If the goal of your writing is to develop skill, express creativity, and just be published, then you will not need a marketing plan. But if your goal is to write to disseminate ideas to as many as possible, and make it pay, then you need all the best book promotion ideas. Your writing goals actually dictate whether or not you will make money from this career.
At Sandcliffe Writer’s Festival, three writers talked about their journey and message to other writers. For talented novelist Susan Johnson, having had a roaring writing career in the 80s and travelling the world for 12 years, on returning to Australia she had quite a shock. No longer did traditional publishers give big advances. Neither could she return to teach creative writing at University due to ‘qualifications’. That was until she did an adjunct with another big name author.
Susan told us that the average Australian novel writer earns just $14,000 a year. So she had to go back to journalism and feature writing at Qweekend, a newspaper magazine.
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Spend Book Promotion Time Wisely
As a serial self-publishing writer, I eventually realised that you need to split your time 50/50 between writing/editing and promoting/connecting. As I fit in client work too, it’s more like 75 | 25.
If you don’t connect helpfully with other bloggers/authors, then you’re unlikely to get a guest post (parts from your book) or free book review from a reader. Guest blogging is one of the secrets to getting a strong link profile and online reputation. (The former serves Google rank while the latter is how others see your work).
When other bloggers/reviewers/journalists are talking about your book, then like Michael Bungay Stanier, you’ll come some good sales. It may be unknown where these sales stemmed from originally, yet it is more leveraged than one-at-a-time sales you do know about. See exactly how MBS published his book and sold 180,000 copies. (Long post warning, and ignore the cost estimates as it is a higher level than absolutely necessary).
Simple Hack for Serious Authorpreneurs
One hack is to build a team to do some of the grunt work. I admit a Blogger’s Assistant would be nice – everyone needs one, even if they are one! There is just too much to do, for example:
- Graphic design
- Writing blog topics and making blog images (e.g. with Canva)
- Pinterest followership and Facebook group posts
- Making connections with other authors and offering posts (email or phone)
- Writing press releases and your media page (actually getting around to even thinking of this!)
The people I do use are for technical setups or errors, as these often take a lot of time. For instance, I hired a PeoplePerHour assistant to set-up the 10-Day Author Blog Challenge, an email course. What kind of course or chapter could you offer your web visitors?