Disclaimer: Hating marketing is not required to use these tools. In fact, if you enjoy marketing, you’ll have a blast using them.
I’m active in several online writing communities, and one of the most frequent things I read about is how much authors hate marketing. It’s usually accompanied by talk about art and creativity, and once in a while someone tosses this suggestion across the virtual meeting room: all you have to do is write a great story and they will come.
Except, thousands of writers have written thousands of great stories and no one, except their parents and their Uncle Bobby in Poughkeepsie, ever came. The hard truth is—whether your path to publishing is via the traditional, indie, or hybrid route—if you want a sustainable writing career that involves receiving income and reaching as much of your target audience as possible, you’ll need to do some marketing. If your target audience is Uncle Bobby in Poughkeepsie, you’re probably that one writer who won’t need to market.
Mention marketing to many authors and the conversation comes to a screeching halt. Marketing can seem like a complex equation that includes long and short-term strategies, talk of ROI, and aliens. Okay, maybe not aliens, but for some, marketing can feel otherworldly. But in its simplest form, marketing is just this: it’s the stories we tell about our stories. How, when, and how often we tell these stories become our marketing plan, whether we ever intentionally create a plan at all. If you’re a writer and you’re on social media, have a website, blog, or even just talk about your work with friends, you’re already marketing. So here are five inexpensive and relatively easy-to-use tools to help optimize the marketing you’re already doing.
Facebook Shop Template
Most of us know we can create an author page on Facebook, and while recent changes to the platform’s algorithms make Facebook pages feel even more inaccessible, it still makes sense for authors to have one. For starters, it can be an effective way to communicate with fans, especially if you use it to create a private Facebook group. But one underutilized benefit of the author Facebook page is the ability to sell books from the platform. You’ll need to start by making sure you set your page up as a shopping template. Written Word Media has a great post that walks you step-by-step through optimizing your Facebook page as a sales funnel. You can find that tutorial here.
Creative Indie’s Slide Deck
On his Creative Indie website, Derek Murphy has developed a PowerPoint slide deck that can be used to create personalized promotions, book launch announcements, and ads. The deck doesn’t require high-level skills and is free to use. I used the deck to create the image below, using a JPEG of the Author in Progress book cover. You can access the slides and Derek’s instructional blog post here.
Lumen5 Video Creator
According to KPCP’s Internet Trends Report, in 2017 video content represented 74% of all internet traffic. Lumen5 is a video creation platform that allows anyone to create social videos. What makes Lumen5 fabulous—yes, I said fabulous—is that it allows you to create videos from blog posts you’ve already written. Told you it was fabulous. Just drag and drop content, then add your own photos and you’ll have a video in minutes. Lumen has both free and paid versions of its product.
Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images (Buffer). Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without (Buzzsumo). Image is queen in the land of social media, and that’s why sites like Freepik can help authors gain entry into the royal court. And if you’re handy with Photoshop or other graphics software, Freepik offers many more options for creating promotional images. I used a Freepik vector image and Photoshop to create this post’s featured image.
Linktree for Instagram
If image is queen, Instagram, with its 800 million active users, has its eye on the throne. The photo-driven platform simplifies storytelling by restricting its content to images. But if you use Instagram you know that unlike Facebook and Twitter it doesn’t allow links in posts, and you’re only allowed one link in your profile. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Linktree is a free tool that allows you to drive traffic to your various social media platforms via one optimized bio link.
Bonus tip: Whenever you share images and information on social media, include hashtags. Hashtags are like categories in bookstores, grouping posts by subject matter and directing people to content they’re interested in, whether they follow you or not.
Do you plan on adding any of these tools to your marketing toolbox? What are you currently using to share stories about your stories?
Featured image credit: Freepik
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