It's time once again for WRITERLY WISDOM where every Wednesday we sneak a peek into the world of writing and publication. When I found out the lovely Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Inc was interested in providing a post for this series, you could have heard my squeals of excitement all the way to Bora Bora! I know a lot of newbie writers and debut authors struggle with exactly what is "author platform" and how to effectively market their manuscripts. Amanda has just come out with a wonderful ebook guide to address that very issue. I asked for my readers to send me questions for her to answer, and here is the lowdown on what we should and shouldn't be doing when promoting our published work. Take it away Amanda...
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· The unpublished author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
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! And be sure to check out my book for more tips and tricks!
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary, Inc. A 2006 graduate of Taylor University's Professional Writing program, Amanda spent some years working in marketing as a social media expert and copywriter for major national brands, including Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, and Benjamin Moore. While in marketing, she launched blogs, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and more on behalf of clients.
She has been an agent since 2010, and has quickly put to use her knack for understanding and not shying away from marketing and promotions. She works with her authors to perfect their brands and marketing efforts, while offering weekly marketing advice on the agency blog.
Amanda lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband and Great Dane.