Marketing Your Writing: The Basics of Selling Your Book
Marketing is important for all writers who hope to sell their work—whether that means books or articles or writing skills. I used to work for a book publishing company, and for several months I was in charge of marketing my boss’s book. It was a writing reference book, actually, and although I had no idea what I was doing when I took over the project, I learned fast and had a lot of fun doing it.
Now that I’m in business for myself—and I need to make a living from my writing—I am constantly marketing. It’s just one of those things that we have to do. And it’s one of those things every writer should consider whenever he or she is thinking about writing a book. How are you going to reach your market and sell books?
Book Marketing 101
Marketing means, essentially, letting people know what you have and what you can do for them—reaching the market. And there’s a million ways to do it, the key is to know what you hope to accomplish and don’t let up until you get it.
So, why is marketing so important when you write a book? Because you want the book to sell, right? If you don’t let any potential readers know about your book, no one will know to buy it. Understand now—before you even start writing your book—that you will be responsible for marketing it and you should have some ideas of what you plan to do.
Does Selling Feel . . . Weird?
Yes, kind of, but that feeling goes away. Writers don’t always like the idea of selling their work because we’re not all natural salespeople. Most of us would rather write and let someone else handle the marketing (and that’s an option for those who can afford to hire help). Unfortunately, no matter what anyone says, marketing involves selling. Although you’re not soliciting people door-to-door, the ultimate goal is to sell books. But you’ve got to put yourself out there, and if you want to make money as a writer, then you have to take a business-minded approach.
Writing Your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan can include a number of things. Most marketing plans include both online (such as building a web site or blog, sending an e-zine, and article marketing) and offline (such as speaking events, workshops, readings, and book signings) strategies at their foundation. It also helps to constantly seek new opportunities by sending press releases to media outlets, publishing articles and/or selections from your book in print publications, advertising, and interviews and other publicity campaigns.
For new ideas to include in your marketing plan, check out Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, and Michael Larsen, and 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.
Selling Those Books Now and in the Future
Sure, marketing may seem like a hassle. But it can be fun—and once those book orders start rolling in, you’ll see the value in every marketing effort you make.