Marketing 101: The Resting Phase Isn’t So…Restful

If you’re a published author, you know how intense launching a book can be. If you’re not yet published, wait for it, it’s coming. 🙂

There are tasks every author should be doing up to a year in advance of releasing their book, then there’s six months, five, four, three, two, one, three weeks, two, one, and day of your book release. Those hours, days, and weeks can become a hazy blur full of a million things to do. So when your book launches, you breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe you’re already gearing up for the next book launch (it’s never-ending isn’t it?), or maybe you’re in the resting or downtime phase. You aren’t yet focusing on the next big launch, so it’s still time to maintain your marketing on your new release. Or in some cases, maintain your marketing on your old release or an old series.

The truth is, you should never not be marketing your books or building your brand. And while some of these efforts get lost in the new release, launch craze–it’s good to refocus your efforts now that you have a teensy bit more time.

Here are a few things you can be doing weekly, or even daily, during the “resting” phase in between your book launches.

1. Never stop seeking reviews. Reviews help authors land opportunities; whether it’s being accepted with an advertiser like BookBub or ENT, or being welcomed to cross-promo opportunities with other authors. Reviews are testimonials for your business and you want to make sure when a new reader pops onto your page, they see hundreds of glowing ones.

2. Get more active on social media. Book launches can create tunnel vision, so maybe during yours you’ve neglected your Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. Now is the time to dust off those accounts and show your readers who you are. No, we don’t mean sell to them. We mean engage with them and let them get to know you. Make friends and build your community, that’s what social media is for. Tie in to Twitter “events” like #1LineWeds or share your book teasers on Facebook for #TeaserTuesday. Social can expand your reach and connect you with new readers.

3. Update your blog. Readers tend to search for an author and land on their website. They may or may not hit your blog, but if they do, and they see you haven’t posted in a year, they might move along to someone else they deem “more current.” Share on your blog and you could earn more sales because readers have gotten to know you and like you.

4. Seek out cross-promotion opportunities with other authors. Share books and promote other authors whose work resonates with you or your readers, and these authors are more likely to want to help you when you come knocking. Blog hops, newsletter cross-promotions, Facebook hops, book sales, box sets, etc., are all good cross-promo opportunities.

5. Pitch articles to larger outlets. The Huffington Post, have you heard of them? How about BuzzFeed? Turns out, there are tons of big outlets that already have an established audience you could leverage. Write an article, submit it to them, and then get in front of their readers. Every outlet has their own guidelines so check those out, and pitch to outlets whose audiences resonate with the type of stuff you write. These would not be sales-like articles; they are not interested in those. Instead, pick a few topics you believe yourself to be an expert in, then write articles around those to submit.

6. Schedule some local readings and signing events. Don’t be shy! Drop by your local businesses, or non-local if you’d like to travel, and introduce yourself. Bring some books, a few bookmarks, and anything else you think is appropriate for the business. You can also email them and include your media kit. Make sure you practice your pitch so you can talk about yourself and your book and why you might be a good fit for their customers.

7. Write a novella–or a freebie. There’s a huge debate on writing and giving out hard work for free. We get it, those words cost you, and they should carry some monetary value. You’re not discrediting your work–or yourself–if you put it up for free; you’re being a smart marketer. You’re proving your brand to new readers, who most likely won’t buy you without knowing your work first. It’s the same reason a lot of authors put up their first book in a series for free as a loss leader, because it converts more readers into series-wide fans than not. Same with a novella you ofter up for free or a freebie short. The more fresh content you publish or push, the more your visibility extends.

8. Start an early reader group. Successful books tend to have a whole mess of positive reviews, and several of them land on day one right when the book first comes out. Sure, they might have corralled some speed readers, but most likely, the author sent out advanced reader copies two to three weeks before the book launched. Gather your own super fans and friends and send them a free eBook in exchange for an honest review on launch day. By forming this group, you should launch with 50-60 glowing reviews.

9. Connect with book clubs via Skype or locally. There are only so many book clubs in your hometown, but that’s where Skype and Google become your best friends. Find them, connect with them, and crash their book club meeting via Skype. If you can’t be there in person to sign all their books, you could mail the club leader signed bookmarks. Think outside the box.

10. Check out local bookstores for promo opportunities. Libraries, too. On top of readings and signings, some do special spotlights or other events you can participate in. Make a document of all the places within say a thirty mile radius and jot down who the contact person is and if they do any weekly, monthly, or annual events you can become a part of.

11. Use deleted scenes for work in progress manuscripts as promotional material. Just like creating teaser graphics to lure in readers is a marketing tool,  so can those pesky edits. Did you cut a few paragraphs, a whole scene, or complete chapters? Readers would love to know what material made it and what didn’t. Think of a clever way to share and promote the discarded words and readers will feel like they’re getting to see something special. Sharing fresh content from a WIP is a great way to build interest before the book hits. Since you’re aiming to hook a new reader through what you’re posting only, make sure it’s engaging and interesting.

12. Spruce up your website. Like we mentioned earlier, readers search and land on your blog. Think about what you’d like to see if you were interested in a new author. Keep it updated, keep it interesting, and you’ll go a lot further in converting passerbys into readers.

13. Find your publicity. Bloggers, podcasters, publications are all your friends. Get in touch with them and see if they’d be interested interviewing you, having you on their show, or spotlighting a post, article, or guest blog on their outlet.

Pick one or two things from the above list and work on them every week. This will keep you focused, and up-to-date on your marketing efforts without overwhelming you. After all, you have that next to book to write! Get to it.

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