Marketing Your Debut Novel Part IV
I’ve been doing a series on marketing your debut novel. You can find Part I, Part II and Part III here by clicking the links.
Briefly, Part I focused on growing your tribe/social media, Part II was about the comparable books section of your book proposal, and Part III was about the audience section of the book proposal. These all focused on one particular area of the writer’s life–the pre-contract phase.
Let’s depart that phase and begin concentrating on the next phase– the contract submission phase. I’m going to define this part of the writer’s life as the time you or your agent are submitting your book proposal but haven’t yet signed a contract.
You may think…there’s marketing to be done during this phase? Yes, absolutely. For me, this phase lasted from December 2009 to April 2011–almost 18 months! Definitely too much time to be sitting idle.
One thing you can be doing during this phase is hosting other authors/experts on your blog and guest blogging on others’ blogs that support your brand. This will lend to your credibility and should also help internet search engines highlight sites with your name. The more sites, the more opportunities for people to find you and the more exposure you have to people who may not have discovered you yet.
My primary blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, deals with writing medically authentic fiction. This supports my overall suspense brand because I discuss ways to injure, maim, and kill fictional characters.
To help grow my blog and support my brand (therefore exposing Proof to more potential buyers), I began looking for opportunities to guest blog and looked for other authors to host.
For example, I wrote pieces for other blogs that dealt with strategies an author could use for medical research, common medical mistakes in fiction writing, and even offered real medical advice to parents over at Christian Mama’s Guide. Erin is a non-fiction author who published a guide on having a baby and although Erin’s blog is not a suspense blog at all, my guest blogging allowed me an opportunity to reach possible new readers and lent her blog credibility by having an expert post. A true win/win situation.
I also hosted authors like Richard Mabry, CJ Lyons, and Candace Calvert. I hoped to drive their readers, whose fiction is similar to mine, to my blog to learn more about me and possibly become future buyers of my fiction.
Though this isn’t specific to guest blogging/hosting, I did follow many on Twitter who mentioned they were authors. I sent one direct message to them telling them about my blog. From that, I’ve gotten several additional authors to guest blog for me. In return for guest blogging, I highlight them, their books, and their internet presence.
Some people argue that my strategy, primarily focusing on authors as my initial tribe, will not boost sales in the end. We’ll have to see if what they say is true but I know I’m an author and an avid book fan and have bought many more books because I’ve built relationships with these authors and grown to love them as friends.
Next post in this series, we’ll go over how to be a generous blog host and good guest blogger.
How about you? What are some strategies you’ve used to gain readership by hosting guests on your blog and/or guest blogging other places?