There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt on the digital wires (so to speak) about what works, and what doesn’t work in book marketing. By and large, the substance of what I have read suggests that much of the social media we were once encouraged to use is no longer seen as useful.
There are exceptions. Here are four:
1. Blogs do help to sell books, poll-takers say, but only when using certain guidelines. In particular, target a specific niche topic and offer free expertise and useful links.
2. Blog talk shows can increase visibility. A talk show host’s audience can be substantial. Choose a host who has been at it a while.
3. An attractive, well constructed, easy to navigate website, as always, it the foundation for social media marketing. There is a lot of good advice available surrounding the organization of your site.
4. Certain reader sites, such as Goodreads, can be powerful aids. But you need to stay active.
But what about Twitter? If you have spent countless hours trying to build your following to three or four figures, you have been wasting your time, the pundits are now saying. I get it. If you have hundreds of followers, you can not possibly read them all, you must narrow the field. The tendency is to read only the tweets from those we know, or on topics that interest us.
That takes us full circle, but along the way we have grown to feel responsible and so we tweet regularly anyway.
There are many social media sites that have come and gone. I have established a presence on some only to let them slip away. That’s probably not a good thing. And it’s embarrassing. But who can do it all?
What tactics do experts tout now for success in book marketing? Here are four:
1. Email lists, first and foremost. Lists garnered from your website, from your own social circles, former classmates, workmates, in short – people with whom you already have a connection, people who will see your name and open the message. Aim request Emails at gatekeepers who could be important to your sales asking for assistance and showing them how they can help. Get up close and personal.
2. Write lots of books. The more books you have out there, the more attention you draw to your other books. This tactic meets with universal agreement––more books translates into more money.
3. Get lots of reviews. And stay within your genre. If you write Romance, aim your marketing at sites about Romance. Blog about Romance. Become the guru of Romance.
4. Use your website to push your books, go easy on the other social media. Link everything back to your website and do your hard sell there. Keep it up to date, easy to find, easy to use, and easy to buy.
What will work next week? Who knows? More authors enter the market, literary agents change their modus operandi, publishers increase their royalties – in short, the industry is in flux, to say the least. Yet as things have changed, the four practices above have consistently weathered the storm.