Book publicity and marketing a novel is, well, it’s kind of hard. And I’m learning how to sell my novel, I, Putin (Vladimir Putin novel), which has been on sale on the Kindle and Nook since January 23, 2012. In the past month, I’ve been down at certain points because I thought I had a great strategy in place. What I set out to do was spread the word via Facebook, Twitter and comment on every Russian political article possible. Here’s what happened:
Action: Announcing my novel on Putin’s Facebook fanpage (created by a fan)
Result: One like
Action: Announcing my novel on my FB page
Result: Lots of “congrats” and “great job” and “I’ll definitely buy it!” … but I made a mere handful of sales off that post.
Action: Commenting on articles on Putin i.e. CNN, NYT, Newsweek, blogs about Russia
Result: Lots of frustration because some of these sites wait days to approve a comment or the comment feature is broken. No responses to my replies to comments or my comments.
After what I’m calling “the week of frustration,” I threw in the towel. I was getting nowhere. But I’ve learned where I went wrong. Even if my book is about a real person, it IS still fiction and I can’t promote it like a nonfiction book. I have to appeal to all the fiction readers who read in the same genre and get them interested. In other words, I have to start a grassroots fiction campaign. In nonfiction, you’re selling the topic; in fiction, you’re selling the book.
Last week into the beginning of this week, I was annoyed. Mostly at myself. But then I realized I was disgruntled for more reasons than that. First, I haven’t been writing and that’s my strength. I love to write and I love to blog, and these past two months I’ve hardly been doing either. Second, I’m doing everything that’s unnatural to me. Spending hours on Facebook, Twitter and commenting on articles … that’s NOT my thing at all. In my spare time, sure it’s fun to comment on a FB post here and there and wish someone happy birthday, but I normally don’t spend too much time on social media.
The epiphany is: I have to market this book the way that’s natural to me. It shouldn’t feel like a chore or stressful and I shouldn’t be jumping down my fiance’s throat because I SPILLED a glass of water. (Apologies to James). I will look to blogging and writing articles (not commenting on them), and I even have opportunities to write two articles in two great e-zines—the offers were extended to me. I will look extensively at the Amazon tools for authors. I will examine my SEO on my websites. I will continue listening to CreateSpace’s fantastic webinars for fiction authors. That is what feels natural to me.
However, you should do whatever feels natural to you. If you love Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, then by all means, that’s where you should market your book. If your dream is to have a lecture or talk or have a book signing at your local Barnes & Noble, then that’s what you should be doing. My advice is to go with the flow of what feels right to you. Trust me, by doing so, you will avoid the massive burnout I experienced.
I do plan to try one new thing, though. I’ll have my first teleseminar in March. It will be free and I’ll offer my insights to listeners. That sounds fun and challenging to me. Thus, I urge you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new (still natural and fun), but new.
And to anyone who wants to subscribe to the Pencey X Pages weekly email about book publicity, please let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org.