It has been a while since I last had a book that needed marketing, long enough that when I was complaining to a friend about not knowing how to market my last book and he suggested I start a blog, I replied, “A what?” Now I have a book that grew out of this very blog (Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion), and the marketing options for writers have proliferated far beyond the inert website and the obligatory bookstore appearance.
All for the good, I say, though I understand it can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Should I make a book trailer? Is Tumblr for writers? How many times a week should I tweet? For every question, there is a savvy writer, enthusiastic publicist, or crusty agent with an answer. We are all here to help. Myself included, but I have one suggestion that frequently gets overlooked in the torrent of book marketing strategy: Don’t forget about the book.
No matter how clever your are, no matter well Search Engine Optimized your website may be, at the end of the publicizing day your book will still be its own best ambassador. It must be. No one will remember how they learned about your book, they will only remember the book itself, and nothing sells books like the unsolicited recommendation of a friend.
I have enough tools at my disposal, and enough desire to see this book reach as many people as possible, that it is easy for me to forget about the book itself and come to believe that all my strategies are solely responsible for its success. But to do so is to lose touch with what you are sharing and become little more than a brush salesman.
There is no need for this. If you have written a book you love, a book you want to share, then most of the work has already been done. Books have a mysterious gravity to them that is beyond our control. In the meantime, if you are feeling desperate, don’t think about what to do next, remember how much you love the book. If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember how much you love the book. Your love of the book will be your guide in marketing it the same as it was in writing it. Because without love, the book would never have been written, and there would be nothing to sell.
Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.
“A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.