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Marketing… urgh…

I don’t like marketing.

It’s a statement I have heard many other authors say as well. It’s that awkward feeling of having to put yourself out there to try and convince people to buy your books, even when there are so many others out there that might interest them more.

Also, I don’t like shoving myself in people’s faces shouting, ‘Buy my books they’re awesome!’ 😀 And no matter how inventively I try to do my marketing, it always feels like that’s what I’m doing.

But, if I want to make a living out of my writing, then marketing is something I need to do, or how else will people know I’m here and what I’ve written?

So, to try and make marketing my books a little more interesting, I took a look around places to see how fans celebrated their favourite reads.

On Tumblr, it tended to be image sets, quotes done in a fancy way and photos (lots and lots of photos).

On Pinterest, quotes done in fancy fonts seemed to be the most popular form.

On Twitter, there wasn’t actually much I could find. It was mostly authors advertising their own stuff, nobody seemed to be talking much about stuff they’d read and enjoyed themselves 😀

On Facebook, quotes and photos were again what seemed to be the most popular.

So, taking this on board, I figured maybe I should try to emulate what people do for their favourite books, for my own books? A different kind of way of marketing that audiences might be more receptive to, instead of just posting a link?

Whatever way I decide to do it, I definitely need to do it more. I need to get over that awkwardness and really start trying to let people know I’m here 😀 Not only to gain readers and income, but because I want people to enjoy what I’ve written!

How do you market your books? Have you got any ideas on how to market a little more inventively? How do you share with others about books you’ve loved reading?

Progress Report:

Word Count: 5575 (30,918 total word count)
Status of fourth manuscript: Writing first draft.

Books read: 1/4

June eBook review: 100% read. Writing review.

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67 thoughts on “Marketing… urgh…

  1. I found that snail mail marketing worked well for me when I was able to do it. Despite what people think, not everybody is into social media. So I sent out post cards for books to people across the country and I saw that work some. It let people know I’m here, what I write, and where they can find my books.

    • I love the idea of post cards, an effective way to get your name out into the world. And you’re completely right, not every one uses social media, and it shouldn’t always be used for advertising.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • 🙂 yw. You can see if any local business will allow you to leave a few cards on their counter or somewhere customers can see them and take one too. That’s a hard part for me, going into stores to ask so I tend to just drop off gift baskets for the office instead ;). I haven’t done that in a while though…I am such a chicken.

  2. II’m still fairly awkward in marketing, but I’ve been told a lot of that has to do with the fact that I only have one book on the market, and marketing gets easier when you have more to offer a reader. It makes sense, which is why I’m kicking it in high gear to get The Slayer Saga out in its entirety in the next three years.` I do most of my marketing on my blog, which is kind of counter-intuitive, since most of the people who read my blog already bought my book, but I’m getting better with Facebook and Twitter.

    On Twitter in particular, I’m mostly fond of using the #amwriting tag to talk about my writing process or dropping quotes, with hashtags for whatever I’m working on. Again, it’s hard to judge how useful it is, but my #amwriting tags are the most favorited ones.

    Depending on how my Kickstarter funds go, I might start buying ads on blogs, too, especially for my anthology collection, which will require other authors to participate, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I have a cute little ad image made up for it, though. Baby steps.

    I think the key to mastering marketing is just patience and putting yourself out there. Even this comment is marketing, in a way. A soft marketing. The kind of marketing I like.

    • Great tips, thank you for sharing 🙂 I need to remember to use hash tags on twitter more often! I am still finding my way around social media half the time 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. I am actually looking forward to the marketing stage, but I have to be able to dedicate some serious time to writing to finish Dissonance. I have decided that I’m the odd writer and am actually extroverted by nature so marketing is a challenge to rise to instead of something to dread. I am slowly working toward marketing even though I don’t have a finished product yet. I’m hoping by the time my book hit’s the “shelf” there will be some interest.

    • Working on marketing before the book comes out is definitely one of the things they recommend, building up all the hype and things 😀

      I admire your attitude to marketing, I wish I could look at it as something to rise to! A very positive way to go into it.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. It’s the one thing I hate as well. However. It is a necessary evil because without marketing people won’t know about your work. Be strong and just go for it 🙂

  5. I feel for you though I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through. Seems you have to be everything just to get yourself out there. Good luck and if there’s anything I can help with let me know.

    • One of the parts f self-publishing is everything is on you. If you don’t work for it, you won’t get it, and I guess I’m going to really have to go for it! 😀

      Thank you for the supportive comment 🙂

  6. I have to agree, I dislike marketing. I’m not doing much (nothing) right now. I’m waiting until my entire first season is completed. This gave me ideas though, when the time comes I’ll read through what I’ve written and hopefully I have some profound/funny/interesting line to quote and I can make it all pretty and then pin/tweet/tumble it everywhere!

    • I think the general idea is to make whatever you’re marketing look appealing, especially to the crowds on Pinterest and Tumblr, who do like the pretty! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting, and good luck with it when you get to it 🙂

  7. I’m not a marketing person either, but I don’t rely on my books to make a living. Don’t get me wrong – my books sell and I’m really happy about it, but if they didn’t, I’d still be able to pay the bills.

    A couple of tips –

    I’ve seen a lot of authors put pictures of their books with links on their main blog page (mine are on the right of my page). This catches the eye while people are reading posts. I noticed you’ve got a link MY BOOKS at the top of your page. Take a look at your stats and see how often people click on this link, because I only just noticed it when I read this post (so it’s not something that stands out for me).

    I also found my sales spiked when I made the video trailers of my books (through Aminoto – if you need help with this let me know).

    I noticed you don’t include Goodreads in your list, but that’s also a great marketing tool.

    The main problem with blogging is that people usually glance through blogs (and like and sometimes comment) so when they see A Writer’s Life for Me they’re not immediately hit by the name Mishka Jenkins. This is your ‘Brand’ so you have to put it out there. If the name Mishka Jenkins hasn’t already been taken by WP I suggest you create another blog with this name. Set it up and keep it private until you’re happy with it and then let your readers know it’s available when it goes live so they can follow you on that blog.

    Also Linkedin is another site that can get you close to other writers and a load of publishers and agents if you’re interested in that.

    I hope you don’t mind me taking control like this! Best of luck 😀

    • This is a brilliant list of tips, and I wish I could re-blog the comment for others!

      Thank you for taking the time to write this, these are all going on my to-do list 🙂 (Really good advice on the My Books page, definitely going to have to make it stand out more).

  8. I made myself some postcard size promotional cards which I carry with me all the time. I hand these out when I get talking to people. I went up to London to the RNA summer party and handed them to the taxi drivers after noticing that they all read books while waiting for their next pick up. Though I’m not self-published I still promote my short stories which are in anthologies and myself. I always wait until I’ve engaged in conversation with the person and find out if they are readers and what sort of books they like. I have found that readers love talking about books. Good places to get chatting with readers are in charity shops while looking at books. I’m always on the look out for reference books, so car boots and second-hand bookshops are other two places to find readers. If you engaged in a relationship with the person first i.e. by showing interest in their reading taste and chatting about books you have enjoyed too, it feels less like a sales pitch when you mentions that you write too and offer them your card. Never start telling them how wonderful your book is, just tell them all the details are on the card and let them check out for themselves. If they do ask you questions all well and good . . . then tell them more, but only then. Remember how you feel if you don’t like having Jehovah witnesses on your doorstep spread the good news by handing you their ‘watch towers booklet’

  9. It’s something I need to work on as well. It can be tricky getting the balance right so that people know you’re there without forcing your work on them. I’m open to any tips as well! 😛

  10. I hate “selling myself”. I’m the type of person who is usually in the background and I never EVER try to sell someone anything. It’s always been my belief that, “If they want they will know where to get it”. However, that mind set doesn’t work with a career where your lively hood is dependent on how visible you are. That’s why i joined Thirty-One. It’s forcing me to put myself out there, talk with strangers, and show them why I think they would enjoy my product.

  11. I have struggled with marketing as well. Some aspects have been kind of fun, but I have never been comfortable trying to convince people to read my work. I like your idea of doing things with your own books like other people seem to do with books they like. I may have to steal that one ;-).

  12. It’s unfortunate, isn’t it, that art and business have to co-exist. We went from several hundred thousand published books (some decades ago) to multimillion (today), so we have no choice. I haven’t done it yet (shorts don’t need as much marketing as novels), but I dread the day when I might have to. 😦 🙂

    • It really is unfortunate. I do wish sometimes I could just write and put my stuff out there and people would find it on their own, but as you say, there are so many books now that it takes real effort to get mine noticed!

      I hope these tips, and the others provided by commenters, help out on the day you have to come do marketing! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it 😀 Marking is a tough topic, and I don’t think it will ever stop being something I learn about!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  13. You can keep this blog, and all of its followers, but incorporate your author name into it somehow. That’s what I did. Mishka Jenkins Writer’s Life for Me would work simply. I tried the post cards, but by the time I paid for printing and postage, it really was not cost effective. Very few sales related to post cards. ENT and Amazon sales work best for me with the ads. I am on Goodreads, but I will say they are a harsher judging crowd and I tend to keep a low profile there for a number of reasons. Good luck with all you do! Social media can be overwhelming, but your blog is awesome. Your personality shines through.

    • I think I am definitely going to have to start incorporating my name into my blog and other social media- great idea! How will people know it’s me if I’m not using my name 😀

      Social media can be exhausting, but it is one of the best and quickest ways to get your name out into the world and let people know you’re out there. I just don’t want to be annoying and shove myself in people’s faces all the time!

      Thank you for the kind comment, I’m glad you like the blog! 🙂 I always enjoy your posts for their honesty, and for helping me realise things I would never have thought of 😀

  14. I haven’t started marketing yet, I’m still in editing mode on my first novel. But it’s interesting to see everyone’s ideas on a page. thanks for the blog, I think it might help a few people out 🙂

    • It is good to get a discussion like this going, and throw in everyone’s ideas. It certainly helps to get ideas flowing and help out everyone together 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  15. I think thats a great idea Mishka and I will probably borrow it! I would hesitate to start a second blog; they take a LOT of time and effort to maintain and keep current, as you know. Time better spent writing your next book or MARKETING lol! I have that issue too… I blog a lot a out Carys which has reached the point where it really needs to have its own blog but I know I dont have the time or energy to keep TWO blogs a d write and market my books.

    I agree with the other writer… incorporate your name into your blog title, get images of each book in your sidebar with links to where they can be bought and definitely make a trailer for each one. Trailers are a great way for a potential reader to connect with a book. Reading takes time and effort and commitment, appreciating a piece of art or music is an instantaneous emotional connection. Its easy and effortless. A trailer gives a book immediate visual and emotional status as well as an intriguing glimpse into what its all about but keep it short and simple. I made my own and it wasnt difficult or expensive and I really enjoyed the distraction it brought from writing and marketing lol!

    Sorry for such a long comment!

    • It was a great comment, I don’t mind if comments are long 😀

      It is hard work blogging on one blog and keeping up with everything else, I’m not sure I could cope with 2! But I think I am really going to have to look into trailers. I know they are very popular, and can understand why. It’s a quick way to get across your book in a format a lot of people are familiar with and prefer.

      Thank you for reading and commentingg 🙂

    • Very true, you can read and talk about marketing and strategy for ages, but putting it into practice is a lot different, and there are so many obstacles to get through!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  16. Marketing is really tough. I highly recommend the Market or Die series of books to help you position your books. My publicist wrote them and they helped me draft my own marketing plan and execute it. 🙂

    • Thank you for the recommendation, definitely going t have to check it out. Any help I can get in marketing is going to be a blessing 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  17. You have a new follower from Luccia Gray’s blog. 🙂 I wish you GREAT success! I will be ‘watching and waiting’!

    ~ Angela

  18. Pingback: Marketing… | Taylor Grace

    • I think communication is the best, building up a relationship with potential readers is a good way of doing marketing. It helps to show people you are a real person, and also convey your passion for what you do and in the end they might just be convinced to take a look 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  19. The ideas you discovered through social media are what I would do to market my books. I have yet to market my books and my hopes were in building an audience, through blogging and social media. However, if there is a writing community where you live, maybe get involved with that community where you can network and share your work with them, as well as have them spread the word about your work 🙂

    • There isn’t much of a writing community in my area, which is a real shame. But I am glad for the internet and social media that has given me a chance to meet so many other writers and readers 😀

      Building up an audience through blogging is definitely what they recommend, but it is a lot of hard work! I always enjoy your posts though.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • Thank you Harliqueen–I definitely see your point regarding not having a writing community. To be honest, I think building an audience online is the best way to go–I have heard so many people recommend this and find success through this way. I think you are doing a good job thus far. Never give up and success will be there before you know it!

  20. Marketing = The smug writer kicked out into the real world, Haha. I think flyers to be given free at bookstores may help. especially if combined with purchased books of similar genre.

    • Oh yeah, definitely 😀 Being a writer seems easy compared to being a sales person!

      Flyers sounds like a great idea, very visual again. I find visual things get people’s attention quickly.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  21. Most of my artist clients in a variety of mediums are exactly the same way. They just want to focus entirely on the creative side of things, and forego the marketing, management, and all the other business stuff as much as they can. We used to host an annual workshop specifically for teaching those of the artistic persuasion the importance and how to handle stuff like this. So yeah, you’re definitely not alone in that.

    But you’re sharp and committed, and I’m confident that you can work things out however you need to. And of course, I’m always here if ever you need me 🙂

    • Very true, you need to be able to sell yourself and work to an agent for them to then be able to sell it to others 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  22. Like you, I am reticent to market. I’m trying to get my books into local bookstores and have offered to do readings and/or presentations there, and in local libraries. For me, personally, if I can shift the focus from “buy my books” to an educational format, I am much more comfortable. Normally I’m not shy in any way…but this one is a hurdle.

    • That’s a really good way of doing it, trying to turn it from marketing into a different focus. I have a local library near me which I am thinking about talking to about if they have book clubs or anything.

      Thank you for commenting, great advice! 🙂

  23. I understand that marketing is necessary, but part of the reason I started afresh on Twitter with a new account was because I could no longer deal with the noise of “Buy my book!” It became overwhelming. IMO, using your blog/website (your online hub) is probably the best way of spreading the word about your books. Also Goodreads. And book trailers. I love ’em! 🙂

    Best of luck!

    • Yeah, twitter can be overwhelming with the amount of promotion on it!

      I really do have to get around to making some book trailers, I was surprised to find out how popular they are 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  24. I write about what I love to do–photography, creating award-winning bears, and when I have news about my books, or just a mention about the progress I’m making on a new book, I include it. For pintrest, I include pictures I’ve taken, not grabbing others, worried about copyright issues, but they’re always in a blog. So when I share them, I’m sharing my blog. It helps, for me, to remain faithful at it if I believe that my taking the time to write is really being seen by more than just me. 🙂

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