Monday, June 21, 2010

Relationships at the Heart of Publishing Success: How to Forge Them and How to Benefit From Them

Marketing your book is a matter of first, making friends and second, proving your value. When you combine the two you have a powerful arsenal in which to promote yourself.

The relationships you forge can foster your writing career. From support through the writing process to the connections made within the publishing industry, it’s the daily interactions that make any venture a success.

It is easier than ever before to get in contact with other writers as well as industry insiders. You don’t have to move to New York, just log on to the internet or attend writers conferences. Even conferences close to home are ripe with possibilities to connect with people that share the same interests and goals as you. To connect online, try for instance Facebook and Twitter. These websites provide group chats that will put you in contact with others in your field. When attending writing events, the main thing is to be open and say hello to every person you meet. These types of environments have jump-started the careers of many writers. Every person you meet offers something different and valuable to the writing community as should you. To determine what you can best offer others you need to play on your strengths. Do you want to be the critique buddy or BETA reader? A guru of your craft who provides insight as well as information? Perhaps you are the maven of Google who loves to search the web for titillating articles on the craft and business of writing. If that is the case, then posting links to save others time can be your value. Ideally you should aspire to play the roles of all of the above suggestions, it shows you are well rounded. Your connections with others needn’t be pure business either. Feel free to be at ease and joke, encourage or chat about life, it will endear you to your future friends, only watch what you say, it will make or break your reputation. Be willing to share your own knowledge and help others and they will be more receptive to your requests.

How much time should be devoted to networking is really dependant on personal circumstance like hours worked at a day job, family matters and writing time. The time spent writing should always exceed the time you spend networking. The number of sites you sign up for should be limited to a maximum of two, trying to keep up with any more could become quite a hassle. Hosting a blog should be another of your priorities. The blog will be the paramount asset of your career. Here you will be able to keep everyone up to date on your writing as well as share your thoughts on the industry and whatever else catches your fancy that is relevant to the theme of your blog. Later you can share information on any public or online appearances you make as well as book releases.

You’ve made friends, proved you’re an asset to the writing community and now you have a book coming out. How do you utilize your connections to promote your book? Blog tours are increasingly more popular than book signings. There are a plethora of blogs so limit yourself to the ones which are most likely to connect you with potential readers and that correlate best with your book. Optimally the blogs you tour will be high traffic and the host will know how best to promote your appearance on her site. Ask that your hosts include a link to your website or blog, a picture of the book and a link to a store where they can purchase the book.

A giveaway is another good avenue to take in order to grow an audience. Consider giving away bookmarks or totes that include the title of your book, your name as well as your website. This is a fun marketing strategy that garners you cheap advertisement and is also something useful to the recipient. A signed copy of your book can be the grand prize. On twitter you can qualify anyone to win your goodies by retweeting (or reposting) the information on their own account so that their friends can see your contest and participate. You can do something similar to this on Facebook as well. On your blog you might stipulate that anyone who follows you and posts an article on their own site about your blog is qualified to win.

A book trailer is an entertaining peek into the world of your characters, designed to entice the reader to want to find out more, thus going out to purchase the book. Post a link to the video you create on your blog and networking sites and ask others if they would include the video on the sidebar of their blog or website as well.

The success of a book ultimately comes down to creating relationships, from those you work with professionally to the people who buy your books. Eighty percent of all books are sold via word-of-mouth, thus your platform goal should be to reach as many as you can and make it easy and entertaining for them to spread the word. A professional website or blog, running contests and making a book trailer are all ways to appeal to your audience and make it fun for them to share information about your book with their friends. Be present in the online community and maintain your friendships and industry connections by balancing both the give and the take aspect of your relationships. A structured online platform where you not only take, but give back should be the heart of any marketing strategy.

~Lindsey Edwards

Lindsey Edwards has written content for several web-based companies. She has published articles on the craft and business of writing through eHow, Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents as well as her blog, The Write Words. She is currently working on a historical/fantasy romance series that she hopes to place with a publisher soon. She lives in Missouri with her husband and son.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Hi, I'm dropping in from Lindsey's blog. Excellent post! I'll be recommending all my writer friends rush over and read this!