Marketing is possibly the most important part of publishing a book, whether doing it yourself, with one of the ‘Big 6’ or with Red Hill. Irrespective of how well your book is written, typeset and designed until people know about the book it may as well not exist.
For those starting out, think about reaching your maximum potential market as an evolution. It’s a little like building a snowball; you start off with a small one and then roll it down a hill until it becomes an unstoppable mass.
The way to build this unstoppable snowball is to start in your home town … and the way to watch it figuratively melt in the sun is to reach too far, too soon.
Grab yourself a map and compass and draw concentric circles outward from where you currently live. Start with the innermost circle. (The radius of the circles is something you’ll need to determine yourself – just remember to start small.)
Your local ‘territory’ is where you should concentrate your first efforts. In fact, you ought to have an advantage over many of your out-of-town competitors as you must already know the buyer at your local bookstores, cafe owners, journalists, TV producers, bloggers and other important networkers around town; right?
Use these networks and relationships to get your book exposure where you live. Be everywhere. Speak on panels. Write articles in the newspaper. Most importantly sell books: generate revenue!
From this process you will develop not just a great press kit and a small but growing bank balance, but also a better understanding of the marketing process; of what works and what doesn’t; what you can do better and/or more efficiently the next time around; and what each of the varies parties you’ll deal with really wants from you (because it’s often not what you may first think).
Once you’ve conquered your home territory move onto the next outermost circle on your map. And repeat.
Oh, and don’t forget you need to continue servicing all the players in the various circles you leave behind as you work your way to super-stardom.
I love marketing, so check back soon for more on the real-world basics of marketing your book.