I like to keep things simple.
And when it comes to marketing my romance novel, Dark Awakening, I take the same approach.
Let’s be frank, for me (and I’m sure many authors as well!), the fun part of my day/night is when I’m stretched out in my easy chair, a comfortable pair of sweats on, hair in a messy bun, a delicious glass of red wine next to me, and my laptop on my lap, my fingers tapping like crazy as I put thoughts to screen.
And while I get almost as excited about the marketing of my book (I am, after all, a marketing professional by day!), I realize that for many authors, this task is looked upon as pure drudgery born out of an overwhelming sense of ‘where do I start?’ Indeed, many published authors and independent authors now find themselves tasked with having to market their book; a task once handled by their publishers. And, unless you’re a professional marketer (and have a passion for it!), the marketing can quickly become a tedious and time-consuming task.
How can you put your best work into that sci-fi novel, or romance novel, all while also doing proper, and useful book marketing? Below are three easy ways to keep your marketing efforts manageable and within most budgets, getting you back to what you do best–writing!
Automate as much as you can
With the thousands of digital tools that now exist on the market, it’s no wonder most authors struggle to know where to start. If you’re new to marketing, the landscape can seem overwhelming and you may be tempted to quit. Don’t worry, you only need to pay attention to a few key tools to get the most out of your marketing efforts—and most of them are free!
Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule your social posts in advance. This is important because it allows you to have solid social coverage throughout the day and night, rather than at just one point during the day/evening when you find you have a few minutes of down time! I generally sit down Sunday evening and spend about an hour scheduling my posts for the following week. Hootsuite is fairly intuitive and takes just a few minutes to set up and connect your social accounts. The basic functionality (i.e., the parts you will use!) are free. And the best part about Hootsuite is that it allows you to manage multiple social accounts from one dashboard! So when you create one post, you can instantly share that same post across multiple social accounts (win, win!)
Crowdfire is another tool you should have in your tool belt. Crowdfire takes the mystery and work out of building your social tribe! While setup is straightforward, you do need to spend about 15 minutes a day going through the daily ‘prescriptions’ that the program sends your way. The value Crowdfire brings is not only in automating the ‘building’ of your tribe, but also in curating relevant content for you to share with your followers, ensuring you maintain visibility, and relevance with your tribe. While the program does cost $3.99 per month, I’ve found the price to be well worth the time savings. After all, the less time I’m spending marketing, the more time I get to spend writing!
Maintain an online presence
Yep, I know. For many of you reading this, you’re rolling your eyes thinking, I don’t have the skills or the time needed to create and maintain an online presence. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can go about doing this. The easiest, is to create a Facebook page and spend time daily connecting with your readers.
But, to really get the most out of an online presence, you should create a website (in addition to having a Facebook page). Fortunately, there are some really great do-it-yourself website tools to help you bring your website online quickly and affordably.
I could spend an entire post reviewing the various hosting and design platforms, but suffice it to say, you will need to find a service to (1). host your site and a service to (2) design your site. You can use two separate services for these, but I prefer to keep the hosting and design all within the same service for the sake of simplicity. As such, I use WordPress.
NOTE: WordPress.org is open source and free. However, I choose to host through WordPress.com (their commercial site that does charge. The interface through the .com site is easier to use, and plug-ins come already built in to the free templates.). While this may seem confusing, just remember that .org gives you more freedom and is free, (although you will need to have some basic understanding of code, etc.), while the .com site charges a yearly fee for hosting, but the user interface is more intuitive, many of the design templates are free, and the plug-ins have been built into their themes, taking the headache and know-how out of plug-in integration.
If the thought of designing your own website leaves you with cold chills, there are plenty of services to help you accomplish the task. MKS Solutions offers affordable marketing help and website design, and they even have special pricing available for authors. Their model is more geared for authors who need help getting started (i.e., web design, analytics, SEO) with complete guides and marketing plans so you can take over and maintain and make updates to the website yourself. In today’s digital world, learning the basic tenants of website design and maintenance are a good way to go!
Another great option is Optuno. This company has a complete DFY model (Do For Yourself). They will work with you to create a 100% customizable website that is SEO optimized and completely maintained by them. While prices start at roughly $49/month, their pricing model requires the use of add-on’s which can quickly inflate the price. But it’s worth checking out if you have the money and you want to relieve yourself of the burden of website design and maintenance.
Outsource what you can
No single person is great at every thing. Nor is it advantageous to spend hours of your valuable time trying to learn all there is to know about marketing. Figure out what you’re good at, and consider outsourcing the rest!
Fiverr and Upwork are two great online sites where you can find talented professionals to assist with small or big projects. Whether you’re looking for a brochure or flyer design for your next book signing, or you need help writing landing page copy that sells, you can find the talent you need at affordable rates.
Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Find what works best for you and ignore the noise. After all, if you are spreading yourself too thin, you are either not going to get the best writing done, the best possible marketing for your book, or, worst case scenario, you will fall behind on both fronts and your romantic sci-fi novel might never be read. Save yourself, and your book, get some help with marketing.
By reaching out to a team of professionals, you can get the help you need to market your book, allowing you to keep your energy and your focus where it should be: On crafting a wonderful story.
What digital marketing tools do you find effective and easy to implement? Drop me a line below. As a marketer and author, I’m always on the hunt for ‘simple!’