If you’ve ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans you may know at midnight on Fat Tuesday the police come through on horses, commanding “Mardi Gras is over, clear the streets!” On my two visits to NOLA for the event many years ago my casual observation was that everybody listened. The police seemed pretty serious about this; even the businesses shut down. And so rang in Lent with Ash Wednesday, a time to repent and turn our focus intently toward God.
Writing a book seems more like going to the Oscars… once the book is published my first inclination is to head to the after party. However, for many writers to whom crafting their work comes naturally, selling books is where the real sweat equity resides.
Marketing a book must seem like a prideful activity to non-writers. We talk it up all about ourselves and our book. It must seem like Vanity Fair has engaged us to throw out tidbits of self-promotion at every turn like the boozy evening of celebrities that revel through Vanity’s Oscar party. Whether you hire a seasoned PR firm, are old hat at self-marketing, or just winging it, here’s the truth:
You are the single most valuable asset to market your work, and the real work of being a successful author has just begun.
This seems to be true whether you’re published by a major house or doing it on your own; for many, the fun is done; now it’s time to bust a move. Lent is sort of like the after party for newly published writers, a turning point for so many as we focus on Jesus and His journey to the cross.
I’m going to share with you just 2 Big To-Do’s for this after party (i.e., some helpful stuff on selling books):
- Implement well. The adage goes something like 80% of our results are accomplished with just 20% of our effort. Identify the 20% and stick with that stuff. So I had a publishing guru send me this book with a bajillion good ideas on marketing a book. It remains the single best resource that I’ve found. “Guerrilla Marketing For Writers.” Here’s one essential morsel about “implement” – write a bad to the bone press release. Include it in a media kit package on your website. The ultimate compliment here is to have the press copy your release verbatim. Jubilation accompanied by 3-second handstands will be the reaction.
- Engage. Your best customers are the ones who will tell their friends or social network about what you’ve written, or recommend your book. You want to identify with the people who think of you as one of their favorite authors. So the Vanity Fair party is a one-night event. Go to it. Have fun. Then, get to work getting to know and networking with the people who are going to help you promote your work. Do this the rest of your days. In many ways this is a natural fit for the expressive and nurturing “NF’s” – the visionary and magnetic personality type that fits most authors.
For me personally, I am excited about transitioning to marketing “The Wellspring Of Life.” I love being around people and interacting, it’s a natural part of my personality. Also, I am excited about writing my next book, a vade mecum of my spiritual journey. Yep, one of them, but with a different twist as you will see…
What good advice can you share about marketing a book?
One way I’ve marketed my own books is by posting portions on relevant blogs I maintain then including a link at the end of each post. I have the books on the front page of my website too, and I set up an Author’s page on Amazon, which also includes links.
Some Christian groups on Facebook exist to market books, but our Christian Poets & Writers group isn’t one of them. Members can announce a new book, but after that, it’s considered an ad, which will be deleted.
Our group exists to help up-build the church Body of Christ through our writings in all genres, so we also want to help each other learn more about writing well. Since other members of our group will be glad to see the info you’ve posted here, Chris, I’ll highlight this on the Christian Poets & Writers blog http://christianpoetsandwriters.blogspot.com . Thanks and blessings.
Iron sharpens Iron, thanks so much Mary!!
Thanks Mary for these wonderful posts and useful advice for writers. Lots to think about. Where you mention that members can announce a new book, would this include self – published ones?
You can pitch it here for sure Christine, I would love to hear more about your poetry!
Congratulations again, Chris. My best marketing advice is: do it. (sigh)
I’m looking forward to reading Wellspring. I’ve been forced to create an orderly pile to my books to read. Yours is near the top though…
I’m just finalizing “I am Eve,” the second book in my “With Faith Like Hers” series. Also starting to dig into “I am Ruth.” Have been holding off on serious marketing of “Esther” until I get three in the series out into the world. Dunno if that’s wise, but there it is.
Best wishes. Looking forward to hearing about your next book.
Thanks Carol, you always seem to be soo busy! I think marketing the 3 of those in the series would be a good idea. Would love to read them too (If I’m not too manly for that series!) hee…
You are manly but my guy is reading them, too. (grin)
Thank you much TC!!