Stay of Execution was released in early March with no more fanfare than a blog post, Facebook announcement, tweet, and a few emails to friends. I didn’t build up anticipation with a cover reveal or “almost here” posts. The truth is, I was consumed with getting the book published. And while I thought often of my marketing plan, I had already decided on a soft approach. Why? Mostly because I wanted to build slowly and develop a relationship that lasts. No flash and fireworks followed by quick burnout . This sounds weirdly like relationship advice but in my mind, that’s what the author/reader dynamic is. Not exactly, of course, but building a reader base (and sales) didn’t happen overnight with A Guilty Mind and I don’t expect it to here either. Hopefully, readers of the first book will want to read the second in my Detective Cancini series, but each book can stand on its own.
For me, a “soft-approach” marketing plan is really about getting the news out there over time. This is not to suggest there is anything wrong with a big ads, contests, and tours right up front. There isn’t. But my experience with my first book suggests that in my genre, independent writers don’t need a media blitz but a steady stream of new readers. My goal is to attract those readers with an equally steady stream of off and on marketing over some weeks and months. Some of it is already mapped out and some isn’t. One of the great advantages of elongating the plan is the ability to make adjustments or change direction. Is this a proven strategy or one I would recommend for everyone? Of course not. The only thing I can say with any certainty is selling books take work. Like it or not, all authors (except for Stephen King and John Grisham types) have to roll up there sleeves and take on at least some of the marketing burden. That’s okay. And while my plan may be fluid, I do have a plan.
Last week, I was part of a mini-blog tour (thank you to my hosts) and a longer tour is planned in the next several weeks. Currently, Stay of Execution is part of a goodreads giveaway that will be ending this Saturday. (Sign up to win a free copy!) I have a couple of guest posts/interviews/reviews in the works. There will be a “new releases” ad next month and more to come after that. Do I love marketing? No way! (And to think I once thought about majoring in marketing! Ugh!) But it has to be done. That’s just the way it is.
Most authors who are independent or published by small presses have spent hours scouring the internet for marketing advice to sell books. There is no magic bullet (or we would all be bestsellers – woohoo!). The only advice I would give is the same thing I would do myself. Try different things. Some require a larger budget and some don’t. Some will result in measurable sales and some will only provide exposure. Some will fail. It doesn’t matter. Book marketing is a learning experience no matter who you are. The road is long, twisty and pot-holed. But the destination is worth the trip.