5 October 2017

Marketing Madness: How to Market Your First Book without Fear - Guest Post by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

When I first thought of myself as a novelist, way back in 2002 when my first book was published, I never really considered the realities of marketing. I mean, didn't you publish a book, and didn't then everyone scramble to buy it?
I was in for a shock when I discovered that marketing was the hard part after spending months, perhaps even years, to write that first book - mine had taken me over a year.
I'll be honest. I feared it. I just couldn't believe a publisher, even a small, local publisher, really expected me to do most of the marketing. Weren't they the publisher? Wasn't marketing their job?
What did they do? Put my book on their website. I was expected to do everything else.
Everything... what? I had no clue about marketing then, but the good news is that that first publisher forced me to take a look. What I discovered later was that this was the rule rather than the exception. If I expected to sell my book, I would have to get out there and market it.
And that meant speaking to people about it. Giving classes on writing. Contacting people for reviews and blog interviews. Learning the ropes of advertising, book trailers, social media, and so forth.
Did I have the time? Did I have the guts?
I'm happy to say I had both. But it wasn't easy - especially at first. I thought I'd go mad with all of the marketing I was expected to do. But I researched and researched and researched, until I had what I considered a good list of marketing possibilities. And I was doing good, you know, until I had to give that first speech.
I was in a class of fifth graders, and, as I was reading my first book, I was thinking, "I hope they like it. And then, I hope they'll buy it." The good news is that they liked it. The bad news, at least what I considered bad news at the time was - no one bought a copy. Instead, I handed a complimentary copy to the teacher to finish with her students after I was gone.
I have since learned that marketing means sacrifice. It doesn't, nor should it, include the bucks you are going to make, that is, over what you are going to share with potential readers. If you are only thinking, money, money, money, you'd better choose another career. Be assured that your readers will find you. After all, you are not just writing for yourself, you are writing for them.
The first time someone said, "Your book has changed my life," I thought, "This is it. This is why I write." The words came from a man who'd read "Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones," a book I'd written primarily for women. But here he was, gathering his own five stones to carry in his pant pocket when he went to work, so that he might remember the key concepts of the book: Listening, Trust, Optimism, Tenacity and Constancy.
Perhaps the title of this article is a misnomer. After all, most of us are going to market with some fear, maybe even a lot of fear, but if we're getting out there and marketing anyway, we're going to sell our books, and we're going to be even less afraid when we have to give that next speech at a writer's conference.
Consider this: I spend most mornings marketing - this includes blog posts, emails and social media; most afternoons are spent on the craft of writing itself. The half-way point for me is lunch. I take at least a half an hour break for lunch. That means I eat and relax - no editing on the side, no emails, etc. - until 12:30 or 1:00. The break gives me a chance to reboot for the second half of my day. Of course there are days when I am not at home, but these are few and far between for me, because my business is at home.
I am a go-getter. I don't wait for someone to ask me to speak at their next writer's conference or book club, I ask them personally or through email if I can help them out. That often means that I don't always get paid. But that's okay. Remember, it's not all about the money. It's about exposure. Giving back. Paying if forward.
The first time I scheduled a radio interview, I was totally scared. I thought I'd mess up. The interview wasn't perfect, but the next one was better. I grew in confidence. The first time I gave my elevator pitch for my book (an elevator pitch is something you share with an interested reader when they ask you what your book's about. You have about as long to share it with them as it would take you to travel in an elevator from the first to the fifth floor). I have had to give impromptu speeches, share my book with strangers at book events, and pretty much see myself as a 'real' writer, even if someone else doesn't think I'm 'real' at all.
Criticisms have come, but so has support. And this support has allowed me to continue without fear. In process of time, I've published 12 books, have begun my own publishing services company, and currently have 19 authors who have published with us - with more on the way.
If I'd let fear stand in the way, on any level, I'd still be dreaming about that second book.
Kathryn Elizabeth Jones
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About the Author
Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a published writer since 1987. She started as a newspaper reporter - publishing with the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. She published her first novel in 2002, attended college in her 40s, and opened the doors to Idea Creations Press in 2012. She has published 12 books to date in the genres of Christian fiction, nonfiction, mystery, YA and LDS middle reader. Her first 'tween' science fiction fantasy novel is in the works. She is also the author of Marketing Your Book on a Budget, a yearly compilation of the best low cost and free spots to market your book. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @Kakido.

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