top of page
04-09-21-08-34-54_hu.logo.web.png

Marketing Your Work - It Is Not As Scary As You Think



Marketing your Work – It is not as scary as you think.

A Guest Post by Jonathan C. Dixon - Audiobook Narrator

of "Blood and Ink", "The Road to Balcombe Street",

"The Smuggler of Reschen Pass", and many more to come!


Having spent the last few years working with various authors on a variety of projects I have encountered a lot of issues surrounding the perceived mystery of marketing. No, don’t stop reading. The subject is not as dry or scary as you may first think.

Before I continue, I just want to say that I am no marketing guru. I have not written any books on the subject, but I have had a lot of success marketing audio books that I have been associated with. The aim of this short blog is to try and show you that marketing is not scary, does not need to cost you a penny, and can be fun. I want to keep this simple and give you ideas that you can use with little or no financial outlay. It is not a question of how much time or money you set aside for marketing, but the strategy you employ. Spending a couple hours, a week can be just as effective, sometimes better, than wasting hours at a time worrying if you are doing the right thing. I hope to examine reasons that authors shy away from marketing first and then move on to offering some suggestions on how to improve your market exposure. If you think about it the only difference between you and your favourite author is more people know the author. The how to get to their level is not a magic spell, but by utilising your creative brain and having the courage to trust yourself.


I am only writing as a hobby, and am not interested in sales

I have heard this objection raised on numerous occasions by writers. First, let’s examine what this phrase means. Whenever I hear this objection, I always counter with; “Why did you self-publish on Amazon then?” As an author you have sweated blood and tears over your work. You have crafted your characters and storyline and spent months, or even years to get your book finished. Now, if you were not interested in other people reading your work this is where the story would end. But, despite this you have taken the step to consign your work to Amazon or whatever platform you have chosen. Why? Because some part of you seriously hopes that someone else will love your work, outside of friends and family. That is why you have taken this route. But, by not taking any steps to market/promote your “baby,” the chances of your book even being discovered, let alone read, is extremely unlikely.


I do not have the time or money to invest in marketing

Marketing you or your book does not mean you will be spending hours a day doing it. To be honest, if you do, it will serve little purpose and you will soon become very disillusioned with the process. Likewise, unless you are making a lot of money from your work, throwing money into expensive marketing campaigns, including paying for Facebook adverts will have little benefit. There are enough tools out there that you can use for free that can help and boost your market profile. Again, remember you are marketing you just as much as your book. Scared? You shouldn’t be. The only difference between you and any best-selling author is that they have reached more people than you.



My writing is not as good as author “X”

Without meaning to sound rude “Who are you to judge?” Just because an author has sold more copies does not make them better than you. All this means is they have found their market and tapped into it.

Similarly try to stop getting too focussed on reviews. Reviews help, but they do not pay the bills. Sales do. If you attempt to get an agent one of the main criteria, they look at is what your sales figures are to date, not how many reviews you have had. Reviews can be brilliant for marketing, and I will share that with you later. I know reviews can boost your morale and ego, knowing that someone likes your work, but they are not as important as many would lead you to believe. They have a way of diverting your focus from achieving your objectives. I worked with one author who constantly reminded me that his readers loved him, and he had loads of 5-star reviews. I naturally congratulated him and asked exactly how many sales he had achieved. I will not name him or her, but the author had 4 books on Amazon at the time. The sales of one of my audiobooks had outsold all his books combined, but he had more reviews than me. The difference? I had found groups akin to that audiobook and targeted them over a lengthy period. Despite this, to this day he is fixated on those reviews, but never uses them to his benefit.


I am sure you can all think of many more reasons why you cannot successfully market you or your book, and as this is only a brief look into marketing, I want to spend the rest of this blog explaining why it is critical to success, and how with very little effort you can boost your market exposure and by definition sales

Thousands of new authors self-publish their work every year on Amazon. That means thousands of new books every year for the reader to choose from, and your book is just a single drop in a massive marketplace. The quality of writing varies tremendously, and it is all too easy for your work to be lost in the morass. Amazon are a multi-billion-dollar business for a reason. They will happily take your work in the hope that they can cream off most of your royalties for minimum effort.

Remember: ALL writers start at the same place as you. In the past the only way to get published was to gain an agent and hope that they would secure you a Publishing deal with either a big publishing house, or one of the smaller Indie publishers.

So, how can you undertake a successful marketing campaign with little effort and no financial outlay?


Utilise as many platforms as you can.

There are so many free platforms out there that allow you to market you and your product which will allow you to reach audiences you will possibly never have thought of, including, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram to name but a few. Which you decide to use is up to you. YouTube and Tik Tok can be brilliant but requires you to film a few promo videos. If that frightens you then leave these avenues until you feel more confident.

Facebook and Twitter are brilliant tools if used properly. Most of you probably already use these platforms so will be familiar with them. Hopefully the following tips will help you maximise your efforts

Choose wisely what day you upload your post.

A lot of people do not know this but the best time to post on Facebook is at the end of the week and weekends. However, the best exposure on Twitter is normally midweek, either Tuesday or Wednesday: somebody probably got paid a lot of money to do that study! However, from experience this seems to be true.

Facebook

Join groups that have a link to your book, be it Historical Fiction, or related to the era you are writing about. In fact, anything loosely related will do.

Have a second page. I have my normal page and an Actor/Re-enactor/Narrator page. I post on both and double my exposure. Then people who follow one page can be invited to join the other. This then gives you a virtual database of interested parties in your work.

Every post I do goes to a minimum of 7 locations on Facebook. My own two pages, and at least 5 other Group pages that I belong to. It is a very simple copy and paste of the original and you keep people informed. The group members can change daily, whereas how often does your friend’s list change?

Have your friends share your post? I have a core group of reviewers for my audiobooks. In return they tend to share my post out to their friends. Once again, your post now has a larger market exposure than before.

Hopefully you can now see that you can massively increase who knows about your work with almost no effort at all.

Twitter

Look for people who share your interests and subject matter and follow them. They in turn may follow you and expose you to a whole new audience. I know this sounds simple, but so many do not make use of other people to help them. It takes time, but you build networks way beyond anything you can imagine. For example, the film Borderland starring Colin Morgan is due to air on Sky TV shortly. It is based on The Road to Balcombe St, which I produced the audiobook for. We tapped into to Colin Morgan Fan Club on Twitter and saw a massive boost in sales over a very short time. These were sales that were inconceivable if the author and I had not taken a chance.

Tik Tok/YouTube

If you feel brave enough maybe film yourself reading a section from your book. Always finish with where people can buy a copy. So as an example: 30 second’s max

Appropriate music – fading out (3-5 seconds)

Author reading a section of the book (10-15 seconds)

Finished with – Available on Amazon, etc etc (3-5 seconds)

Appropriate music – to end (3-5 seconds)


Remember some people make a living with YouTube Channels. They would not do it if it didn’t work


Keep Posts Short and Simple

People hate to read long posts, and Twitter gives you a limited number of characters for each tweet. So, whatever you decide to post needs to be short, punchy and relay all the information the person needs. This could be as simple as a quote from the book, a picture of the book cover, and a link where people can buy it. People by nature are lazy creatures and by not providing a link to your product you potentially lose a sale that you could have had.

TOP TIP: You only need a maximum of 2 posts a month! If you copy and paste to the various groups you belong to, you effectively create between 14 to 20 posts every month on Facebook alone. And it has not cost a penny or taken long to do.


Never Give Up

Marketing is rarely a one hit wonder. It takes time and repetition. Put a note in your diary that you need to repost, or retweet and stick to it. If you have time put together a series of posts that you can use. Maybe second and last week of the month. Close to pay day is always a good time, or just after. The second week in the month acts to gain interest, whilst the one close to pay day is likely to be the one where a sale occurs, but it is the first one that has grabbed the buyer’s attention.

It does not matter if your book was released yesterday or 5 years ago the potential for gaining sales never stops and neither should you. The more you sell the higher your book rises in the Amazon rankings and the more visible it becomes in your genre, and who knows, one day an agent.

Remember – no one plans to fail they fail to plan.


Steal Other People’s Ideas!

Shock, horror. Did he really say steal ideas? Yes, he did. If you see a post or advert that you can tweak to suit you then do it. Naturally, do not plagiarise, but in essence there is no such thing as an original idea. All ideas are stylised versions of what has gone before. If something that you see makes you laugh, try using something similar.


Tagline/Catchphrase

This is something more akin to elevator pitches for movies or approaching publishers but is marketing dynamite. Play with coming up with a few words that sum up the whole book, especially if your title is ambiguous. For example

Title: - The Crabchurch Conspiracy

Tagline: - One Battle to decide the fate of a Nation

The title in this instance is ambiguous, and unless you know about the Battle of Weymouth in 1645 you are unlikely to pay the Crabchurch Conspiracy a second glance. However, the tag line is clear, whets the appetite and encourages you to read further.


Summary


I know this has been a short blog, but I hope this goes some way to showing you how vital marketing is to ultimate improvement in sales. It is not costly in time or money but does require you to put a little effort into it. Be creative and try to stand out from those around you. Have fun doing it. Even the silliest of ideas can work. There is no magic formula to success, or one strategy that will work on every occasion, but your work deserves your passion. Persistence is paramount to success. Do not give up if you are not seeing immediate results. Keep going. All you can lose is maybe half an hour of your time, but you may gain sales and followers. Whether an author will admit it or not they would all love their work to have a wider audience and not get lost in a morass of mediocrity. I have seen it so many times where average writers climb the ranks as good writers get left behind. Why? I think by now I do not need to say why. You know! Oh, and if any of you come up with a killer-post I will almost certainly borrow it.

Why not try putting together a post and asking other group members to comment, but under no circumstance


*****


To book Jonathan's services as an audiobook narrator, please visit his Facebook page here to discuss the details:




213 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page