Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marketing, How much is enough

I hate marketing. That is something I hear time and time again, but I have to tell you, if you want to make it out there, this is a necessary evil. This is even more so when you are writing for smaller presses or e-publishers. If you want your books to sell, you have to get out there, press some palms, kiss some babies and make people like you.

Now, there is really no one perfect way to market your writing. Every writer has their favorite methods for getting their books out there. Some have to do with the resources they have available. Others, it is due to the nature of the book. I mean face it - if you write erotica, sitting in a family book store signing books might not be the best approach.

I am a great friend of Cathy Clamp and C. T. Adams. Now, if you want to know how to market, these two are the best. They are everywhere promoting their books. They do it in person and they do it online. It doesn't matter. The key is to create an environment that prevents people from going anywhere without seeing your name.

Book marks, postcards and other goodies get your name out there but understand there is a cost that goes with those. Now, if you are lucky, your editor working in conjunction with the art departments might produce a stack for you. Otherwise, get to work.

The latest trend are the video clips. I think these are great, although for me, it is just not something that draws me to the book. I guess I'm still a traditionalist and love to see things in print. But for others, it is worth it.

Now, I could go on and on with all of these options for marketing your books. That isn't the real point I want to make. You have to realize that people will only buy what they know about. Otherwise, you are dealing with that old saying of "Out of sight, out of mind."

I have heard several editors make this comment as well, and they were right on the money. They said that if your neighbors don't know you write books, or that your latest book is just coming out, then you aren't doing a good job.

So my question for you is simple. How do you market? What have you seen that works? Let's see if we can make a list here that others can use as a resource.


  1. It's a fine line between time invested and the return on your investment. Swag is disposable and costs too much. Making friends with your local booksellers and promo targeted to booksellers and librarians would produce the most results. It's like trying to dig down through layers, to get to the people with the cash and buying power.

    I listened to a lecture once that said single title was pretty hit or miss when it came to sales, because so much depended (if you were new) on the cover, and the back cover copy. And IMO, it also depends on where your name falls in the alphabet. People love that eye-level buy.

    anyway. A website. A good, professional, updated at least every few months website with "added value" in terms of either free reads, useful reference, or something that draws, and keeps drawing people back.

  2. Also, depending on the book genre, there are a lot of places you can market your book fairly cheaply.

    I write romance, and there are tons of blogs/review sites and such that allow ad space to be purchased, for as little as $10-$25 a month.

    Even if I only spent $100 on ads online, if they're placed in the right places, they'll bring back a return.

    Not to mention all the free banner exchanges/promos you can do, just by asking other authors, (friends) to drop a blurb about your book or post a link for you.

    And then there's chat groups. Granted, one can spend HOURS on the online loops, but if managed properly, they can be good at getting your name out there. And they're free too.

  3. I agree that websites are great, but I have to say, when I talk to people about how often they visit websites, the answer is always the same. They visit the authors they already buy and will continue to buy. They very rarely visit new authors. Does this sell the book? I don't know. These people were likely to buy that book regardless of the website.

  4. Candice,
    I think what I see you referring to here is just getting your name out there. If someone is on a blog or in a chat room and we like what this person is saying, we are likely to take a look at their work.

    I'm not so sure about the banners yet. Like the websites, I don't just click on an unknown writer's banner, but more likely someone that I already know.