Effective Marketing Strategies
Updated: Mar 13, 2022
by Carmen Baca
Please welcome Carmen with really good information on your marketing efforts. Welcome to the Writers Journey Blog!
Effective Marketing Strategies
I’m no marketing expert, but I’ve successfully marketed my books in the last six years by following these strategies:
Effective marketing does two things: it attracts readers, and it generates sales. That’s what I did with my first book though trial and error. I kept what produced positive results and use it today. I tried other strategies, adopted those which worked, and discarded those which didn’t. But best of all, I made lasting connections with the writing community (other authors, readers, promoters, editors, publishers, etc.) and influencers (media, book store owners, book club members, professional reviewers, bloggers, etc).
I discovered effective marketing depends on these factors: the genres we write, our brand, and our reader demographic. Once I identified those, my marketing began with the following three strategies:
Advance Promotion—I promoted my first book for 15 months before it released. I created all the social media platforms everyone advises: website, blog, social media accounts, Flipboard, Pinterest, etc. Then I posted material I thought would attract readers and asked friends and family to follow the accounts. It’s always good to look at other authors’ successful platforms to get ideas; I did, and then I came up with my own. I’m still adopting and adapting different styles of promoting for my brand and genres. Effective marketing is ongoing through
experimentation, and it’s a constant learning experience.
I discovered FB was (and still is) the platform where people commented, followed, and shared with friends, so I fostered my first fan base there. It worked more than my website or other locations because that’s where I had consistent engagement on a platform geared toward my reader demographic. I identified my brand because I identified my reader demographic. Because I write regionalistic material, my readers are from the southwest. But readers from all over the world who want to know more about my region and my culture also read my books. You have to identify your fan base because that contributes to your brand.
After I established FB as my best platform, I focused on Twitter (a little on Instagram, too) to reach more readers. What I discovered on Twitter is a supportive writing community. I don’t tweet much, but I do engage with the writing community on writing-related topics. Twitter is a place to connect with many publishers, editors, other authors I know from FB groups or in person, promoters, the media, etc. I’ve found more publishers to submit more of my stories to there, which is always a plus for me. I’ve found a community I can go to when I’m dejected or when I’m celebratory. I didn’t find that in FB writing groups, not as much, anyway. At first, I jumped on #followtrain or #ff (follow Fridays) hashtags and began following writing community members. They followed back. It’s taken me 6 years to attract almost 2K followers on FB, but on Twitter I went from 318 to over 12K in 2 years.
The potential reach to attract readers on any social media platform is mind-blowing, but not all generate phenomenal sales. Experimentation will teach you much about which platforms will do something for you: either in acquiring readers/followers, generating sales, or connecting with influencers.
Reader Magnets is another strategy I came to value by accident. You’ll have to come up
with your own magnets (some writers use newsletters, blogs, etc.), but you’re welcome to try mine. Between books I write a good number of short publications in ezines, journals, and anthologies. Between those and blogs where I do guest posts like this or have interviews, other author events, and media coverage, my books can be found on over 60 websites so far. The more places where readers can come across my works and appreciate them the better. The magnets draw book sales.
Because I write in a variety of genres, I attract readers of diverse demographics, so the magnets also contribute to my readership. My first and largest fan base consists of those readers of regionalistic material. But my quiet horror short stories attract readers from all demographics who sometimes buy my horror and mystery books. Those sales are far less and few between, but they contribute to the overall number.
Lasting Connections come from the people in the publishing industry I meet along the way. Other authors, readers, members of the media, publishers, editors, etc. promote my works on their social media platforms and their websites which increases SEO (search engine optimization). The more you publish, the more places readers can find you online and in person through author events.
I chose to publish my first book with a small publisher because he agreed to do his share of the marketing. Of course, my share is about 90% with all my small press publishers, but the first one arranged a small book tour which had good media coverage. That’s where the connections started. Those initial relationships created more connections, and today we support each other in different capacities. For example, now when I need ARC (advance reader copy) readers, I call upon those people. Editors, other authors, publishers, etc. write reviews for my books and endorsements for my book covers. And as ARC reviewers, they promote my books—including my second book, which I self-published—on their sites. I do the same for many of them.
Effective marketing fosters readers and followers, generates sales, and most importantly, brings people into our lives we would never have met otherwise. Our publishing journeys are enriched by those who support us in making our dreams come true. It’s a give and take relationship beneficial to all. Other authors helped me when I asked for advice—many more help me today—and I help them. Best of all, we welcome opportunities to help new writers or authors along their way.
Bio: Carmen Baca taught high school and college English for thirty-six years before retiring in 2014. Her command of English and her regional Spanish dialect contributes to her story-telling style. Her debut novel El Hermano published in April of 2017 and became a finalist in the NM-AZ book awards program in 2018. Her third book, Cuentos del Cañón, received first place for short story fiction anthology in 2020 from the same program. Her sixth book will publish in a few weeks from Somosenescrito Press. Her short stories, articles, and essays can be found in ezines, journals, and anthologies. They and her interviews or articles about her books can be found through this link:
Amazon page http://amazon.com/author/carmenbaca
Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hermano1928/