Updated: Jul 10, 2022
Hey there friends! It’s Sunday, which for me is just Pre-Monday as I dread going back to work 👎🏻 tomorrow. Today I’m going to give my two cents on Marketing and (self) Promotion.
First off, this may be a controversial post, so I will help you decide early on if you want to keep reading…
I'm not talking about marketing and promotion in terms of book sales (well not specifically), I’m talking mostly about self promotion.
What the heck do I even mean, you ask? I am going to dig into whether or not you need create an online profile and how to do it. By that, I’m talking—blogs, websites, Twitter, Instagram, TikToc, etc. So here’s the (potentially) controversial part … Most people will tell you all that stuff is optional, but I disagree. I think you need to do it.
If you are trying to self publish (and make sales) or traditional publish (and snag an agent/publisher) this topic applies to you! If you’re just writing for fun, or you want to self publish but you don’t care if you ever sell a copy, skip this post, it probably won't apply that much for you.
I created this website and this blog not terribly long ago, so I acknowledge I’m not an expert, but here’s what I’ve learned in my limited experience in attempting to query, as a reader and honestly just as a person who has lived and worked in the world for a long time.
First of all, the world is very different today than it was even five or ten years ago. Almost every person in the world is on some sort of social media. Also, for most people, it is how they find things they’re looking for. Through ads, through trends, through friends… Social media is the new word of mouth and no matter how much you want that to change, it’s not.. So the sooner you accept it, the sooner you’ll come to the same conclusion I have… If you want to be successful as a writer (and probably in most professions), you need a platform.
So what does that mean exactly? Well, for me, it meant creating a profile and persona for my pen name. I knew I wasn’t going to want to market my book on my personal social media pages, so I created Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok accounts for my pen name.
(Yes even TikTok. It’s popular, everyone uses it and it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere so, I boarded the train… even though I never had a personal account)
BTW-my handle on every platform is @RoseRayneRivers so hit me up!
Ok, create social media accounts ✔️ Not too hard, right? No, it isn’t that hard to create the accounts. The harder part comes when you realize you have to actually do something with them. It’s not enough to just have the accounts, you have to have followers and to do that, you have to post. For me the harder part came when attempting to come up with daily content and staying active on them. It seems easy, but honestly, it’s easier said than done.
On my personal accounts I post pictures of my family and kids all the time, but I don’t give any thought to how often I post. I don’t care how many followers I have, but you can’t do that on your professional profile. So how do you build a following? Well, I’m still building, but I can tell you what I'm trying to do. On my professional profiles, I strive to post at least one new thing a day (on every platform). Sometimes I just share between all my platforms, but I think daily interaction is necessary. I don’t want my personal information shared on these, and I don’t have a published book to promote, so for me coming up with things to post can sometimes be hard.
So what do I do? Well, again, I don’t have all the answers but I’ll tell you what I do. Sometimes I post memes, or funny videos. I also repost things on my story from other writers and authors that I find value in (poems, inspirational quotes, helpful writing tips, etc). Don’t forget to tag the original poster (I’m not suggesting the ‘p’ word).
(Plagiarism—geez, get your mind out of the gutter 😂😂😆)
Anyway, using others' content as inspiration, or rather reposting it helps everyone. It supports the page of others who are likely in the same position as you and saves you some time when the creative mojo isn’t flowing. Because let’s face it, some days you just aren’t feeling it!
Ok, so I have Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, that’s all I need right? Well… probably not…
I thought that was all I would need, but I’m not so sure it’s enough, especially if you’re trying to get a traditional publisher. In my limited experience with querying agents and publishers I have noticed they all ask for your Twitter and website. That to me means these are standard things they look for. I’m not saying you have to have them, they are optional on most queries, but think about it from their perspective.
Pretend you’re an agent/publisher…
Ok, you got it… you’re an agent now? Ok, you get two manuscript submissions that are similar. You like them both fairly equally but you only have room for one, so what do you look at? The extras right? One of the writers has an online profile and the other doesn’t, who are you going to choose? I think of it like an employee search. If you’re trying to hire a new employee, and you get two candidates that have the same credentials, same education, same job experience both have great references. If one person has done charity work that relates to the field you are hiring for, that makes them stronger right? Same thing here. I’m not suggesting posting memes on social media is the same as charity work, but it does prove to the agent that you are willing to do extra. If you’re willing to go above and beyond, it can only be good for you. And from the perspective of an agent, I’m sure they’re looking for someone who is willing to invest in themselves and wants to put in the work to make their career a priority.
I read something on an agent’s website this weekend that really resonated with me and was likely the spark of this post. She said she was looking for “writers who are the CEOs of their careers.” (https://marisacleveland.wordpress.com/agent/) Unfortunately for me, she isn’t looking for my manuscript, but I put her link above, because I found her blog poignant but valid. She was an agent, and then she took a step back, for reasons she doesn’t say, but it seems like it may have been because the publishing industry is hard. And likely, being the person who has to break people’s hearts is even harder. For her, I say, thanks for your honesty, I love your blog. I wish you repped romance because I think you and I were vibing… I actually nearly cried when I realized you didn’t rep my genre…
Anyway, pulling back from that darker place I just went… If I circled back to my blog about querying, and read it, I could have probably saved myself some heartbreak if I figured that out sooner. Make sure “…you skim their wishlist to be sure they’re looking for your manuscript…” before you get in too deep…
(👆👆👆See what I did there? 😂😂😂)
Anyway, as per usual, I got off on a tangent. But the whole point of this post is, just like anything in life, if you want something, you have to work for it. No agent or publisher is going to want to help someone who isn’t willing to put in the work, and ‘the work’ will ultimately include promoting your book sales. If you’re doing it before you even have a book to sell, you’re likely going to do it once your book comes out. So if you’re wondering if you need a writers website, a blog, social media accounts, my resounding answer is yes!
Again, it’s not required, but I think any agent/publisher would say it’s highly encouraged. And isn’t that kind of the same thing?
If you’re a self published author who wants sales, the answer is a definite yes! As a reader who finds 95% of her books through Amazon suggestions and social media ads, I can tell you, you need to have an online presence, if you don’t, get on that, I bet it will increase your sales. Ultimately what you put in is what you’ll get out, so self promotion will likely result in sales… just keep pushing!
Ok, peeps, that’s it, that’s my two cents on marketing and (self) promotion! ‘Be the CEO of your own career’ and realize, others will only be as invested in you as you are in yourself, so start investing and get hustling!
Hope this post served as the kick in the pants you needed!
Have a good rest of your weekend (whatever’s left of it)- Goodnight Loves!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
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