Before entering the realm of children’s writing, I was oblivious to how much time an author needed to spend promoting themselves. Four years and twenty books later, I’m fully initiated. It was a steep learning curve, I can assure you, but also a fun ride.
Today, very briefly, I’d love to share some of what I’ve learnt so far. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Tips for Marketing Your Work:
1. First and foremost: approach your authorial career as if it’s a business because, trust me, that’s what it really is. This business includes many income streams, not just royalties from your books. Like any business, being an author comes with its own expenses – some of them marketing-related.
2. Be sure to prepare a marketing plan for your book. Know what you want to do and in what timeframe. Determine if you want to hold book launches, school and library visits, etc and how these activities will fit into your schedule.
3. Set aside a budget, even a small one, to help market your work. Publishers may provide marketing materials initially, but these dry up quickly if you’re promoting on a regular basis. Consider printing business cards, bookmarks, flyers, posters and other resources.
4. If your budget (and your publishers’ budget) is limited, leverage publicity (free promotions) as much as possible.
5. Be prepared to spend time and energy marketing your book. Don’t leave it all up to your publisher, rather communicate with them and work as a team to get the most out of your combined resources.
6. Regularly use online sources and social media to promote your work, aiming to come up with something creative and new. The market is flooded already, so people are always looking for something fresh.
7. Create databases – for media contacts, librarians and teachers, festivals, etc. These can be ‘mined’, or used, to promote your work over and over again. Having these lists electronically saves you recreating them each time you’re transmitting a message.
8. Never underestimate the power of networking. Make sure you attend industry functions and connect with authors, illustrators, publishers and others. You’ll be amazed at how much ‘word of mouth’ and connections can help.
9. You will get rejected when making marketing calls and pitching your work. It’s the same as when you’re submitting manuscripts. You need to grow a thick skin, don’t take things personally and always be courteous even when facing a ‘NO’.
10. Be prepared to share. As the saying goes, ‘what goes around comes around’. If someone books you for an event, buys your book, hosts you on their blog, gives you an inside scoop, etc, be prepared to help them in some way in return if they ask – or even if they don’t.
If you take on these simple marketing tips, you’ll find the world of book promotions will open up to you. From this, more opportunities will flow. Guaranteed.
Aleesah Darlison writes picture books and novels for children of all ages. Her latest releases are Little Meerkat and Ash Rover: Keeper of the Phoenix. Learn more about her work at www.aleesahdarlison.com or follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AleesahDarlisonFanPage.