Thursday, June 24, 2021

How to Market Your Book Before It’s Written

By Jenna Harte

Part of The Writer's Life Series

JH: When should you start marketing your book? Jenna Harte says it’s never too early. Here are ways to market your book while you’re writing it.

Jenna Harte is a die-hard romantic writing about characters who are passionate about and committed to each other, and frequently getting into trouble. She is the author of the Valentine Mysteries, the first of which, Deadly Valentine (free at her website), reached the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. She has a contemporary romance series, Southern Heat, and a cozy mystery series, Sophie Parker Coupon Mystery Series

She also has an online romance book community, SwoonworthyHEA, where authors and readers can connect over romance books. Romance authors can join her free writing community for support, accountability, and more at WritewithHarte.

Take it away Jenna...

Jenna Harte

A common question asked in author writing groups is when to start marketing a book. Many new authors inquire about this just as their book is releasing. Unfortunately, waiting until the book is published to promote it is too late. This is especially true if you’re traditionally published because you have a short time-frame of visibility in bookstores to prove your book should stay on the shelf. But even indie authors will benefit from early marketing.

Here’s how!

Start talking about your book the minute you begin writing.

Not only will talking about your book bring awareness of it, but it can motivate you to keep writing because you want to tell people of your progress when they ask, “So, how’s that book coming?”

Build your author platform.

I created my website, email list, and social media platforms before my first book was finished. This might feel like too much too early, but you want to use this time to develop your following. The goal is to have a ready-to-buy audience for your release. Note, you don’t have to blog. Instead, you can create a website about you and your book, feed your social media posts on it (for new content), and have your email sign up (perhaps with a free preview chapter).

As for social media, you don’t have to be on every platform. Instead, be on the platforms your most likely readers spend time on. Consider creating profiles on book-oriented sites, such as Goodreads and/or Bookbub, or online book communities related to your genre.

(Here’s more with Do You Know Who You Are? Building and Sharing Your Author Brand)

Develop a community.

Authors aren’t often seen as celebrities like rockstars or actors, but you’d be surprised at how many have a fanatical fan base (in a good way). There’s a difference between your platform, where you’re sharing content, and a community, in which you’re engaged with your readers who become fans. These fans not only buy your works, but also, they tell others about it.

To start, create a place for people to connect with you in a group, such as a Facebook Group. Then provide them with behind-the-scenes previews, fun factoids, opportunities to give you input on your work (i.e., feedback on character names or book covers, etc.), and special goodies (swag, ARCs of your books, contests, etc.).

(Here’s more with Choosing the Right Social Media Site for You and Your Readers)

Develop your outreach resources.

When it comes to marketing, many author-experts recommend what I have mentioned above; a website, email, and social media. But they often stop at that. The problem is that a book marketing platform isn’t A Field of Dreams. Building it doesn’t mean people will come. Until you have your fan base, you’ll need to reach out to get in front of your potential readers.

1. Make a list of where your ideal readers spend time, especially related to reading your type of book.
  • What blogs do they read? 
  • What podcasts do they listen to? 
  • What YouTube Channels do they watch? 
  • What events do they attend? 
  • What social media platforms do they spend time on talking about books?
2. Start participating. 
  • Read the blogs and comment. 
  • Listen to the podcasts and watch the videos, and comment. 
  • Attend events. 
  • Join social media groups and participate, not just talking about yourself, but about books in your genre.
When it comes time to release your book, many of these people will now be in your community or at least connected to your platform. You can become a guest or get reviews from the bloggers, podcasters, and video makers you’ve been following, who should be willing to help you since you’ve been such a great support of theirs.

(Here’s more with Finding Your Audience Part Three - Create Your Own Community)

Build your network.

While some of your outreach resources will be a part of your network, this group is designed to give you feedback and connect you with opportunities and resources to expand your and your book’s reach. For example, I found my agent by connecting with a writing group where another author shared her agent info with me. I have an author friend who frequently forwards me great opportunities to get my books in front of readers who don’t know about me.

Start building your network by joining writing organizations, especially local ones where you can meet with other authors. Online author groups can also be a great place to learn about writing, publishing, and marketing, as well as to get resources. Attend writing events where you can meet authors, agents, and publishers.

(Here’s more with Writers: Make a List of Personal Influencers)

When your book release date is set, you’ll want to put together a launch and marketing plan beyond the marketing strategies offered above. However, if you have the above resources already set, your launch and marketing efforts will be easier because you’ll already have a foundation and followers.

About Drawn to Her: Book One of the Southern Heat Series

He doesn't trust her, but he's powerless to resist her. He's...Drawn to Her. Feisty and outspoken, Lexie McKenna will do anything to protect her cantankerous and ailing patient--even if it means going up against his cold and calculating, but sexy and irresistible, grandson. After all, as a nurse, her number one priority is her patient. Drake Carmichael doesn't trust the nurse who's taking care of his grandfather--despite how adorable and compassionate she seems. He refuses to let her get her grips into their hard-earned money.

But as the two square off and begin to battle about what is best for the dying man, Lexie and Drake realize that first impressions are deceiving. Lexie discovers a warm, vulnerable man beneath cold, calculating armor, and Drake finds he's helpless against Lexie's gentle heart and beguiling smile. Once they finally give in to their desires, the battle has only just begin.

As the clash between family and fortune ignites, the love they both crave could burn to ash.

Amazon Barnes & Noble | iTunes Indie Bound | Kobo 

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