A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my process for launching and marketing my books. In the world of marketing, the six things I list is short, but as Bryan Cohen noted when they shared that post on the Sell More Books Show podcast, it’s still six things, which is probably four or five more things than many of us can do, at least starting out. I heard from a few of you that the list was helpful but still overwhelming.
So I thought I’d break it down further in the hopes that those of you who are just starting out – or who, like me, jumped in with ALL THE THINGS and find yourself buried – can find a firm footing in this marketing world.
Stating the Obvious – Quality Matters
First things first, you need to be writing good stuff. Be that books or blog posts, articles for magazines or poems for journals. The work you are creating has to be high-quality and professional. First and foremost, the writing has to be good, absolutely as good as you can make it. Poor writing does get readers but not nearly as many as good writing, and why would you want to put your name on something low-quality anyway.
But more than the writing needs to be strong, too:
- In the case of books, high-quality requires editing by an experienced editor, maybe even two, and it also means you have an attractive, genre-appropriate cover design.
- For a blog, you need an attractive, functional, updated website. You may be able to do that with software like WordPress or SquareSpace, or like me, you may need to hire someone to design your site for you. This site is your calling card, and it needs to look and work well.
- For articles and other pieces that you are submitting to magazines and journals, you need to be sending work to places that actually want what you do, to be writing appropriate and professional cover letters when needed, and to be keeping track of what you send where so you can inform the other places you’ve submitted work if something gets picked up.
All of this can be summed up quickly – be professional about your writing. If you are trying to sell it, put in the effort (and sometimes the money) to produce work that reads well but also looks good and reflects well on you as a writer.
The One Marketing Thing I’d Do First
It’s the same thing experts from Kirsten Oliphant to Joanna Penn to Mark Dawson recommend: build a mailing list. Get people to subscribe to your regular updates via email. That’s the most important thing you can do.
- If people will give you access to them via email, they’re already invested in what you are doing.
- You own your mailing list. Unlike social media, where FB and the like can change how you access your fans, your mailing list is always available to you.
- You control how it reaches your readers and how often. Again, the algorithms on social media don’t do this.
An email list is your chance to reach – short of hugging people at your book signings or buying them coffee at conferences – the people who read what you do. It’s relatively inexpensive. It’s something you can work into your schedule as it is. And it produces great results in terms of people buying or wanting more of what you write.
Plus – and for me this is the biggest perk – it lets you have conversations with the people who read your work. I LOVE THAT!! Absolutely love it, and it’s why I reply to every single email someone sends in response to a newsletter or blog post I write. In a profession that is often solitary, those conversations are so amazing. Absolutely gold.
So there you have it – straight-forward and simple. Once you have good content, start a mailing list. Maybe check out Mailerlite*, where your first 1,000 subscribers are free. Research through the websites I linked above some tips on building a mailing list – Kirsten has particularly amazing stuff – and then get it going as you can. It’ll be the best use of your time and money . . . and I expect it’ll also really feed your writing soul, too.
And of course, if I can answer questions, please comment below. I’ll do my best to help. THANKS!!
*Note, this is an affiliate link, so if you sign-up for Mailerlite, I get a credit toward my subscription there. Every little bit helps, so thanks.