Writing an excellent book is only half the battle in becoming a successful author. A critical half, yes, but half, nonetheless. The other half of the battle is getting your story in front of your readers. This second half is called marketing.
Marketing involves skills and strategies that differ from the creative act of writing your novel. At the same time, the strategies you use to write your story–creativity, understanding, and the use of words–all play into your marketing strategy. In short, your skills as a novelist can inform your skills as a marketer of your novel.
Let’s take a look:
1) Utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When writing your novel, you must be careful in your choice of words. You must choose words that will push your story forward without prematurely revealing its ending. When marketing your book, you must also be careful in your choice of words. You must use keywords that people will use to search for your story. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
2) Targeting Your Audience. When writing your novel, you have a particular audience in mind (readers of romance, middle grade readers, etc.). Likewise, when marketing your story, you must have a target audience in mind. That target audience will generally be the same as the target audience for whom you wrote your story, but don’t stop there. Remember, for example, that if you have written a children’s book, your target audience will not only include children. It will also include their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and caregivers, as well.
3) Building a Following. This is sometimes called “building a mailing list” or “building a platform.” Building a list of people to whom you can send your marketing information is critically important. What good is an outstanding story if no one knows about it? We all know of less than excellent stories that have been big sellers simply because of great marketing. We also all know of superb stories that never saw the light of day because of poor marketing. Some of those stories may be our own.
Many authors struggle with the marketing aspect of writing because they view marketing as inferior to writing. Writing is an art, they think, while marketing is business, and business is crass. This is a false paradigm, a lie that prevents us from achieving superior sales. It is also a prideful attitude. Business is just as important as art. Indeed, throughout the centuries, business revenues have supported art. Just think of the many patrons of the arts who supported great artists during the Renaissance. Even today, we find such patrons supporting both visual artists and word artists.
So the next time you engage in marketing your book, remember that marketing is an art unto itself. And he or she who does it well will reap its rewards, not only financial but professional as well.
Copyright 2014 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.