Strategies for Effective Marketing

by Jennifer Slattery

Finally! After a decade of rewrites, you’ve signed your first contract. Now you can bask in your fame while large royalty checks roll in, right?

Perhaps in a Hollywood movie, but in today’s fight-or-die industry, selling your book to a publisher is only part of the battle. The real work comes long before your baby hits the stores because effective marketing begins and ends with you. Yet, with over 275,000 American titles released each year, what will make readers choose yours?

Obviously, you need a fabulous cover that targets readers of your particular genre and the back cover blurb has to grab them. But that’s not enough, especially in today’s economy. To generate sales, you need to create and sustain a buzz for you and your book. Ultimately, effective marketing increases your online presence and saturates the print media with relevant and well written articles.

Find Ways to Increase Your Name Recognition
According to marketing experts, name recognition increases credibility and helps the product or author to stand out among similar items. Politicians are aware of this. According to experts, voters often vote based on name recognition. This logic applies to consumers as well. If a reader’s never heard of you before, it’ll be more difficult to earn the sale. The converse is also true. If a reader recognizes your name, they’re more likely to give your novel a second glance.

Find Ways to Saturate the Internet
Increasing your online presence is a great way to introduce yourself to potential readers. There are numerous ways to do this, but blogging may be the most economical and effective.

Writers who are serious about their craft will start and maintain a personal blog long before their first novel goes to print. This accomplishes two things: it increases your name recognition and develops a loyal fan base. Terry Burns from Hartline Literary Agency says, “Don’t wait until you have a book out to build your website. By the time the book comes off the shelf, you’re behind the curve.”

Develop an Interlinking Network
Once you’ve blogged for a while, find ways to branch out. Spend a few hours per week visiting other blogs. Leave thoughtful comments that link back to your personal website. Find ways to guest blog for others. Guest blogging points their readers back to you while increasing your name recognition and search engine ratings. If you find interesting posts, ask the authors if you can repost them. Most bloggers will welcome the free publicity and will gladly link to their article once it’s posted on your site.

Make the Search Engines Work For You
Increasing your search engine ratings is like accepting free advertising. There are numerous ways you can increase your search engine rankings. Relevant tags followed by relevant content and keyword friendly post titles help. Notice I said relevant. Search engines are smarter than one might think and scan through the content of your article almost instantaneously. Adding a bunch of keywords to your title will only help if your article has the content to back it up.

Linking to other related articles in sites will also help increase your ratings. When a person types key words into the search engine, the search engine scans innumerable sites looking for related content. Millions of sites have the same keywords in their titles or on their web pages, but the ones with more related links pull up first. If you write about historical fiction, link to historical fiction sites and encourage historical fiction sites to link back to you.

Don’t Neglect the Print Media
Successful writers know how to write effective press releases. According to media experts, seventy-five percent of news stories come from press releases. A press release is not a synopses or back cover copy. It is an article that informs, ties into a hot topic, or provides entertainment while pointing the reader back to you or your book.

Effective marketing takes a great deal of work, but it is well worth it. Name recognition is key. By increasing your web presence through quality blog posts, guest blogging and interrelated links, you can increase your search engine ratings, resulting in free advertising. Well written articles and press releases increase your credibility while introducing you to an ever-increasing audience. The results will be increased sales and an ever-widening reader base.

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Jennifer Slattery is a freelance writer, publicist, and the marketing manager of the literary website, Clash of the Titles. In 2009 she won the HACWN writing contest in the book category, and placed second in the 2010 Dixie Kane writing contest in the inspirational category. She placed fourth in the 2010 Golden Pen and third in the 2010 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.
She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, The Christian Pulse, Internet Cafe Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and Samie Sisters, reviews for Novel Reviews, and functions as publicity assistant for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach. She also co-hosts Living by Grace, a modern-day “meet at the well” Facebook community. Visit her online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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