authors have newsletters. I have one that goes out about every other month. I share an inspiring story, news, and information about me and what I’m up to. (Subscribe to it by clicking here!)
Every book signing, conference, or speaking event I do I hold a drawing. In addition to their name and address, on the drawing info card, I include three other things:
- “I would like to receive Tricia’s email newsletter.”
- “I have another event I’d like Tricia to consider speaking at, please send me a press kit.”
The majority of people check “yes” to signing up for the newsletter, which is great! Plus, I’ve discovered building a dedicated readership is worth giving away free books. As for whether it’s worth the extra time and effort, people who are signed up for my newsletter are people like older friends from church who don’t spend time on social media or reading blogs. I also encourage readers to pre-order my novels and it seems to be working!
Do you know your audience? Do you know who you’re writing for?
According to my web analytics: “Based on internet averages, triciagoyer.com is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range of 25-34, have children, are college educated and browse this site from home.” Looking at other information I find that the websites they visit before and after my site is Facebook.
When I think of my reader, I often think of real women I know to help me picture “her” in my mind.
One is Alana. She’s a friend from church who’s married to a great guy from Guatemala. They are involved in missions outreach in his home country. She’s college-educated but put her career aside to raise her two kids. At church we chat about my new books and the research behind them. She’s invited me to her home to talk to other young moms about homeschooling. She posts adorable photos of her kids on Facebook, and she works at a preschool part-time, mostly because she likes the connection with other moms and kids.
I have readers from other age groups and lifestyles, but I know that I have a nice following from this audience.
There are obvious ways I connect with them:
- By doing guest blogs on mommy and homeschooling sites
- By blogging about marriage and family on my blog (I throw books stuff in now and again 🙂
- By posting about my writing (which is following my dream), life and family on Facebook and Twitter
- By hosting Facebook contests
I also try to be aware of other places my core readers and followers are congregating.
One of those places is Pinterest.
I’ve discovered that you can pin anything to your “bulletin boards” that has a photo. I “pin” my books under subject headings like “World War II” or “Amish.” I also started spending five or ten minutes each day finding old blog posts and “pinning” them. For example, recently I pinned a blog post from July 2010 on “How to Be a Better Lover” to my Marriage board. If people like your pins, they repin them on their boards. And then people look at their boards and repin them, too. Sweet!
Recently, because of things like Pinterest and Facebook parties, the daily views on my blog/website have jumped significantly. I’ve also seen my book sales numbers growing, too. Yeah! And the best part is it’s fun for me! (Yes, I find Facebook and Twitter fun, too.)
Because I like it, I don’t feel like I’m marketing (so much), and readers don’t feel that I’m only concerned with trying to sell them something.
Even though the majority of books I write are fiction, I’m making a connection with my main readership who connect with me over family and real-life issues, and then run out to buy my novels. They also buy my books for their parents and grandparents, too, which I love!
All that to say, instead of casting a wide net and attempting to reach a variety of readers, I’ve been doing more to connect with those who respond most positively to me and my books.
Are you sick of hearing about Twitter yet?
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? You have 140 characters (letters) to answer that question. You can “tweet” once a day or twenty times a day. It’s up to you.
You may wonder who reads these tweets. They are your “followers.” People follow others they know, those they respect, or those recommended by other. Not every follower reads each of my posts, but many of them read most.
Throughout the day I send updates about my devotional time, writing, editing, and even my errands. People follow the progress of my books, and they are often eager to spread the word about my project. They comment back, which gives a sense of community.
I’ve also used Twitter when doing research. I post questions, and I ask for feedback. I’ve even asked for suggestions for chapter titles or character names. Fun!
Tweeting may sound like work, but it takes less than one minute to post 140 characters—about two sentences, or as much as this paragraph.
As a writer there are benefits to tweeting
1) People do enjoy hearing about everyday lives of interested people. As a writer you are one of them. (This is the reality television generation, remember?) As you’re working on a book, you can become interesting to a wide variety of people—many who may later be readers.
2) Seventy-five percent (or maybe more) of the people I’ve connected with are those who I haven’t connected with before. Score! My followers include radio hosts, television producers, editors, and many potential readers.
3) My Facebook account is also connected with Twitter. When I update the status of one, the other is updated. Because of this, my Facebook network has grown, too.
4) When I promote my interviews or articles or books, I have a wide variety of people who are eager to hear the newest news. For example, when I was recently on Focus on the Family radio, I tweeted about it, and many, many people responded, telling me they turned into the radio. It was a great feeling!
Personally, I follow thousands of people on Twitter. No, I do not keep updated with this many people all day long. Rather, I have a select few that I follow via my cell phone. The rest (those I don’t follow on my cell phone) I keep updated on by scanning on the web four or five times a day. If I see something interesting, I may comment on their post.
The people I follow closely are writer friends and professionals in our industries, such as Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson), Sheila Walsh, and Ed Stetzer (CEO of Lifeway). I can honestly say I know more about what’s happening in the publishing industry today than I did a month ago.
I also follow a few “non-famous” closely. One is Kristen, a farm mom. I’m writing a series of books set on a farm, and it’s free research! So if you are interested in connecting with people, building relationships, and spreading the word about your writing, Twitter might be worth checking out.
Go ahead and try it. It’s not hard to dip your toe into . . . since it’s only 140 characters at a time. 😉
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk