Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Why marketing matters

Photo: Morguefile.com
Everyone who's published a book, either on their own account or through a conventional publisher, will know that writing the darn thing is the easy part; the hard work starts when you come to sell it. Gone are the days when a publisher would throw an extravagant launch party, organise a book tour and arrange press interviews the length and breadth of the land. Once your book is out there, for the publisher it's a case of 'Done, done, on to the next one.' If you want to shift books, you have to shift yourself.

Actually, my publisher, 3P Publishing, is very supportive, and on Saturday I spent a delightful afternoon in a workshop organised by the company, learning where I'm going wrong when it comes to marketing. It's just such hard work! For many of us, of course, the hardest part is getting over our British modesty. 'My book?' we say. 'Oh yes, it's all right. If you really want to buy it, you can get if from...' We need to be loud and proud, to shout it from the rooftops: 'I've written a book and it's fabulous!' You can do this yourself, you can pay someone, or you can do a mixture of the two. What matters is that you do something.

For example:
  • Maintain your presence on social media, but make sure your posts and tweets say something other than simply 'Buy my book.'
  • Establish a relationship with your local press - newspapers, radio (including community stations), TV.
  • Google 'podcasts on... [your subject]' and get in touch with the broadcaster to offer yourself as an interviewee.  You never know who might be listening.
  • Who is your reader? Picture that person: where will he/she be looking? I've been thinking about the readers of A Sparge Bag on the Washing Line as people retiring or retired, or married to people retiring or retired; but on Saturday it was pointed out to me the book will strike a chord with anyone in a long-term relationship. This opens up a new avenue of magazines etc to explore for coverage.
  • If your book is on Amazon (a necessary evil, it seems), use all the categories and keywords you can to broad the search range for potential readers. What about the 'people who bought this, also bought that' function? Can you buy something at the same time as you buy your own book so the algorithm makes that connection? (I don't really understand how this works, but I'm willing to give it a go.)
  • Ask for reviews. They don't have to be five stars - in fact, it can be very suspicious if everyone who reads your book thinks it's amazing - but they have to be there. Again, it's those pesky algorithms. 
  • Think of yourself as a small business. The writing is one aspect of that business, but the marketing, publicity and, all being well, the sales elements are, if anything more important. 
  • Keep at it.
Now: with this in mind, if you haven't already Liked my author Facebook page (@JuliaThorleyAuthor) could you, please? I will, of course, return the favour.



  1. I'd love to like your author FB page, but I'm not on FB. Hmm, perhaps I should ask Dear Husband for your FABULOUS BOOK for Christmas.:-)

  2. Good post, Julia - marketing is such a necessary nuisance, otherwise people won't know about our books. I like FB, twitter and Instagram best for the different ways they operate.

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. It's a bit of a slog, but I know it has to be done.