This blog is by Archway authors for fellow authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Sharoq AlMalki, author of “A Tale of Two Beehives”. For more info about her, check out her website, Twitter and Instagram. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
So, you’ve finally finished that book that’s been inside you all those years. The sacrifices you’ve made; the hours spent staring at the blinking cursor and the mocking empty white page; the endless rewrites and edits – have all been worth it. You’ve finished. The End. Unfortunately for the vast majority of writers, that is where the real work begins. Because, unless the only people you want to read your magnum opus are your long suffering partner and parents, you need to get it out there into the big wide world.
This is the bit where a lot of people come unstuck. They are writers, not marketers or PR professionals. This isn’t why they picked up that pen or started banging away on that keyboard all those weeks, months and years ago. At first it can appear to be a minefield, and you are going to have to quickly learn new skills, embrace new techniques and more than likely spend a lot of time outside your comfort zone.But there is help out there.
The methods and techniques below are predominantly designed for those going down the self-publishing route. However even those who have been fortunate enough to get a publisher on board, the reality is that in today’s publishing world the majority of the effort still has to be undertaken by the author themselves, albeit from a considerably better position.
The first thing that will strike you – well it certainly did me – when you start to dip your toe into the world of promoting your book is just how many people out there who have done the exact same thing. Hidden away in your dark room, bleary eyed from the artificial light and caffeine, it is easy to think that you are, maybe not unique, but certainly in a small club of like-minded individuals pouring your heart, soul and very being into your book, for an eagerly waiting public, desperate to devour your words.
Sadly this isn’t the case. The fact that now everyone has a computer, and that it has never been easier to get your book published is very much a double edged sword for the writer. Yes it makes the process so much easier, with the route to the potentially massive marketplaces such as Amazon relatively simple – and free. But that comes with the obvious drawback. The world and his wife (and very often his pet cat too) have gone down that route as well. Suddenly it becomes a case of those staples of every marketing textbook – differentiation and promotion. And that, my friends is where the problems begin. But rest assured here are the best techniques for you to market your book.
- It’s not all about the book
Though the ultimate aim is to get as many people to see and then buy your book as possible, you need to start thinking of yourself as a marketable product too. This is easier for some people than others, but more often than not it is easier for people to buy into us and who we are than a random book. So you need to create a presence for yourself. Don’t forget, this is going to be a presence that you are going to have to maintain for the foreseeable future. Plus, once things are on the internet it is very hard for them not to be on the internet. So, despite the temptation to make yourself out to be some uber smart, buzzy, personality with your finger on every pulse and trend out there, resist it. Be yourself. It will be much easier to maintain, and at the end of the day, you’ve finished a book – you have things to say, you have achieved something millions couldn’t. You have a story to tell, and not just the one in your latest (soon to be!) blockbuster.
- Start before the end
You can never start too early to build up your profile, and raise the awareness of this fresh new author on the block and their book. It can often take a while to go from zero presence to one where you can do some damage, so if you are able to start while writing your book, you will be in position to go when you complete the manuscript.
You can even use your progress in your book as a method to get followers and their attention. Problems you are facing and how you overcome them are something that are common among writers, and everyone is always keen to know how others cope with those issues.
You could even run competitions or polls on how your novel should progress, or on the names of characters etc. Any way to get people to engage is a massive plus point.
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