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Make Time For Marketing

Why every author needs to self-promote.

I was speaking to a food entrepreneur – Griselda Soames – this week about how to run a successful small business. Griselda is the owner of Enchanting Bakes, a company that makes biscuits into marketing tools. Not only did she make me some fabulous biscuits featuring my Happy as Harry book (most of her clients are publishers), she also gave some great business advice: If you’re not prepared to do sales and marketing, running your own business is not for you.

Whether you are published by a traditional publisher, an indie publisher or going down the self-publishing route, being an author means you are running your own small business. And unless you are a particularly famous author whose books are reviewed by everyone and displayed in every bookshop window, you need to do your own book promotion and marketing. How else will anyone know your book exists?

Some people don’t find self-promotion easy at all and I get that. I’m shy and the idea of telling anyone that my book is the next best thing makes me want to hide under a rock. But I want readers to meet my characters and fall in love with them, and so I know I need to come out from that rock and actively find these readers. They’re not going to come to me.

The first thing to remember (if you’re shy about marketing your work) is that everyone these days expects an author to promote their own book. It’s just as much a part of being an author as writing is.

The second thing is that being enthusiastic and passionate about your own book makes it easier to promote. If you believe that your book is amazing, you’re actually doing readers a favour by telling them how they can get hold of it. As a reader I’m always really happy to be pointed in the direction of a brilliant new book.

How to market your book:

Have a presence on social media – find your readers and engage with them.

Have a website (even a simple, static one is better than nothing).

Ask friends and family to share your book on their social media.

Get early readers to write and post glowing reviews for your book.

Have an author page on Amazon.

If your book is non-fiction, approach magazines and newspapers and write an article about your subject. You are now an expert on this subject.

Start a podcast.

Contact your local library and get them to stock a copy of your book. Ask them if you can do an author event.

Contact local book clubs and see if you can be a guest speaker – readers love this.

Be a guest speaker or a guest blogger on podcasts and blogs. There are thousands of podcasters and bloggers crying out for content.

Don’t underestimate the importance of being a ‘local author’. Approach your local book shop to do a signing, approach local publications and be a speaker at local arts and crafts fairs/events.

Contact literary festivals and ask if you can be a speaker. Everyone has slots to fill. They can only say no. If all the slots are taken, ask them to keep you in mind if someone cancels.

Join writer groups that specialise in books like yours (sci-fi, comedy, thrillers, cosy crime etc). These groups actively promote each member’s work.

Print fliers and business cards featuring your book. Distribute far and wide.

Print tote bags featuring your book’s cover.

Hire a stall at art fairs and sell your books direct.

Lots of organisations have guest speaker slots for ‘experts’. If you’ve written a book about cheese or dogs or pop culture or trees, you are now an expert. Bag one of these slots.

Consider how you can use Substack to promote your book.

Check if your book would fit on BookTok (TikTok’s literary community).

Talk to other writers and ask them what they’ve done to market their work. What worked and what didn’t?  


Good luck! X






1 comentário

14 de jun.

Great ideas! Thank you. I will definitely try a few now, and I feel more confident about returning to advertising my books. I too feel shy, especially as they haven’t been selling well - which is absolutely why I need to spend time helping to find them their audience. 🤞 Thank you.

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