The Reality Of Being An Author: Marketing

Posted at 08:15am on 3rd December 2011

Last month, I wrote about a reader of my website, Skye, who had written to me for advice about her first self-published novel.  Her initial question was simply one of discouragement.  I say "simply", but there's nothing simple about the sense of isolation one can feel as an author.  And though I didn't mention it in my article, How To Be An Author: Facing Discouragement, I did suggest to Skye that she should think of joining a writers' group.

This week, I want to look at another query she raised.

The high tech business side with which I'm struggling in respect of marketing.

Again, Skye, you have my sympathies.  Do you have a blog?   Wordpress or Blogger are both supposed to be relatively simple to set up.  It can be very satisfying building up a readership; seeing visitors come from all over the world to read what you've written.  It's also much more sustainable writing short pieces, rather than the long haul needed for a book.


What is more difficult is branding yourself, finding a niche and understanding the importance of search engine optimisation and the use of keywords in the content you produce.

I have spoken on this subject to groups in the past, and have a speaking engagement booked for next June on this topic.  I have, also, written about it at length.  You can find my blog posts via the following link: Article Writing & Blogging.  There are articles there on Blogging for Beginners; Long Tail Keywords; Niche Blogging and so on, as well as articles on how to write articles.

I'm afraid there's no easy way to get round this.  Writing has never been an end in itself, and authors have always had to learn other skills in order to promote and sell their work.  Yes!  Even traditionally published authors.


Which brings me to another point: Think outside the box.  I was at the printers last week (for letterheads) and met another local author who was having posters printed.  She has recently self-published her second book and found that although her local W H Smith (the chain bookstore) had happily taken her first book and promoted her as a local author, they had received a directive from their bosses telling them to buy no more books.  With Waterstones having gone from the town, and only one independent book store remaining, she was left high and dry.

So - having no online presence - she had decided to take her book, and posters, to the local hotels.  Many, I suspect, will welcome her.  Like other businesses, most hoteliers find, these days, that they have to offer Added Value, and a talk by a local author might just fit the bill.

Libraries are another outlet.  As are local churches, schools, WI groups - the list is endless.  Having said that, Rachelle Gardener, a well known American agent, writes: Novelists stop trying to brand yourself

Enough said!

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