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We are pleased to present the following guest blog article from Deborah Riley-Magnus, who is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a 27-year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. Since 2010, she’s had two novels released. In 2013, her nonfiction books, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were published. Two more novels are scheduled for release in 2013.
I spoke at a recent writer’s conference, just as I have for the past several years. The waters are still choppy, and the authors, speakers, and writers present are still confused and scattered. But the facts are beginning to slowly clear for everyone. Authors MUST market.
For nearly ten years I’ve been an Author Success Coach, helping authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing paradigm to find sales success. Once upon a time, publishers marketed and promoted their authors; now those same authors are losing their contracts due to poor sales. Once, only self-published authors had to market; now all authors carry the responsibility for sales success. Not only must authors write great books, they must also know how to get the word out.
Social networking fluff, free giveaway gimmicks, and promotional swag won’t stand out in today’s shouting throng of new authors. It is important to have a presence on social networking sites, but you’ll need to post/tweet/pin something that intrigues and engages your audience. And free giveaways are great for attracting new fans, but you’ll need something more substantial than that to hold onto your fans after the contest ends. Strong, effective, and targeted strategies must be put into play. The good news is that it’s really not that difficult. All it requires is the same creative energy you put into writing your book and the same gems of marketing written right inside that manuscript.
What’s inside your book? Is your main character a gardener who discovers a dead body beneath her petunias? Instead of simply shouting to mystery lovers, why not connect with gardeners? Is your book a historic romance about love at the seaside? Rather than constantly pounding your book’s buy link on your Facebook page, why not post a daily fashion or seaside life fact about the era? If your book is science fiction about how the world looks after humans have used it up, why not connect with ecological-minded bloggers and tell their readership about what might happen if we don’t stop ruining the earth? If your book is a paranormal romance, rather than blog every week about the challenges of writing and being an author, blog about things of interest to the readers of paranormal romance. Try topics like “Do Vampires Make Better Lovers than Werewolves?” or “Are You Sure Your Next-Door Neighbor Isn’t Really a Troll?” Connect with readers and they will follow and respond. They will buy your books if your communication on Twitter, Facebook, and through your blogs is as creative as your book. This is cross marketing at its best.
Many writers focus on connecting with other writers, but connecting with readers is even more important for marketing. Focus on the unique hooks inside your manuscript and talk to readers. They’re the ones who will buy your book. Learning how to rise above the crowd of other authors to make your message heard is the key. Step away from your competition and sell books in ways and places other authors haven’t even thought to approach. That’s powerful basic marketing.
Writers know the score, no matter how confusing the messages might be. You MUST write a great book, and you MUST market for sales success. These are two sides of the same coin, and we all know that coins add up to dollars in the bank!
Learn more about Deborah Riley-Magnus:
Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Deborah is the Dean of the Assent Academy—marketing training for Assent Publishing contracted authors—and Managing Imprint Editor for the Breathless Books romance and the Phantasm Books fantasy imprints. She’s lived on both the East and West Coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and recently returned there after living in Los Angeles, California, for several years.