Been chatting with a few authors and thinking of my own marketing plan. Here’s the basic toolbox / things I used to get moving at the beginning.
Rather obvious, but this one’s built on WordPress. Super simple to set-up, easy and doesn’t require much coding experience. I do think it’d be nice to make it a little prettier, but right now, it’s doing the most important thing a website is meant to do – provide information.
I use Mailchimp. Didn’t start one till I published my books, but figured I should throw one together. I don’t push it as much as I should / could, but it’s integrated to this website and to my Facebook fan page (see below).
Best part of newsletter – you own the list of e-mails, so you can use them for your promotions as you wish. Download the list once in a while, somewhere safe (and encrypted!) and make sure to read your local privacy laws if you intend to keep them.
I run multiple lists – my organic e-mail list (gained form people signing up directly from my books or via the website/fan page) and those I get from the various newsletter sharing sites. Of the two, I find the second one gives me more trouble in terms of unsubscribes and the like. Still, these are people who have indicated they wish to hear from you, so treat them like the gold they are.
Social Media (Facebook & Reddit)
I run by a simple maxim with regard to social media. I don’t use / promote my use of social media platforms that I am not willing to devote sufficient time on to be ‘part of the community’. So, for me, I focus on Facebook, specifically my Author Page and my cultivation group. I’m also (on my personal FB account), part of a bunch of other groups which I do take part in, relatively regularly. I don’t always talk in all the groups, but I do show up and join the conversation (outside of my own book promos) when I can.
It helps, especially for niche groups, to actually read in your own niche. It means that I can contribute to discussions about books, about what series to read, who has a promotion, etc. That way, I don’t have to talk about my own books, but become somewhat familiar.
I do the same with Reddit. I’m not a huge contributor in r/fantasy, so I don’t promote much in there. I do talk in r/LitRPG and a few others, but again, I like Reddit, I use it myself, so I have no problem going on it and chatting.
Understanding and liking the social media platform you use is important. Each platform has its own idiosyncracies, so knowing those and working with them is important. I don’t use Twitter or Instagram, even though I know there are big reader / author groups in both. I can’t find the time to do that and write, so I don’t.
That was my basic toolbox to start. Just 3 things – a website, a newsletter and a social media account (Facebook to start). After that, building your fan base and the like can grow from there, into advertising. But, for me, doing one area (whether it’s newsletters or social media) is the best way to get the most out of your buck.
Social media, unlike full on advertising is also $0 cost. Not 0 cost, but $0 (since, as a writer, your time not writing is a cost too).
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