It’s no secret that marketing your book is hard, especially when the market is already saturated with novelists, both traditional and self-published, playing the part of the artist, the agent, and the publicist. The good news is that there are infinite ways to market your author platform and your product while still maintaining your personality and morals, but there are a handful of mistakes that most first-time writers make when trying to market their book to a publisher or to their community.
- Don’t mass-market your book to your email list. Email is already a dodgy subject with most people because they feel like they get too much. Spamming their account won’t play favorably for you, and it will most likely lose you a potential reader right of the bat. Instead, start a newsletter or add an email sign-up option to your website and give people the option of whether or not they want to receive information about your writing directly in their inbox.
- Don’t private message all your Facebook friends that you have a new book out. In addition to this being extremely unprofessional, it’s also distasteful because it’s obvious that it’s a mass message and again, it wasn’t prompted by the reader himself. A way to counteract that is to host a book party on Facebook and invite your friends and family to that instead. This gives the information without making it seem forced, and it also gives them to option to join or not, while at the same time, making them feel a part of something.
- Don’t make your book the first reason you contact someone. If someone gave you their business card at a conference or convention, or invited you to be their friend on social media, don’t write them and include all the information about book and writing career. Instead, email them and say that it was nice to meet them—include the location you met them at—and that you look forward to seeing and chatting with them again. If you have a website, feel free to include it in your signature as a way to get the information out as an option without appearing forceful.
- If the publisher is not accepting manuscripts, don’t send yours regardless of what their guidelines say. An editor’s time is very far and few between, and if a writer isn’t able to follow the guidelines for that they’re looking for, changes are they will pass on the manuscript without as much as a second glance. If you’re interested in submitting but a house is closed to submissions, feel free to send them an inquiry. Questions are always welcomed!
- Don’t hand out copies of your manuscripts unless someone asks for it. If you want to have your book on your table and available if someone would like it free, that’s fine, but don’t put it in someone’s hands, leave it in the bathroom, or on top of someone’s car.
More often than not, the best way to market and sell your book is to ask yourself what you personally look for as a consumer. How do you find out about new releases? What tactics have worked for your friends in the business? If someone tried to market their art to you this way, would you be responsive to it? Once you answer those questions, do what feel right, and most creative, to you. Remember, selling your book is a great way to network in addition to get and maintain readers, so be confident in your product while selling it in a kind and respectful way. Your future sales will be sure to thank you!