What I've Learnt About Marketing as a Debut Author by Wendy H. Jones

Wendy Jones talks about her book, Killer's Countdown

Things have been very exciting for me recently as my first book, Killer's Countdown, was launched in November last year. If you are about to launch your first book, or are even writing your first book, I can assure you it is a heady feeling. It is also a whirlwind ride. In the midst of all this euphoria I also had to bear in mind that somehow or other I had to let the public know that my book was out and readily available. Now that was a sobering thought. So what have I learned about marketing in the midst of all the fun and excitement. I thought I would write this in order to help others.

1. Gradually build the level of interest.

Having been reading about writing and marketing for some time, I was aware that marketing starts long before the book is hot off the press. It is important to build up excitement and anticipation so that people are waiting for it's arrival. The minute I started writing the book it was out there in the stratosphere. I told people almost right away that I was writing a book. However, I also retained a level of mystery. When people asked what the book was about I merely said it was a murder mystery set in Dundee. I announced slightly more every now and again to keep the levels of interest and anticipation high. By the time I revealed the cover and the title many people were already waiting for the book launch.

2. Engage with readers and other writers on a personal level

During this time I was building up a rapport with both readers and writers. I helped others wherever I could and reviewed other authors books on my blog. I didn't do this with any sense of expectation that they would be there for me, but because I genuinely wanted to support them. I wanted to help good writers, and review books which readers would love. When the book was ready to launch several people said they would announce the book on their blogs. Through this I learned about the genuine kindness of writers and the level of support they give each other.

3. Be Bold and get yourself known in the local community

Being a fairly confident person I approached Waterstones in Dundee and asked if they would host my book launch. To my surprise they took a chance on an unknown author and agreed. Following this I then invited as many people as I could think of to the launch. I think Waterstones were a little worried there would be no one there. Then they were worried there would be too many people there. The photograph below will show you how it went. As they say a picture paints a thousand words. I had a blast.

The launch of Killer's Countdown in Waterstone's, Dundee

4. Do the best job you can

I was fortunate to have a professional Photographer, Karen Wilson of Gingersnap Images, Dundee, at the Launch. Karen is a friend of mine and very kindly agreed to do the photographs. I then shared these on social media, not saying buy my book, but saying what a great time I had at the launch. Another of my friends also worked for STV and arranged an interview for me. I learnt a lesson here that people are genuinely nice and always keen to help. 

5. Don't forget we live in a real world and so do readers

Since the launch I have arranged events at local libraries, done a signing at a Christmas Fair, approached other Waterstones in Scotland to carry the book, approached CLC Bookshop Dundee to carry the book, arranged a signing at a local coffee shop and arranged a signing at a local Book Fair. In the current climate of technological wizardry it is easy to forget that a physical, as well as a virtual, presence is important. 

6. Build a buzz and keep it going

When shops have been carrying my books I have taken pictures of them on the shelves and posted them to social media. If I'm writing then I post the odd picture of where this is happening. Again, no overt buy my book, just a photo journal of my journey to publication. 

7. Remember you are a real person not just an author

The most important thing I have learnt is, be real, be yourself. It would be so easy to get caught up in the persona of an author and forget that I'm a real person. My friends, and readers, want to know me, not just my books. 

Wendy Jones, signing copies of Killer's Countdown

Finally, it also helps if someone famous photobombs your photograph. As I'm signing books you will notice Benedict Cumberbatch in the background. I told you writing was fun, and even the marketing and promotion has been a lot of fun.

If you are new to being an author and marketing I hope my experience has helped you. I am not claiming to be an expert, I'm learning all the time, and will pass that on to others where I can. 

With that thought I will leave you with a question. What are your hints and tips for marketing for authors? Answers in the comments please so we can help each other. 

As requested in the comments here is the Amazon universal link to the book. This will take you to the Amazon of your country. http://mybook.to/KillersCountdown


Lee said…
Would you mind adding a link to the book itself? Thanks.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Lee. I have added the link. Thank you for your interest.
Lydia Bennet said…
Wendy I've also found the things you tried worked fairly well for me and I'm used to doing performances as a poet so happy to do readings of my crime novels. However your link is useful in particular, I've not come across mylink.to before and have always been annoyed by having to post multiple links, so thank you very much for that! I tried tweeting the book and reported on this in an earlier blog post, it made no difference to sales due to the sheer volume of competition. Facebook though is helpful.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Thank you Lydia. I agree that twitter can be overwhelming and that tweets can get lost. However, I am getting RT's. I use twitter pretty much as I use any social media presence and is just me as a person with a bit of book stuff thrown in for good measure. I haven't really measured the impact.
I had no idea you could get a universal link either, Wendy - so thank-you very much for that. (Good post as well!)
Wendy H. Jones said…
You are welcome Catherine. The link for creating your universal link is http://www.booklinker.net for anyone who is interested
Chris Longmuir said…
Lots of great info in this post, and I hadn't heard of mybook.to either. Like others I haven't found Twitter that helpful, but I'm in one or two tribes in Triberr, and that's helpful for getting additional tweets when a new blog is published. Unfortunately I'm a bit slow in that department and my blog posts often stay up longer than others! Before I go I need to tell you that I have my own tribe in Triberr, but not many folk in it so far. It's called Red Herrings if anyone is interested in becoming a tribe member. In the meantime, keep up the good work, Wendy and I wish you every success.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Thanks Chris. I was in a tribe in Triberr but it fizzled out. I will certainly take a look at yours. Love the name.
Lee said…
That universal Amazon link is definitely handy. Thanks.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Glad you found it helpful Lee
Susan Price said…
Er... I clicked on the universal link and it took me to Amazon's American site, with the book priced in dollars. I'm in the UK.
Wendy H. Jones said…
I'm not sure why that happened. I get through to the UK and I'm in UK. Is anyone else in the UK and can try it?
Lee said…
It works from Germany, but not when I use a VPN connection.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Thanks Lee. That's helpful
Dennis Hamley said…
I get taken to the US site with US dollar prices as well. Annoying. Though now I think of it I'm in NZ so can't complain! I'll try again in March.
Unknown said…
Thanks, Wendy, for a helpful post. I know I don't work hard enough at the marketing side of things.
Like some of the others, I have found Twitter a bit too short-lived to make much impact. Similarly, though less so, Facebook.
Been trying most of the things you suggest, though only tried one Waterston's, and only once. Was a bit discouraged by the manager's attitude to indie books. Mind you, that was a few years ago, 2008, when my first book came out. I wonder if his attitude would be the same now that the pendulum is swinging more towards indie books. What do you think?
Wendy H. Jones said…
Christine, I think attitudes to Indie books may be changing. My books are now in three different Waterstones as well as the CLC Bookshop in Dundee. No one has refused my books so far, although I appreciate that this could potentially happen. It may be worth trying again
Super useful post Wendy and well done with your book. I copy and paste the Amazon url to the universal link site and it keeps refusing to accept it for conversion. I must be doing something very silly I guess.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful Eleanor. Have you tried registering for the book linker site and then posting the URL? Just wondering if that could be the reason

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