Marketing To Hunt a Sub, my debut novel, is a whole lot different from my non-fiction pieces. In those, I could rely on my background, my expertise in the subject, and my network of professional friends to spread the word and sell my books. Fiction–not so much. For one thing, I don’t have expertise in the topic I wrote about. Nor do I have prior fiction novels that have buttressed my reputation. So I did what I have always done when preparing for the unknown: I researched. I read everything I could find on how to market a novel, collected ideas, made my plan, and jumped in without a backward glance.
Well, now that much of the marketing is done, there are a few pieces I wish I’d done differently:
- I participated in the Kindle Scout to mentally kick-off my campaign. That took longer than I expected which set me back a few weeks.
- Uploading my manuscript to Kindle was easy, but took more preparation than I’d planned. The preparation was along the line of ‘tedious’, not ‘complicated’. No brainpower required; just time.
- Many fellow bloggers offered to help with my blog hop, and I wish I’d kept better track of that aspect. I did have a spreadsheet, but I didn’t include enough detail.
- I wish I’d included interview questions in the blog hop articles. Several bloggers I follow did this, but I skipped it to save time. I wish I hadn’t.
- I should have used Facebook and Twitter more. Here’s what Stephanie Faris, efriend and published author of the Piper Morgan series, says about a Facebook account:
Facebook is where you’ll find your friends and relatives. You’ll also find your fourth-grade teacher, your kindergarten best friend, and pretty much everyone who has ever mattered in your life. These are the people who are most likely to buy your book and tell everyone they meet about it. All you have to do is post a picture of your book and your real supporters will ask where they can get a copy.
Stephanie actually suggests the same sort of approach for Twitter. I have a Twitter account, but I forgot to use it enough!
- Take that a step further: I should have FB’d and Tweeted the posts of my blog hop folks. Duh–that seems so obvious now.
- I wish I’d reached out to my local library and bookstores to see if there’s appetite for a book signing or chat. Well, I could still do that!
- I didn’t follow up well enough on fellow bloggers who offered their help. Thankfully, many of them reached out to me–emailed me with questions or confirmation of dates. I wish I’d reached out more.
A few essential pieces that I gleaned from the experience of fellow bloggers and/or just seemed logical but–surprisingly–everyone doesn’t do:
- Kindle Scout was a good first step because it forced me to create the necessary marketing pieces for the ultimate campaign–blurb, one-line summary, pristine document, and polished cover.
- Visit the blog hop host and respond to comments.
- Take blog hop visits one step further: Visit the blogs of those who comment. Join their conversations. Be a friend.
- Read the books of your blog hosts. Usually, they’re Indies–between $0.00 and $2.99. That’s a small investment to promote your book and often, you come away with excellent entertainment for a few days. Then, review them. Add the review to not only Amazon, but Goodreads which has become the go-to location for readers and writers.
What tips do you have for marketing a new novel? What’s worked best for you?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.