It’s clear that the publishing industry is currently in a state of upheaval. Booksellers are imploding, and publishers are simply not buying on the same level they once did. What does this mean for the writer? Ultimately, less support. It means that, more than ever, the onus of marketing oneself with fall to the author. This is true whether you are self-publishing, publishing with digital presses, or NY print publishing.
So what can you, the author, do to cost-effectively promote your brand? Here are some suggestions I’ve heard:
- Write the Next Good Book: Yeah, yeah. Everyone says that, but it’s true. Ask any author on the bestselling list and I’m sure they’ll confirm that this is the best way to increase sales. When people read and love your book, they will want to read more.
- Set up a Blog Tour: There are many sites that will do this for a fee, but if you are willing to put in the time you can go it alone for free. This requires contacting several different blogs (preferably those with a decent amount of followers) and asking if they would be willing to: (1) write a honest review of your book if you provide them a copy for review; (2) do an author interview; or (3) allow you to do a guest post on their blog. I imagine most bloggers would be happy to do at least one of the three, but even if not, the worst they can do is say no.
- Get a Book Trailer: I’ve heard a lot about book trailers, with varying viewpoints. Some people don’t think they do much in the way of garnering any new sales, but at the very least you may be increasing your visibility. You can spend a lot of money on these, so beware, but some people enjoying doing it themselves. (If so, more power to you. Just the thought makes me want to shrivel up and die.)
- Offer to Teach Workshops: This is another way of getting your brand out there. You get to impart knowledge (and hey, probably learn a thing or two as well) while increasing your visibility in the writing community. Remember, writers are readers! I know I (with my reading addiction) am one of the best customers an author can have.
- Use Amazon’s Resources: Amazon has something pretty cool called Author Central. Once you have a book listed on the site (whether self, digital or NY print published) you can set up an entire author page there. You can also track your sales on the site (including where in the U.S. your books are being sold). Amazon is a huge part of the book industry; this shouldn’t be ignored.
- Research Self-Publishing Options: Self-publishing is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the industry. Well, okay…maybe it still is but opinions are changing fast. With noted authors like Barry Eisler and Connie Brockway turning to self-publishing, and many others finding success there, this may be a good tool to taking charge of your career.
What other things, in your opinion, can authors do to take charge of their career? For those of you who are published, is there anything you’ve found success with?