The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #2

Last week we talked about the best way to market your novel.  I promised the secret magic recipe from established author Danielle Ackley McPhail.  Are ya ready for it?

Think that over.

Most people don’t go out looking for a particular novel.  They go looking for an author… even if they don’t even know it.  Consider this:  If you are breezing through an Amazon page full of novels, who are you going to click on first— the unknown, or the name that you recognize… even if you cannot remember why you recognize the name.

Chew on this for a little while, and next week I’m going to fill you in on what I thought when I really considered what she said.  This works, because I’ve seen it. Think about your own experiences, what you think has worked, and hasn’t worked for people.  Let’s chat it up!

In the meantime, can you think of a time when someone marketed themself, and it worked?  Can you think of a time when someone marketed their novel and it didn’t work?  (That one should be easy)

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34 responses to “The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #2

  1. I’m not ‘there’ yet but I appreciate all the good advise you so generously share with us. Thank you, Jennifer.

  2. I just read through the comments and I agree with them, especially the one about celebrities. Oh, and I think you’re a good example (ooo, look, you could read that like I called you a celebrity :D). I’d buy your stuff, because I follow your blog.

  3. I never thought of it that way but it’s totally true! I’m so loyal to the nice authors I’ve met at reading festivals & writing conferences, or those who interact on Twitter:-)

  4. I’ve heard variants of this advice before, and while I understand the idea behind it, I also think new writers have to push the story as well. I can see where people go looking for an author. But I suspect that’s because they’ve read other works by that author. Yet how did they find the first one?

    I look for new authors sometimes, and what catches my eye are the blurbs and cover. And those are about the book….

    It’ll be interesting to see your next post on this!

  5. I do try to get out to the local bookstore at least twice a year to flog my books, put my face out there, and talk with the public. I belong to both the Writers’ Guild and the Writer’s Union, each of which hold group book signings where several of us have a table and we talk to customers in an effort to sell our work. I’m not a very out-going person and really hate being pushy, but sometimes that’s what we have to do to get recognized. I hand out business cards for teachers and discuss the various funding options for ‘Writers In The Schools’ programs and, of course, there is the blogging and the twittering and the Facebooking – all in the hope that it works out some day. 🙂

    • You can all spit in MyWithershins direction for having books to flog. 🙂
      That is awesome that you have the opportunity to do that. You can also call friends and ask them to do the same. Create your own little army! Do you do personal appearances?

      • About the only personal appearances I do are in local schools. I have spoken at a couple of Writer events (Word On Water in Kenora, Ontario and the Manitoba Symposium). Usually at the book signings with other writers, I end up buying more of their books (autographed, of course!) than I actually sell of mine! 🙂

  6. Personally, if an author is unknown then its the book that requires marketing and once the book is climbing the ranks, say on Amazon then the author can market him or herself. Example, my book, WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME is my first, so I am, was unknown to some. But the book which is based on true events is a good seller in UK, never been out of top ten in true account and true crime. Also to 60 in biograhies and at the moment top 800 bestseller, so now people are interested in me! But come to the bottom dollar, pound, euro, its all about the package and how you market you and the book.

    Great post!

    • So what did you do to promote it?

      • Hi Jennifer,

        I did and still are marketing the book 24/7 using twitter, facebook page, my blog, Goodreads, placing my book on many other blogs and websites. Commenting on posts, reviews. Also promoting other authors books on my blog and facebook page. Just generally keeping my book seen and heard.

        It does take up alot of my time but I do enjoy the marketing side and have just started on my 2nd book. I have the writing bug now, thankfully!

  7. I think when you’re a first time published author, you need to market both. I guess you would in order to get the word out about you and your book since both are new on the scene. In this case, how well your book does is a like a “chicken or the egg” scenario – did it do well because it marketed well or you marketed yourself well?

    But I do agree that branding is very important and you would need branding in order to engage with potential readers on social media, blog tours, etc., plus on your “About the Author” on Goodreads, Amazon and other sites. People would want to know who you are if they like your book, and readers always want to follow an author who made their reading enjoyable.

    • Hi Megan! Nice to meet you.

      Yes, you want to do a little of oth, but you don’t want to be that annoying person on Twitter who does NOTHING but send out “Oh this book is great” links to everyone.

      It gets annoying (and in many cases ends up with an “un-follow”)

      • No, of course not. I haven’t and never will do that, because I’ve followed authors who did that and it got very irritating to see all those tweets, repeatedly at almost every hour. I don’t understand how anyone would think that would be effective marketing.

  8. I’m not sure. In theory if you only look for known authors you won’t find new ones! 😉 I tend to browse the genre I’m interested in and if I see a title and blurb I like (for me the cover only needs to appear professional and not be completely disconnected from the blurb), I might give it a go. The author may or may not stay on my Preferred list. At the same time an author I recognise might tempt me to check out the blurb, too.
    So, getting in reader’s faces sounds like a good thing!

  9. This is very interesting, and very true. I learn a lot from this. Thank you very much, Jennifer. Many blessings and much love to you.. 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  10. Yep, brand yourself. Make yourself a name people recognize. Don’t sell your book sell yourself… hmm that may not have come out right. People walk into a bookstore (or surf on Amazon/B&N) for a Steven King or Nora Roberts book not for just any old Horror or Romance novel. Many times they may not know or remember the name of the new one that is out but that is okay they just need to know its the “latest book by x”. Great advice.

  11. It’s an interesting one. I guess a good example is celebrities – people buy their books because they know/like the celebrity more than because they think it’s going to be a great book! But if you’re not a well known name…I guess it works if you can get people to warm to you as a person.

  12. I am writing like crazy, I know nothing about all you are so graciously imparting here but picking up tid bits. I figure I will die my children or grandchildren will run across the many unfinished stories and I imagine the conversation will be “you know gram did a lot of pretty good story telling let’s publish these in honor of her” and you know that will be just wonderful. Not to say that if some genius publisher accidently ran across some of my writes and said hmm with a good editor or ghost writer …LOL
    Seriously you are wonderful with all you do for us! thank you and God Bless!

    • I discovered (and this may sound stupid) but you cannot get published until you atart putting yourself out there. It’s not going to happen by magic. If you get to the point where you think you are good enough, go for it!

      • lenwilliamscarver

        truer words were never spoken on my comment I suppose we all suffer the ‘angst’ of confidence or non confidence in our writing as it is so personal , it is like our babies to love and protect from harm. thank you again for what you are teaching and a big thank you for commenting on my irreverent remark!

  13. An example of marketing a novel that didn’t work…well, take your pick at one of mine. I can’t think offhand of an author marketing themselves. But then again, it’s 1:00 am and my brain isn’t working as well as it could.

    • So what is it that you did, or didn’t do?

      • writerwendyreid

        I didn’t do a whole lot actually. I didn’t want to seem “pushy”. I pushed it a little on facebook and twitter, the covers are on my blog and it’s also on my website (which I don’t market at all). I also printed out an ad and put it up in a few of our local malls. I’m not sure if any of these methods did anything or not…I imagine they did a little or I wouldn’t have sold any copies. I have a $0 budget for this so I had to try to find things that were free.