To celebrate, the team has asked IWSG members to contribute a post with our favorite piece of advice in either writing, publishing, or marketing. These bits of wisdom will be pulled together in the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. My contribution falls into the Marketing category. I hereby give my permission for the following post to be included in the guide.
Myths I Believed When I was First Published
by Nicki Elson, author of contemporary love storiesI'm a little uncomfortable acting like I know what works when it comes to marketing a book, because clearly I don't, but I have managed to learn at least a few things in the almost five years since my first book was published. Today, I'd like to share with you three things I've found out aren't true about marketing a book. In bold are things I believed when I was first published; following each of these myths is what I've learned to be the reality.
1. There's no point in writing another book until you prove that you can sell the first one you publish. For nearly a year and a half this kind of thinking kept me trapped like a panicky squirrel on a busy road jumping from marketing opportunity to marketing opportunity instead of calming the freak down and working on the next book. Yes, we have to put solid time and effort into marketing, but the truth is that there's only so much we can do to get our books into the hands of readers. To be successful, a book has to start selling itself via word of mouth at some point, and that will either happen or it won't. It's out of our control.
We never know which of our books is going to strike a chord with the reading public, but our best shot of having a hit is by writing more books not by forever beating our heads against one book that for whatever reason just hasn't gained traction.
2. Having a gagillion followers on the social networks will automatically translate into huge book sales. Watching numbers go up is always fun, and it's not a bad thing to be adored in the social networks, but don't expect every single one of your followers---or even a decent percentage of them---to dash out to buy your book the moment it hits the presses...or ever. Social networking is a great way to keep a pulse on reader tastes and to network with writers, agents, and publishers. It's also an easy and free way to get the word out about your books, but again, for a book to find sustainable sales success, those Tweeters need to start talking about your book on their own. That's not something you can force, even with a massive league of followers.
Rather than wasting your time on "add followers" gimmicks that will only result in followers who really don't care what you have to say, let your following grow at a natural, slower pace, and use that gimmick time for writing instead.
3. It's important to cajole everyone you know into reading your book and then pressure them to write a review on Amazon. No matter how big your family is or how many friends you have, their purchases and reviews are not going to make or break your book's success. I'm not saying to keep your publication a secret from them---by all means send your "people" an e-mail to let them know about your book, post on Facebook about it, and invite them all to your release bash. But leave it there and don't pester those who don't show an interest. That will only lead to awkwardness and hurt feelings.
Cherish those who do read and enjoy, and let that positivity energize you as you push forth to find new ways to get your book into the hands of readers who truly want it.
[End IWSG Post]
Savvy Authors on October 2 called "Social Networking Anxiety," in which I give social networking tips to the socially shy. Please stop by if you have the time and interest.
In other news, the amazing M.Pax is gearing up for Realms Faire 2014! I had so much fun bloodying the other knights in the Realms Faire Joust last year, that I've decided to host my own event this year. Learn all about the Realms Faire and sign up to participate or as a sponsor right here.