Friday, March 06, 2009

Back on the Blog Chain: Marketing Your Novel

It's time for another Blog Chain Post. This round, Heather chose the topic:

What plans do YOU have to market your novel? How will you make sure the public finds your work?

Michelle posted right before me, so be sure to check out her thoughts on this topic.

I think the principle of marketing is pretty simple: you need to identify your target audience and let them know in an enticing way that your product exists. The problem is figuring out the best way of doing that.

I have some experience with marketing my work, since I had a short story published in an anthology last year. Among other things, I announced the anthology on my blog and my website, read from my story at WisCon, and gave author interviews for a blog tour. I would definitely do these same things again to publicize a novel. I'd probably attend more conventions after the book comes out; I'd bring bookmarks to leave on the freebie tables and sign dealers' stock (that way, they can't return the books to the publisher.) I'd send sample copies to reviewers. For other ideas, I'd check out Maria Zannini's blog series about Killer Campaigns. She not only lists ideas for publicizing one's work but also analyzes how effective they are.

Probably the most effective resource a writer has for publicizing herself is the Internet. It's accessible to anyone anywhere at any time. It's also a great way to make connections. Several of the previous posters in this Blog Chain mentioned that as introverts, they're worried about having to appear in public. I'm an introvert too, which is why I find belonging to writer's groups such as BroadUniverse and The Online Writing Workshop useful. They not only help writers meet other writers but also publicize their success stories. In particular, BroadUniverse is dedicated to promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror; the group puts out an annual list of works by its members. With two e-mails to the mailing lists for BroadUniverse and OWW, I can reach over 2000 people. I also plan to use Facebook; I belong to other writer and reader groups there, so I can post information about my novel to those groups too. Since most writers tend to be readers as well, hopefully some of them will be interested in buying the work of a writer they know or have heard of.

(As a side note, I recommend being active in writer groups as much as possible. It not only increases your reputation or "whuffie," but it's good karma. I've donated time and money to BroadUniverse; I'm also the admin for BroadUniverse's group on Facebook. Although I haven't been able to crit much on the OWW recently, I do buy members' books to support them.)

Writers aren't the only readers I plan to target. My book features a fictional version of John Lennon, so I also plan to let Beatles fans know about my book. I'm involved with a Beatles forum, so I could post about my book there. I'm not sure if I could promote my book at The Fest for Beatles Fans; it depends on who I talk to, I suppose. I could also invite people to enter a trivia quiz about the Beatles for a chance to win an autographed book.

Previous posters in this chain have discussed some really creative ideas, such as making a book trailer or creating a piece of jewelry to give away. I haven't made a book trailer yet, though I may have that done once I sell Across Two Universes. Copyright might be an issue there, especially since it would be tempting to use photos of John Lennon. A gold necklace with a cross plays an important role in my story; I could also hold a contest to give one away. Of course, then I'd have to publicize the contest itself. ;)

One final piece of advice I have for other writers is this: if you want to use your name as an address for your website, secure it as quickly as you can. My late writing teacher, Kathleen Massie-Ferch, was unable to use her name because someone else squatted on the domain name and wanted a high price for it. That's why I set up my site years ago, before I had any sales to promote.

That's all I have for now. Head on over to Kat Harris's blog for her marketing ideas.


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Sandra!

And great advice about securing your domain name.

I've shied away from making a book trailer and I think it'll be next on my list of Killer Campaign posts so I can showcase the pros and cons.

PS I think you're doing a great job!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Lots of great links and ideas here, Sandra (especially the Whuffie link:) I like that most of your ideas are centered around making the internet work for you.

celticqueen said...

excellent marketing tips! And you are so right about the internet domain thing. My name was taken (Miss Universe 1992 has the same name) so I modified it a bit at set up camp at I don't do much with it yet :) but hopefully someday it will come in handy.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post Sandra - you definitely have this well in hand. Great links, too

ElanaJ said...

Great post Sandra. I also liked the links and the positivity. :)

Kat Harris said...

Thanks for the links.

Be very, very, VERY careful about the John Lennon thing. Yoko Ono is incredibly protective of anything even resembling John.

I'm a huge fan of this incredibly talented musician named Lennon Murphy whose band went by the name "Lennon" (because it's her first name). Yoko filed a lawsuit against her for trademark infringement. I wrote a blog about it awhile back, I'll e-mail a link to you.

Sandra said...

Thanks, Kat. I've heard about that case, actually; I belong to a Beatles forum and learn a lot of Beatles-related news from there.

I will be changing a lot of details in this draft so that Sean Quinn, the musician, isn't identifiable as John Lennon but could be any British rock star. He doesn't even have to be British. Hopefully there will still be enough focus on music to make this book interesting to music fans.

Anonymous said...

Excellent ideas, Sandra!

TerriRainer said...

AS always, great links and great info!!!

:) Terri

Archetype said...

Thanks for the links -- I need to spend some more time on the sites, but I love being turned on to great places on the web!

H. L. Dyer said...

You may be the most organized person I know. Go, you!

Site Meter