To Market, To Market: What Should I do?

Well, blow me down! (Thank you, Popeye.) I’m back again. Twice in one month, already breaking a record in 2019 after my long hiatus.

I write to you from the frozen hellscape of Upstate New York, where the snow banks on the sides of the streets are 5, 6 feet tall from the recent snow storm and furnaces struggle to keep up with the single-digit and negative temperatures. It is a whopping 28 degrees today. The cold sucks motivation from me like a vampire drains a body of blood.

However, motivation must be found at some point. I am still a fledgling self-publisher, getting ready to release my fourth title in a few weeks, and hopefully by the end of the year, break yet another record in terms of consistent output.

As fledgling a self-publisher I am, however, I have barely dipped my toes into the monster ocean of “marketing”. If I could afford to pay someone else to do it, you bet I would. Alas, it falls to me to brave those waters.

Therefore, I have been researching diligently for ideas, instructions, directions. The internet is so full of information that it can take a while to sift through all of the advice out there; but I think I have found a few things to try. I’ve decided to start simple, with a short list of items, so that I don’t overwhelm myself.

Join Reader/Author Communities:
I already had a presence on Goodreads, but I never visited there or bulked out my profile. Recently I visited my account, and what did I find? Readers! Ratings! Readers were reading and rating my book, unbeknownst to me. Here I was, agonizing over the lack of reviews on Amazon, and there was a whole ‘nother site where my books were being read. Fancy that. So I decided to further fill out my profile. I also joined Hometown Reads, a site that focuses on helping authors with ideas to market in their hometowns. The more communities I belong to, the more feedback and ideas I get from other members. And my web presence is increased.

Start an Author Vlog:
Everywhere I search author marketing on the internet, vlogging comes up. There seems to be a mass transition of authors moving from blogging to vlogging, or doing both. There are a plethora of articles available on why and how authors should vlog, how vlogging can help you, and author vlogs you should check out. I think this is something I could learn to do and find appropriate subject matter to vlog. It’s worth a try, I figure, to add value to my brand and to help solidify my online presence.

Get Out of the House and do Readings and Appearances:
Okay, when it comes to author readings and appearances, opinions seem to differ a great deal. Some authors think appearances are a waste of time, while others get a ton of return out of them. I am willing to give a local book tour (local meaning within New York State) a shot, to begin with. Why? Why not think positively, anyway? It might also be fun, and a good way to get a homebody like me out of the comfort of my sacred space and out into the public. I am waiting for spring, though. Maybe after April.

The word is that if an author intends to make an appearance or do a reading, he or she should do that appearance in conjunction with another event or do it in an unusual venue. Given the settings of my short stories, I could do a reading on a deserted island paradise (except that “deserted” might mean a lack of attendees), at an auto service center (thought that is hardly practical – it may be too noisy and oily), in a plant nursery or garden center, or even on a path in the middle of the woods. I could do a “walking” reading at a nature center to promote fitness and the benefits of the great outdoors; similar to the way that businesses began having “walking” meetings a few years ago. The possibilities are endless.

So, there it is. The seeds of a marketing plan. I guess, given the Upstate New York weather, I will have to start them indoors until the soil has thawed and the seedlings are hardy enough to put in the ground.

-Shannon


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