Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tricks of the Trade

Yes, there are many tricks to the trade, my writing friends! And I'm not just speaking about your actual writing craft, but the dreaded marketing.

Yep. All of us have to drag ourselves away from our scribbling and actually do the hard work. Because being an author requires a great deal more than burying our nose in our precious little notebooks or laptop and delve into marketing.

I have gotten to talk to some very excellent marketing agents over with my publisher, each of whom given me some wonderful advice. I've also learned some important aspects of the marketing craft from Michael Hyatt's Intentional Leadership and the writing blog Scribble Chicks. After you've read my post, I suggest you also check into their sites and see what they have to say as well.

Here are some tips!

  • Whatever you do, don't accept the widespread fallacy that you can start marketing after your book comes out. This is one of the biggest errors out there. Nobody knows about you, no one has heard of your titles, there is no anticipation whatsoever for your release, yet they are going to just clunk cash down and buy a copy the minute the book comes out? I honestly don't think so. 
  • In light of the first tip, don't over-promote too soon. Don't elevate folks to a fevered frenzy six months before the book is supposed to come out. They'll be bored to death of hearing about it and won't be excited whatsoever when it does come out. I've seen this happen with movies. I think three months before a single book comes out and around nine months for the second/third installments in a series is the best time frame.
  • Settle on your pen name and use it. A great deal.
  • Have a website before your book is published. Don't wait until after the book comes out to start marketing! I once had an agent call me up, flustered and obviously upset that some of the authors under his charge didn't have a website. I could fairly hear the relief in his voice when I assured him that I did. The poor guy was so distressed - and he was right. Authors, get your websites out there! Get it registered with Google and share it.
  • Get a personal blog. And post on it. Many authors do about two posts a week, others just one. I think that is a good plan. Talk about what interests you, your struggles and failings, your joys, your personal life. People like to connect with the real you. So be real. 
  • Remember that most folks have to hear about a book around 8-10 times before they buy it. So figure out how you can make sure (without being pushy or irritating, of course!) they hear about it.
  • Engage in at least some social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest. I've heard it a million times from my marketing agents. Make use of them. Personally, I'm not on Twitter or Instagram and really have no intentions of ever being so. And my Facebook is just for business. I honestly don't think you have to be on every social media site out there. But do choose some way of connecting with people.
  • Goodreads. Please, get on there! It is essential for authors. Add your books and start rating some titles from other authors.
  • Fliers, business cards, order books, and good pens. They're all essential. Stock up! VistaPrint works very well for cards, get a calligraphy pen from Hobby Lobby, and a nice notebook from Barnes and Noble. 
  • Get professional photos of yourself. Make sure the majority of the ones you use on social media and for your books are head shots. I happen to have two photographer friends who work very nicely for me. In their generosity, they give me free photo shoots. Maybe you have a talented friend who will do the same? You don't have to go to a professional charging big bucks. 
  • Get some stockfree/royalty free photos that represent what you write about. I always buy medieval ones myself. Use these photos for your Facebook or Google+ covers. Use them in your newsletters, on your blog posts, and business cards.
Any further suggestions? Questions or comments?

Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!


  1. Excellent advice! Thanks Alicia.
    P.S. I do not enjoy marketing :(

    1. Thank you! Neither do I. It is something that I've had to overcome over the last two years of being an author. :) Having such wonderful agents has helped, however. They always get me to see things in a different light!


Thank you for contacting us!