First off, let me tell you that I am a published author of fiction and non-fiction.
I have definitely been at the bottom, looking up at the fantastically high summit of actually getting a book published by a real publisher, let alone getting anyone to buy a copy of my book. So I am going to pass on some hard-won tips that will get you on your way to being published, and making the book a best-seller.
What is marketing?
Marketing is when you put the beer and the diapers side-by-side on Friday evenings, in time for the men who come in to your store after work, looking for beer and diapers. And you put a few items on special, clustered by the beer and diapers, so they can’t be missed: The best of your best selling snack items for men, kids and wives, too.
So how do you market a book?
1) Your book better be really good.
What does this mean?
That you are a good writer, and you write well, and what you write is compelling.
2) If it is fiction, the story has got to reach inside the reader and touch true feelings. My best advice is write right from your own guts. Bring us inside the experience. What does it feel like, taste like, touch like, how did it sound, where is it? All these questions have to be answered in your writing.
3) If it is non-fiction, tell me the story. Use the 5W’s: who, what, where, when, why.
4) Have a beginning, and put in the context of the whole.
5) Have a middle part where you get going and get into the meat. Describe what the meat tastes like to me, and what it smells like, too. Was it hot meat? Yes? Well tell me about the heat of the meat.
6) Write about what YOU are interested in, too. Tell me about your experiences doing, seeing and being with what turns you on. If you didn’t like something to do with it, bring me inside the negative, flesh it out.
Example: “I didn’t like the film. It sucked big time.”
No, not enough. Give me more!
Example: “The film is vastly stupid and reaches new lows of self-indulgent self-referencing.”
No, still not there yet.
Tell me WHY it is stupid, and how it gets into the new lows.
Example: “This film has dialogue that amounts to grunts and groans, without one word that makes any sense. I watched all the characters scratch themselves for 3 hours. Yes, that was the theme of the entire film. If you like to watch people scratch themselves, and grunt and groan, this will be your epic film experience. The rest of you, do yourself a favour and give this so-called art indulgence a very wide berth.”
6) Write a great wrap up, your conclusion, with a cliff-hanger to entice us back for the next in the series, or a place where I can be satisfied that all the villains are existentially and ironically punished, and the heroes are restored to or raised up to their proper rewards.
7) Even if the ending is black and everyone dies, give it to me with style.
8) If your style is terse and clipped and to the point, make the words like daggers that pierce my cold, cold heart.
9) What is the title of your book? “Cancer Face”, or, “The Love Genius”, or, “Kraft Dinner Zombie.” Whatever it is, it is a bit like naming your rock band. Or a new political party.
Okay, so you have a great book. Now you have to find the publisher. And to begin with, this might end up being you. Yes, the ultimate publisher of your work could be You Incorporated.
There are many self-publishing options to explore. Do a search on the internet and take your time investigating. I am hesitant to mention any specific options, lest my article is rejected.
I do have some specific suggestions for you to sell your own self-published book:
1) Get some copies and go door-to-door. I have done this, and you will be very surprised at how many books you will sell using this method.
2) Prepare yourself for NO. The word NO is a big barrier for most of us, especially when it is linked to something as precious as our own work. Learn to take the NO for what it really is.
3) The NO is a code word for, “Not right now, thank you very much.” It is also really good news, too, because it means you are that much closer to your next, “YES, thank you, sure, I’ll buy a book from you.”
4) Set up a regular routine of going out and selling your book door-to-door, and pick the times when people are more likely to be home, respecting the best times NOT to ring that doorbell, or knock on that door. Use good common sense. After 9 P.M. is NOT a good idea.
5) Create a nice, tasty door-knocker to leave behind, with directions to get to your website, or sales page with your publisher-partner.
6) Which brings us to you selecting a good website provider, and the domain name for your dot com, and the website host. All of this requires that you take your time and build each little bit carefully and thoughtfully.
7) Create above-the-crowd press releases, and begin to contact everything that moves and doesn’t move in the world of the media, and let them know about your book.
8) Prepare some cool videos about your book, and post them on every site on the internet where you can post videos.
9) Begin to back-link everything that you are doing in the way that is a real and legitimate back link.
10) Create a fan page. Obviously I am going to suggest Facebook, and all the other social media you can shake your mouse at.
Whew! I have a lot more to write about on this subject, so I know I will come back and do some more articles on how to promote your book. It is daunting, for sure. Hey, just writing a book to completion, and then rewriting your book until it is a polished piece of prose, that is a major accomplishment. It almost is unfair that a great artist like you has to get sweaty with even more work. You want your marketing to be a success, so take the time. You can count on it taking as much time as it took to write your book, maybe longer.