Pinpoint your unique strengths and talents and make the most of them, says U.S. romance writer Daisy Dexter Dobbs. She’s used her talent for humor and art to help market herself as an author. Daisy Dexter Dobbs has her own blog here.
1. What marketing have your publishers done?
All books are sent to reviewers. Most of their marketing is to attract readers to their full book catalogs rather than individual books. This includes maintaining attractive, user-friendly websites, blogs and MySpace pages; advertising in Romantic Times as well as other publications; attending trade conferences; and more.
2. What kinds of marketing have you done as an author?
I maintain a website, blogspot blog and MySpace page and blog, which I keep current and updated. I’ve also sent our press releases; done booksignings; given talks to reader groups, book clubs and at libraries and bookstores. I keep up an online presence through various chat groups and promotional websites, always careful not to offend readers by too frequent self-promotion. I’m also an artist, so aside from the usual promotional material, I create ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) that I’ve used as contest prizes with my books; as unique scanned image remarks on MySpace; and for swap meets with other artists. Each little 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch one-of-a-kind art card (usually humorous) has my name, the fact I am a romance writer, as well as my website URL and email address on the back. Because they’re so different, the ATCs have been quite popular and have brought me a lot of new readers.
3. What essential things about marketing did you learn that you wish you’d known from the start?
Money spent does not necessarily equate to successful marketing. e.g. spending a lot on a glossy magazine ad unless you’ve already had several books published. Another thing I learned is patience. The proverbial “overnight success” is usually the result of a great deal or time, effort and patience. Good marketing needs to be ongoing rather than just the occasional blitz.
4. What did you during your experiences of trying to market your books?
I’ve learned that good timing is key. It’s important not to promote a book either too early or too late for optimum effect. Word of mouth is invaluable. And, with the right gracious, professional and humorous attitude, writers can turn scathing reviews into gold. Never spam readers via email or by posting nothing but promotional messages. I’ve seen some writers commit career suicide by doing this.
5. What is the most successful piece of marketing you’ve done?
Branding myself rather than trying to brand my writing. Rather than pigeonholing myself, I focus on marketing Daisy Dexter Dobbs as a commodity, a product. This leaves me free to write in whatever subgenre I like because readers will know what to expect from a DDD work, regardless of category. The other most successful marketing I’ve done is to create a strong online presence – imperative for writers in today’s world.
6. What advice would you give for new authors about marketing?
Pinpoint your special, unique strengths and talents and make the most of them. For instance I love making people laugh, therefore I use that skill to attract readers. I would also advise new authors to nuture their image as writers by maintaining professionalism and courtesy at all times, with readers, writers or anyone in the publishing industry. Be patient and keep yourself motivated because achieving sustained success doesn’t happen without hard work and long hours.