Today, one of my favorite guest bloggers is back. Cindy McDonald is the author of the Unbridled Series. She is just now finishing up her second virtual book tour. In her blog post today, Cindy is going to address a delicate issue that is important to every author out there: marketing you and your book in today’s marketplace. Things have changed a whole lot since my first book was published back in 2004–before Facebook, Twitter, ect. It’s both easier and scarier–
You tell ’em, Cindy!
OBSCURITY: NOT AN OPTION
So you’ve written a manuscript. You had it professionally edited. You’ve got a great cover design. You’ve had it published in paperback and ebook forms, and it’s been uploaded to amazon. Great! Now what? Sit back, relax, perhaps twiddle your thumbs a bit, and wait for those royalties to come pouring in, right?
Mmmm, I’m afraid not.
The fact is that no one is going to come looking for your book, no matter how well written, how engaging, or how action-packed it is unless you, the author, makes it happen!
Hey, let’s face it obscurity is not an option when you’ve published a book. The competition is fierce—and the competition is using all the resources that perhaps you are not. There is no doubt that marketing is an indie’s biggest hurdle, but you can’t afford to be shy or stuck in the nineteenth century. I’m not saying that marketing one’s book is insurmountable, but it can be hard to get started. Bookstores are not usually very willing to arrange a signing for indie writers because they are relatively unknown—they’d rather have James Patterson, go figure. However some local libraries may be willing to host an event for you. That’s nice, but that doesn’t tend to spread the word to a large mass of people. And that’s exactly what you need.
So what’s an author to do?
Brace yourself, because I’m about to say the S word: Social Networking. Yikes! You may consider it a dirty word, but I’m afraid that it is truly the reality of our time. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pininterest, it’s enough to make an author’s head spin! After all it has been widely rumored that authors are quite a recluse lot. The trick is to not allow it to overwhelm or intimidate you—no matter what your age. The bottom line is that it is your responsibility as an author to get the word out about your book—not your publisher—you.
So get a stiff upper lip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and do what you need to do to make that book of yours a success. Because you can.
If you don’t have a website—get one. You need it! There are plenty of website options out there and some are free. List your books—with covers, a synopsis, provide an excerpt, and yes do a book trailer, to boot! Don’t forget to provide links to your book’s Amazon sales site.
Okay, now that you have a website, you need a…wait for it…Facebook page! It’s the God’s truth. I have two FB pages: one in my name where I talk about my life—nothing too personal—and one for my books. On both pages I will announce reviews and provide links to those reviews or my books. There are also FB pages that are provided for authors to promote their books. On all these FB pages I will also list blogs that I am featured at during virtual book tours—another excellent way to get the word out about your book.
Virtual book tours help you to promote not only your book but you—the author. You have control as to how long the tour is: two weeks, one month, or the max—three months. Approximately three times a week during the tour, you will visit a blog for an author spotlight, a review, interview, or a guest post on a variety of subjects. The guest post will spotlight how well you write beyond the pages of your book. That’s important. It also provides potential readers an insight as to who you are and what you think or believe. While this service is not free, you can decide how much you want to spend by the length of the tour.
Linkedin is a great place to post a blurb about your book on a daily basis. I usually write something like: George Smuts is a just fictional character, right? You should hope! And then I list the link to where my potential audience can purchase DEADLY.COM. I went from selling hardly any of this particular book to selling as many as one hundred per month with this simple daily task.
*Wince* and then there’s Twitter. I thought I would never get the hang of that nightmare social networking demon. I thought it was stupid. Then I thought: but there are sooo many authors using it. There’s got to be something to it. So I started following people—mainly authors—they would retweet my book blurbs—I would retweet back—this would result in book sales. Hmmm. I followed more—retweeted more—additional book sales. Who knew? I am now tweeting approximately six times per day. It only takes about ten minutes, and the payoff has been well worth it.
Pssst…I’ve even got my publishing manager tweeting more than she ever did before. To tell you the truth, she probably hates me for it, but she has realized how invaluable it is for her and her cozy mysteries. She too has experienced a sharp rise in sales. Go baby go!
It’s true, I spend a lot of time per day promoting my books on the social networks—it’s a commitment. But hey didn’t you make a commitment to the book when you wrote it? You love your characters. You love your stories, so help send them out to the masses.
Here’s the light at the end of the very long indie tunnel—it can and will work!
Since I’ve been using Twitter on a daily basis, following as many people with an interest in books, tweeting and retweeting other authors, using hashtags, and writing something about my books on a daily basis on my FB pages and Linkedin, my book sales have skyrocketed! I went from selling four books per month (yep, that’s what it says FOUR) to selling over two hundred books per month, and I know that it will go up from here.
C’mon, don’t be shy. Get out of that “I am NOT going anywhere near social networking sites” demeanor. You CAN do this. Only you have the power. You’ve worked hard. So step up to the plate and take a swing at making your book into everything you wanted it to be—a success!
Remember: Obscurity just plain isn’t an option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.
Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.
I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!
In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.
To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at: www.cindymcwriter.com