Guest Post by Rebecca Lamoreaux
Rebecca grew up reading every book she could get her hands on and her love of writing came before she actually knew how to make letters. She tried her hand at writing for the first time at age 13 and still laughs herself silly every time she reads that first manuscript. Since then she has embarked on the adventure of becoming an author and has found her niche in Regency Romance, though she does dabble in fantasy from time to time. She earned a BA in English – Creative Writing and after graduating she traveled to and lived in several different countries, obtained many ideas for her writing, and studied literature in different cultures.
Rebecca has worked as a book publicist for several years. She loves to throw parties and she loves to read books. Plus, as an author she knew the struggles of getting a book noticed and the difficulty in marketing a new book. So she formed Loving the Book as a way to help other authors get their work seen and their books known. She splits her time between her home life, working at an outside job, running 2 businesses, and writing when she can. She currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful husband, who puts up with her crazy imagination, her super excitable personality, and her 2 pets – a bunny named Thor, and a puppy named Deise.
I don’t pretend to be the ultimate expert on book marketing; however, opening Loving the Book’s promotional business over 2 years ago has given me time to learn a few things both as an author and as a publicist. Every day I come up against challenges as I strive to help authors get their books seen – challenges that authors are unaware of and often affect our ability to market their books.
So today I am going to let you in on 3 tips that I have learned in this endeavor. They may seem obvious to some of you, but you would be surprised how often these become issues in marketing your book.
#1 – Patience is Key.
Writing a book is hard – but it’s only half the battle. Now you need to market and sell that book. Whether you do it by yourself or if you do it through a promotional company, book marketing is not easy. As an author, you have to either put all the time, effort, and money into marketing the book yourself, or you need to find a book promotional company that can do it for you. As a publicist, I love taking on the challenge of marketing a book for an author, but even with all the contact, bloggers, reviewers, and exposure it is still a hard process and each book needs a unique approach.
As an author and/or a publicist, You have to find people who like each different type of book, people who want to read/review each specific genre, know which blogs cater to which type of people/books, and know which groups are most likely to respond to certain marketing techniques. You have to find people who are interested in your book, and then you have to give them a reason to purchase your book. A promotional company usually has a good chance of knowing where to look for those types of people, and how to get your book seen, due to previous experience and trial/error, which can be a great support to new authors. But even so, book promotional companies have to work hard to compete against the many books out there and make your book more appealing than the endless competition.
If you have a decent following already, perhaps you wish to stick with what you have (Note: Be careful if you decide to change genres, this throws a new loop in the game that is not always taken well by current fans.) But it never hurts to find some help to broaden your exposure from time to time through a promotional company. So as an author and a publicist, this is a hard process, and it takes time, energy, and – in my case – a fantastic team to help get a book seen. Be prepared to put in the work, or to put your trust in someone who can do it for you. Then, have patience. Results rarely happen overnight, and never without putting in the effort.
#2 – Editing is vital.
I know we hear this a lot – all the time, in fact. However, it really is a huge issue. As an author I wish to have my book shine. It needs to stand out from the crowd. It is surprisingly easy to get your book out on the market anymore. And sadly this means there is a lot of competition and often ill written books that require us to make more of effort to represent good writing every day. Your book is going to have to really stand out. Find your voice, write well, only break the rules if you know how to do it right, make your book unique, etc, etc, etc. We’ve heard it all, and we try to apply it all.
However, even having great writing can be overlooked when a book does not get good editing. I have been amazed at the responses from some of our reviewers on books that I thought were fantastic. I have a program that reads books to me because I am very strapped for time. However, this doesn’t always let me see, or even catch, the mistakes in a book. But a reader/reviewer who is reading a digital or paperback copy will catch them all. And even with books that I raved about as a reader/publicist, were torn to shreds by reviewers who were turned off because of editing/grammatical errors.
As an author, I see the importance of editing to get my book to stand out, and to not have reviewers shred my work. As a publicist, I have struggled to market books that have grammatical and editing issues from an author not taking the time to get a good editor and to make their book shine. Many promotional companies, including ours, now have a guideline about having your book professionally edited before they are willing to promote your work. This is because it is drastically harder to convince people to purchase a book if they find editing issues right off the bat. It taints readers/reviewers’ views of the book – no matter how amazing the story, or how well written. It is a major turn off for many.
#3 – Attitude matters.
Authors can be divas. This is not necessarily a bad thing, we know what we want and we strive to get it. However, sometimes we forget that in this business there are no guarantees, no matter how much we expect fans to flock to us and how much we expect our publicist to work miracles. As an author, I want to see my book succeed and sell thousands of copies. But as a publicist I can tell you that even doing everything I can to hype up your book, making it appealing, offering giveaways, or other promotional tactics, I cannot force anyone to buy the book.
An author who demands perfection will never get it. However, a positive energy from the author certainly gets you a long way and a surprisingly good response in book marketing. A negative attitude, pessimism, and blame from an author who wants everything done right, and wants it done right now actually effect that marketing, even if the fans cannot see that side of the author personally. So be positive, you would be amazed at how far that gets you to connect with people and getting your book seen. From a publicist standpoint, I can tell you that your negative energy will always show through to the fans, no matter if you are doing your own marketing or a publicist is doing it for you, they seem to sense it and pull away. Therefore, be positive in your effort, and be kind, especially if you have hired a promotional company to do the marketing – we are doing everything we can to market your book, and you probably want us to like you if we are working to get your book seen.
Overall, I get the luxury of seeing book marketing from two different points of view every day. But not everyone has that same privilege. As an author I can see the importance of the marketing side of my book ventures, and as a publicist I can see where I need to step up as an author. Many of you may have experienced some of these same issues I mentioned above. But for those who are just stepping from the author world into the world of marketing, I give you the knowledge and advice I have – use it to make your book a success!