If you’ve done any research on book publishing and marketing, you’ve probably read articles about all the things authors need to or should do. We need to write every day. We should be on social media. We need to have a newsletter.
My recent favorite is how we should invest in Facebook andAmazon advertising if we want to sell books. We should put aside even a small amount of money. The authors who say this don’t seem to consider people who can’t afford to put even a small amount of money into anything that’s isn’t vital for their day-to-day living.
When I hear or read how all authors need to or should do something. I’m reminded of a thread in a writing group years ago. This person was worried they’d never be able to write a good story because outlining simply wasn’t for them. I used to come across so many articles about how it was impossible to write a good story without outlining. Since then, I try to be careful about my wording. I usually say “should consider “or just “consider.”
In one recent post about how all authors needed a newsletter, one commenter said they sold thousands of books without a newsletter and without being active on social media. They went a bit trolly about it but I got their point.
I love social media and digital marketing. I get a little annoyed when people blame on the wrongs of the world on social media. I also understand that some authors can successfully market their books without Facebook, Twiter, Instagram… I get the whole newsletter thing but most people who praise it skip over how hard it is to make it work. They just say make one book for free and you’ll see your numbers go up. I’ve made several different books available for free and that didn’t change anything. I have another newsletter freebie in the works but it’s taking longer than expected.
Because of digital publishing, we now have many paths toward success. What works for one person. may not work for another. Years ago, one author talked about how they owed their success to Goodreads. I tried to follow their tips and it didn’t work for me. At some point, while you’re working on your book, make a plan. Determine what you want to get out of publishing it. Research how you can reach that goal. Keep adjusting as you try new things and change your goal.
Now, there are some things authors need to do like write, get your book edited, have an eye-catching cover. Certain genres have requirements. On Twitter, one user asked if a romance story needed to have a HEA (happily ever after) ending. Yes, it does or at least a HFN (happy for now). If the book/series doesn’t have one of these two endings, don’t call it a romance novel. Call it something else with a romantic subplot.
Don’t throw the rules about out the window. Readers come to certain genre expecting certain things. Most readers now expect to be able to connect with their favorite authors on social media. If you go against the grain, you risk angering your readers, and you’ll end up with a ton of negative reviews. Write what you want. Market in a way that works for you and your book. Be a rule breaker, just be aware of the rules you’re breaking, even the unwritten ones. Like how most fantasy novels are set in medieval times.
People share marketing and writing tips that worked for them and their circle. Most simply want to help you succeed. Try their advice, if it works for you, awesome. If it doesn’t, come at it from a different angle or try something else.