Building an audience and marketing yourself...
These six words strike fear and terror into the hearts of almost every new author I meet.
It also has the same effect on some of the more experienced authors I know as well. Why? Because there isn't a 'silver bullet' that will solve the problem for you. There are so many different methods out there to try and raise audience awareness of your work and who you are. Plus there's no guarantee which method is going to be the right one for you. So you have keep trying and trying until you find one that works. This is especially hard if you don't have a good budget to work with. Many sites will promote your books for a fee. Oh there are some that will do it for free, but the results vary from author to author.
You can also hire a publicity group to try and build hype, but even then you have to be careful. The words "Buyer beware" applies to hiring someone else to promote your work. There have been a number of scams out there where new authors have gotten burned, so be careful how and where you spend your money. Talk with other authors who have a good track record and ask them who they used or believe to be trustworthy.
It's important to try and build an audience in advance of your book coming out. This way you have at least a base group of people interested in checking out your work and buying it. Remember, this is what readers face when they go into a bookstore or library...
This is also what they see in their mind when they're shopping online for something to read.
There are so many choices out there, so they need our help. They need to know a bit about your work in advance so they can narrow their search down.
But how do you find those readers? By helping them find you. How? Well, blogging helps. It get's people familiar with who you are and your style of writing. You can share thoughts and insights about the writing process so they get to know you a bit more and what to expect in your book. Sharing snippets from your work is always a good thing too. It gives you a chance to hook them in advance so they're all ready to grab that book as soon as it comes out.
This brings me to today's topic. As many of you know, I'm working on my first vampyre book. It will be part of my Para-Earth Series. In it you will meet a Union soldier from the Civil War who was blown into one of those strange Para-Earths and managed to find his way back to this world. But the experience changed him in more ways than one... I've been chronicling some of his adventures along with those of other characters who will be appearing in the novel. All of the entries on the blog are basically short stories so the readers can meet and learn about the characters before the actual book comes out. I've also made it plain to the readers that the entries they are reading are supplemental material and will NOT appear in the novel itself. The novel will be a complete long brand new adventure in and of itself. And I've been getting more and more positive responses along with more followers. But that hasn't been enough for me. I want more people reading that blog and spreading the word. The question is how to make that happen?
Well, I thought about my target audience, namely fans of vampires and where might I find them? Since I'm attending university, I realized the populace of any community college or university will surely have a large audience into vampires. But how to get the word out? My solution... business cards. I've ordered some and will be sharing them here on the blog as soon as they come in. After that I will be dispersing them among classmates and leaving them all around the campus for people to find. After all, most colleges will have a Student Hall or Union building, plus there are the cafeterias as well. Not to mention dozens of coffee shops, laundromats, etc. Basically any place where people congregate or have to sit down and need something to look at is a good place to leave or hand the cards out.
Plus, I'm already asking Facebook friends if any of them would like me to mail a stack of cards to them to hand out. Many are already saying "Yes". And I make that same request here as well. If any of you would like me to send you some of the cards to distribute to friends, family, co-workers, etc. just let me know. As soon as I've got the cards I'll be asking for addresses and mailing them out to you.
How well will this work? I don't know. But the cards will be directing people to the blog itself so they have something to read in advance while the book is being prepped for its December release.
If you'd like to check that blog out for yourself here's the link: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/
I hope you find what you read fun and exciting. I have high hopes for Nathaniel (my vampyre) and company. They will not be a one shot deal. I'm going to be making more novels about him as well as my other characters who will sometimes overlap with him.
That's all I have for now. I hope you find this idea interesting and I promise to keep you all informed on how things go. How will I know if this effort is succeeding? Well, the number new readers on the blog will be a big indication, so I'll be keeping an eye on it once the cards start going out.
Until next time, take care and keep writing!
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