Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. Amanda Luedeke, Vice President of MacGregor Literary Inc provided a post for this series covering what an author platform is and how to effectively market their manuscripts.
The Art of Author Marketing
By Amanda Luedeke, Literary Agent
Marketing has become one of the biggest obstacles that any author will face. Great marketing ensures book sales and a solid marketing plan or platform can impress any publisher.
But let’s face it. Most authors aren’t the marketing, sales-y types.
I come from a marketing background. Before working as an agent, I worked at an agency outside of Chicago and launched blogs, YouTube Channels, Facebook groups, and strategized apps for some pretty major clients. So when I transitioned to publishing, I immediately realized that I was holding a very coveted gem…the gem of understanding and “getting” marketing.
For well over a year now, I’ve blogged about marketing on the agency blog (www.chipmacgregor.com). Every Thursday, I debunk Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or SEO or blogging…and I’ve found it to be well received.
But I realized people wanted more than my posts. So, I wrote THE EXTROVERTED WRITER: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform.
It’s the perfect little e-book for:
· The published author
· The unpublished author
· The author looking for marketing ideas
· The author looking for marketing advice
· The author looking for marketing reassurance
But most importantly, it’s the perfect little book to help you go from being an introverted, “I-don’t-know-how-to-market-myself,” to an extroverted, “I’m-confident-I-can-market-myself” writer.
Check it out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords (for all other ereader devices).
Now, I’m here to answer your marketing questions! In preparation for this post, we pulled some thoughts and queries from you readers. SO, get ready, here are my thoughts on your most pressing author marketing questions:
When is the best time to begin marketing a new book?
You want to have your marketing plan in place about 6 months before release. To schedule blog appearances, speaking engagements, radio interviews, etc., it takes time. So, it’s best to chip away at it over those six months. But the idea is to have things hit the month your book releases (preferably after release).
How are some ways a new author can market their debut book?
Since it’s your first book, you’re going to have friends and family ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the book succeed (You won’t get this with any other book you do!). All debut authors should take advantage of this excitement and form a street team to help create a buzz about the book. Use your street team to share on Facebook, Twitter and more. Guest post on their blogs, and get them to place bookmarks or promotional materials at their local coffee shops, doctor’s offices, libraries, etc. Remember, a street team of even 20 can be 20 places at once.
If you could only pick one social media site to promote your book, which one would you choose and why?
Personally, I’d choose Facebook, but I know of many authors who swear by Twitter. At the end of the day, you need to zero in on the social media channel that best connects with YOUR audience. Blogs, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Goodreads…Figure out where you have the most fans (or the most potential fans) and set up camp.
What one piece of advice can you give an author who knows nothing about marketing?
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What would make YOU shell out $15 for a book? Then, do what you need to do to meet that need for your potential readers.
What’s one thing you see missing from websites or blogs that would greatly impact attracting new followers?
Most websites and blogs are dead zones. The authors do nothing to cultivate relationships with their readers. There’s no personal interaction, there’s no way for readers to feel part of things. If you can foster a community among your readers, that’s a powerful thing.
Do blog tours really help sales of a debut book?
Typically, no. Typically, blog tours target the same old blogs that have the same old readers of those blogs. The successful tours are the ones that are put together from scratch. So, instead of approaching the same blogs that always appear in tours, an author would approach blogs that typically don’t participate in such things. This is how you get your book in front of new readers who are likely to be pleasantly surprised that you’ve stopped by their blog for a chat.
What’s the worst marketing thing an author can do?
The worst thing is for an author to either be too passive or too aggressive. The passive authors typically wait for their publisher or agent to tell them what to do. Consequently, nothing gets done. The aggressive authors end up being blocked by readers online because they’re ALWAYS doing the hard sell. Both will kill your career.
Hope this was helpful!
Amanda was a 2006 graduate of the acclaimed Professional Writing program at Taylor University, and she brings a background in marketing and advertising to her agent role. Over the years, she has kept one foot in the marketing world, working with brands such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Tecomet, Do It Best, Minwax, Pratt & Lambert, HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, and more.
She met Chip at an author signing in a Barnes and Noble in 2008. After realizing they had a commonality in Taylor University, one thing led to another, and before she knew it, she was helping him with projects, research, and all the little stuff she now assumes he just didn’t feel like doing.
Promoted to the role of agent in 2010 and then vice president in 2018, Amanda is currently focusing on nonfiction and Christian spirituality projects with a sprinkling of fiction.
She released her author marketing book The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform in 2013.
Though she considers the Chicagoland area to be home, she currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband, son, and two dogs.