As a writer of women’s fiction published by a small press, I’m continually challenged by marketing. Like the little piggy of the nursery rhyme, I don’t want to cry “wee-wee-wee” all the way home from a market place crowded with hundreds of thousands of books, all screaming for the reader’s attention. But neither my publisher nor I have large purses. Or bank accounts. So what can I do?
Marketing takes about fifty percent of a creator’s time, an artist once told me. Other experts ballpark the time at one-third of the hours you spend writing. In any case, writing a book is only the first step. Once you sign with a publisher, you can be sure your workload will skyrocket.
For those of us with more energy and hours than money, the first step in marketing is to determine your writing genre. What type of tales do you enjoy? In your heart have you always wished you could be a cowboy? A spy? A sexy lover? Are you still a child? Somewhat intellectual? If so, you probably read and write in a genre like children’s books, westerns, mystery, romance, or literary. Publishing is defined by specialized categories of book, which also identify readers by age, gender, interest, locale. These seem to become more targeted by the week. The process helps greatly in marketing books as you try to insure readership.
Determining a genre enables you to take the next step: locating people who specialize in the genre who might spread the news about your work. This means an internet search. My work is women’s fiction of the light romance variety, so I shift through hundreds of book bloggers and review sites on that topic. There are some sites that centralize many bloggers for easy access. Two of them are Book Blogger Listing (https://bookbloggerlisting.blogspot.com/) and Book Blogger List. (http://bookbloggerlist.com/).
Each blogger has his or her own requirements. Most expect an advance reader copy (also known as an ARC) as well as organized details (fact sheet anyone?), a cover image, author’s image, author’s biography, a book overview or blurb, and publication information. If you’re hoping for a big internet splash right on publication date, you’re thrown into a chicken-vs-the-egg situation. How can you send out a link for purchases if the book hasn’t been published yet? My decision was to spread out my promotion over the period of several weeks, scheduling blog submissions according to the blogger’s deadline.
Another decision: don’t get discouraged by the sheer volume of potential sites. As I faced literally hundreds upon hundreds, my enthusiasm dissipated to intense depression. Then I recalled the words of Edward Everett Hale. “I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” To evaluate what ones to approach, my publisher suggested looking over numbers of comments on a blogger’s site. More comments equal more readers of the blog.
Review sites also exist, some of them free, many of them paid. The really big reviewers, like Library Journalor Publisher’s Weekly, rarely take small or independent publishers’ products, and I believe they’re not worth chasing. If you’re lucky enough to have local media that still carries book reviews, don’t overlook this blessing. You can spend a fortune tracking down review sites that charge. If you have the time, inclination, and money, you might try a few at a time, tracking numbers of sales after each paid review as an evaluation.
The line between blogs and reviews is hazy in my mind, but it’s worth a search for the more specialized areas. Again, genre is good place to start, and there are sites that aggregate other review sites. For example, mystery writers can visit L. J. Sellers pages to find a list that will reduce your hours of research (https://ljsellers.com/mysterysuspense-review-sites/). Be aware that many review sites want a pitch and ARCs up to four months in advance.
If you’re small, you’ve got to be tough and creative. Allow yourself some brain time to mull over your contacts and off-the-wall ideas. Here are some I’m considering:
· Send notices to every group I’m affiliated with and ask them to put a notice about my book in their newsletter, Face Book, or elist. Yes, I’ll send to my local romance group. But I’ll also see if my city councilman’s monthly news would carry my information.
· Tailor the notice to the group’s interest. My city councilman features local businesses and interesting people. I qualify as both. I don’t expect him to simply run a puff-piece. I’ll insert a hook that applies to the neighborhood.
· Social media, social media, social media. I get sick of 20 tweets a day from the same author with a new release. However, I’ve had to resign myself to some social media. An author’s Facebook page is free, as are several popular social media sites. If you’re new to the game, try just a few at first.
· Give-aways and contests are popular with romance authors. I’m still feeling my way, so I haven’t done much of this. You might start with Good Reads give-aways because they’re easy enough that I’ve done them.
· Ask friends and connections to push your book on their social media. Be sure to provide ready-made news release and publication information.
[Bonnie McCune’s newest women’s novel, Never Retreat, is being published March 2018. A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership. Read more about the book and the author at http://BonnieMcCune.com]
NEVER RETREAT by Bonnie McCune / Women’s Fiction / Released March 15, 2018 by Imajin Books
A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.
Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid.
Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.
See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.
PUBLISHING MARCH 15, 2018
978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook
978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback