Budding Author Chantal Gadoury Talks Marketing in the Indie Book Landscape
It’s one of those words that when you hear it, as an author – you kinda cringe. Or maybe that’s just me. When I published my first novel, I didn’t know anything about marketing, the writing world, or what my publishing company would expect from me. I suppose I thought – “I’ll just buy an ad on Facebook, and that’ll get my book to everyone that I can’t reach, and it’ll happen overnight!” Bing-Bang-Boom – insta-famous, insta-rich.
Four years later, I’ve learned better. Some of you might say I had a reality check.
Marketing is rough. Marketing is tedious. But marketing can be really fun… and can REALLY open up doors in meeting new people who love books, just like you! Sounds like the perfect relationship, right?
I don’t have any “Order now and learn how to be successful at marketing” tips, but I can tell you what I’ve done to help promote my two novels, “Allerleirauh,” and “The Songs in Our Hearts,” and share what has worked for me.
1) Get yourself two separate accounts for Instagram (if you already have a personal account.)
One can be private and centered on your personal life that you can continue to share with your friends and family. I have my personal account private, so that you have to request to join. It gives me more control as to who can see my personal life, and what lines I want to draw in the sand between readers / bloggers and myself. While I wouldn’t consider myself a super private person, I do want to respect my family and respect the memory of my lost loved ones by not spreading their faces everywhere, all the time. In this day and age, it’s really important to keep your children safe (thankfully, I don’t have any), animals, family members… and that can be a really important driving force in creating a new account. Your author account can be completely about your book. Promotions. You reading. Writing. Music you’re listening to. Of course, add in things about a family trip – spending a lazy day in front of the TV… but keep things ENGAGING with your readers. This is how you start interactions with them. They don’t want to see personal things every day. (They’re not your family.) I’ve found that when I start posting more personal things in a row, I lose followers. But when I have a steady stream of music, books, pictures of books – infographics – it lures them, and others in. Utilize that “story” feature that Instagram has. Highlight people who have liked your pictures. Highlight book blogs that have posted your book cover. Create a good relationship with people on Instagram and I promise – You’ll see results!
2) Speaking of Instagram – as soon as you have your own account – start asking those book blogs if they’ll promote your book release or review your book. Make sure you offer them a free e-book. Look for those people who have kindle pictures. If you see an account has posted about books that are more geared to your genre – ask! Ask anyway. Sometimes they can offer interviews or shout outs instead. They can help build a bridge to readers or viewers that you might not have without them! Make a simple message that you can send to blogs that you find:
a.“Hello, my name is _______. I’ve recently published ___________ - a book in the genre _________about ________. I’m looking for help in reaching out to new readers, and wondered if you’d help me with promoting and / or reviewing!” – Something rough like that. Don’t make the message a book. Leave that for your final email. Ask for an e-book format preference and an email. In that email, supply the links to your book, the price, and the books. Give them a deadline, and where you’d like the review to be placed. If it’s only for a promotion, ask them when they could post about your book. Communicate! But have fun with it!
b.Blogs will NOT come to you. YOU have to seek THEM out. I can spend hours searching through different bookstagrams. And that’s what it takes. It’s tedious, but it pays off.
3) Don’t waste any more of your money on Blog Tours. Not unless you REALLY feel the need to do them. I understand that people make their life-money on them by creating tours, connecting with reviewers – etc. But honestly, they’re not doing anything that you can’t do yourself. Blogs aren’t where readers are going anymore. Ask yourself – where do you go to learn about books? Goodreads? Check. Instagram … (well, I do!) Invest your money where you go to find out about books.
4) Facebook is one of those social media platforms that’s complicated. I encourage Facebook Author pages. It’s a way – again – of keeping things separate. Professional Author vs. Posting about my dog every day and losing people’s interests –Chantal. This platform at least gives you the ability to post about your projects and interact with your already established connections. Facebook Ads are a WASTE of money.
5) Hash Tag. Hash Tag. Hash Tag. On Instagram – USE the hash tags. #OMG #ASIF, right? Well, as foolish as you might feel… they honestly let other people SEE your posts. Use popular hashtags. DON’T make up your own, unless it’s your name or the title of your book. #bookaddict, #bookreader, #amwriting – etc. Please. Do yourself a favor and HASH TAG IT UP.
6) http:www.canva.com is going to be your LIFE SAVOR. This is where I’ve created many (if not almost all of my infographics. It’s FREE and you can do it yourself. Leave the final promo up to your publishing company – but in the meantime, take the opportunity to promote your book. You can’t have your publishing company be solely responsible to market your book because – Reality Check: It isn’t going to happen.
7) Newsletters are tricky. You can lure people into signing up for them by doing giveaways or … something like that…. “Sign up for my newsletter and enter to win …..” Yada Yada. The newsletter list is important to develop. These are the people who aren’t going to simply “unfollow you.” But your emails need to be important and eye-catching. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, an email is a one and done kinda thing. If they didn’t open it in the first hour upon receiving it, they’re not going to open it at all.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this. Be excited! This is your baby! You want your baby to succeed in the world – right? Take one day at a time, one project at a time. Have fun with your marketing. Do giveaways – as simple as a FREE e-book. A book mark. A $5 Amazon Gift Card. (If you’re anything like me – we’re not made of money.) Post about games, puzzles, and videos. And as a very wise author once told me, once you’ve finished with a novel – start talking about your next project. Keep your readers excited to read more by you!
Make friends with other authors and bloggers. You never know how someone could open a door or a window for you… and sometimes, that can make all the difference in the world.
Best of luck!