Sunday, 28 December 2014
Promotion, promotion, promotion! by Mary Smith
Now, authors, whether traditionally or self-published, are expected to be experts in marketing, be social media savvy with Facebook pages (though this might be about to change when FB starts charging to promote anything other than cute kittens) Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and goodness knows how many other such sites. Book launches and tours are done online, organised by the author. Some publishers insist their authors have their own blog – and of course everyone has a website. Actually, a website is beginning to have a rather old-fashioned ring to it.
All of the above is by way of creating an author platform. The point is not to tweet about your own book or show your new publication on Facebook – well, it is and it isn’t. Creating your author platform is about building relationships, making friends with thousands of people, entertaining them with your witty tweets and hoping they might, one day, buy a book.
Oh, and then there are promos to consider – when to discount your book (or give it away for free) for a limited sales period, and which sites should you use to spread the word to readers? I have lists of promo sites but it becomes complicated when you have to book slots weeks in advance – and some sites only let you know a few days before the promotion starts that they have rejected your book – for reasons known only to them.
It’s exhausting. It’s like being on a treadmill. From time to time I question just why I do it. Then, I look at some of the publishing statistics. For instance UK publishers released more than 20 new titles every hour over the course of 2014.
The International Publishers Association (IPA) reported recently that UK publishers released 184,000 new and revised titles in 2013. Literary agent Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown said of the figure: “Of course, it is utter madness to publish so many books when the average person reads between one and five books a year.”
Around 235,000 titles were self-published in print and digital in the US in 2012. Amazon UK boasts having over 2.5 million e-books on sale.
That’s why I do it and will continue to do it. It has to be done to ensure my books don’t disappear into those millions of others but manage to scramble up to towards the ranking levels at which they will be noticed by potential readers.
I hope to become better at it as I learn from other writers who know more about it than I do: such as the wonderful bunch of writers on eNovelAuthorsatWork who help each other on this perilous promotions pathway.
I know it works. I do wonder, though, when I’ll ever have the time to focus on writing my next books? It seems to be easier the more books you have out there so I really must get down to it.