The things they don’t tell you? Hah. I’d been writing for so many years before I was published that I’d pretty much heard it all. What I didn’t know before I signed that contract, I learned soon after. That doesn’t mean I heeded all that accumulated wisdom. I didn’t. I wish I had. The one piece of advice I wish I’d really paid attention to? Just write the next book.
But I didn’t. I was too concerned with marketing: building a website, starting a Facebook page, learning to tweet. I thought I needed to write guest blogs and take out ads. Because if that first book didn’t sell, there wouldn’t be a second one. Everyone knows how cutthroat publishers are. Instead of the “publish or perish” of academia, writers must “sell or perish.” I didn’t want to be a one and done author, so I bought into the whole marketing thing to the exclusion of writing that next book.
It didn’t help that blogging, taking out ads, and building a social media presence were easier than writing the next great erotic romance.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think any of my marketing efforts helped sell that first book. What did sell it? Reviews and word of mouth. I didn’t even solicit the reviews. So the most effective marketing wasn’t something I’d worked on. (Honestly, I was terrified of asking for reviews. Still am. What if the reviewer hates it?!) To date, the only paid advertising I’ve found to be effective is Bookbub. But in my experience reviews outsell Bookbub. Even bad reviews.
I still Facebook, Twitter and Blog (obviously, since I’m here). Not because those forums sell books, but because I enjoy the interaction, especially with readers and writers.
What’s been your experience with marketing your book? I’d love to hear it.