Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Secrets of Self-Marketing; or, You're Published, Now What?

So, you’ve managed to write your book, snagged a publisher, and are now wondering what you can do to help your book sell once it finishes its run through the publishing process. Well, it looks like you’re not the only one. Recently, the Huffington Post posted an article by publicist and marketing expert Arielle Ford concerning the various factors that motivate someone to buy one book over another. You can find the full article here. While short, it contains some useful information regarding what you yourself can do to drum up book sales both before and after your book hits the shelves. The article can be boiled down into three main ways in which you can work up your audience into a buying frenzy for your book.

1.      Judge a book by its cover
How a book looks will decide, for the majority of book buyers, whether or not they will buy your book. The cover art, the title, and the back cover all play a big part in first catching a buyer’s eye and then impressing upon them that they need this book in order for their life to feel complete.
So, how does this affect you? Well, Ford gives some advice for how to help your book cover sell:
Publishers have a vested interest in designing attractive, well thought out book covers for your particular genre. However, your opinion is important therefore you should assert your participation in the design process of your book cover. Take notice of what covers attract your attention in the bookstores.”
Next time you’re at the bookstore, or surfing through an online seller, pay attention to the books that catch your eye. What about the cover design attracted you to this specific book? After looking at multiple books: What are some characteristics that have consistently attracted you?
Maybe it’s a simple design, like plain cover with bold lettering for the title. Maybe it’s a more active cover, one that depicts a scene in the book. Or, maybe you’re drawn to the photographic covers, where the cover consists of a screenshot from the movie/show it is associated with. Jot down what you notice and share them with your publisher as you work on the cover design.
2.      Build an internet presence
The internet is a perfect place for building up a following of supporters interested in your work. Just think of all of the fansites out there for books such as Harry Potter or blogs devoted to the nuances of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The internet is a feeding ground for those interested in the new and exciting.
Set up a Twitter account and begin building a following who will be interested in learning about your book when it is available for purchase. Or, build a Facebook fan page where your friends can find out information on your book as it passes through the publication process. Make sure to post updates often to keep up interest, and you will find yourself with a fanbase before your book even hits the shelves.
3.      Give back
This one can be done with your internet presence or in your book itself. Make sure to give shout-outs to other writers’ whose work you admire. This will help drum up business for them when people are finished with your book and looking for the next one to sink their minds into, or help them out while yours is still in the works.
This may seem like it will only hurt your own sales, but readers are a voracious lot, and will only be wanting more when they find something good. Other writers will then give shout-outs in turn, paying you back for the good reviews and audience you send their way. This will help expand your potential buyers as well as get your name out there.

Now that you’ve heard from us about how to drum up publicity, what ideas or experience do you, our readers, have regarding self-marketing? Leave them in the comments below.

-Zach U.

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