The No. 1 question I receive from writers is “How do I get published?” The most common question after that is: “How do I market my book?”
That first question is far more straightforward to answer, and an easier task for most people. Getting a book published remains a fairly consistent process regardless of who you are, where you live, how much money you have, or what type of book you’ve written.
Marketing, on the other hand, has an incredible number of variables that depend on knowing your reader (your target market) and what resources you have to reach them.
In my latest column for Publishers Weekly, I discuss how to begin formulating a marketing plan that is not only effective, but doable, based on where you’re at today. Here’s how it begins:
When I hear professional publicists and PR people offer advice to authors, one theme that comes up again and again is: start where you are. Use the power of your community—and the people you know—to gain momentum.
This is a strategy that does not receive enough serious consideration by traditionally published and self-published authors in their pursuit of bestselling books. Traditional authors can become overly focused on national media attention or industry reviews; indie authors can become obsessed with Amazon rankings and optimization. It’s not that those things don’t have a role to play, but national attention and great rankings are sometimes the result of doing a great marketing and promotion job within a community that knows you. It’s often easier to gain traction that way, and encourage word of mouth to ripple further out as a stepping-stone to the more difficult PR wins.
Read the entire column, Go Local: Marketing Books to Targeted Communities.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.