Category Archives: Marketing rules

Rule 11: Network!

The 11th rule of marketing for authors is one word: network! The marketing-savvy author actively engages in networking. Why? Because networking can bring:

  • access to inside information
  • valuable contacts to pro-actively improve your book marketing
  • unexpected marketing opportunities

Networking is so valuable that it’s one of two main reasons I run the marketing for authors email list. Authors can swap marketing tips here, but they can also network. It’s also the reason why, when I put together the programme for Get Writing 2007 conference we’re not simply having lunch, we’re having a networking lunch.

Networking involves making and keeping contacts, and helping others. Authors should be networking with:

  • Other authors, in their own genre and outside it
  • Staff at their publishers and elsewhere
  • Booksellers, and others engaged in book trade
  • Librarians, festival organisers and literature development officers
  • Journalists, book reviewers and other writers

And potentially also:

  • Literary agents
  • Web designers and online marketing specialists
  • Active members of clubs and associations
  • Course and conference organisers
  • Marketing and media professionals
  • Book group organisers
  • Book enthusiasts
  • Enthusiasts in book’s subject matter

Networking is not only about having a valuable address book. It’s about helping others. The single most valuable thing you can do is help other authors. If you’re free with your favours, in turn you’re much more likely to find help and opportunities offered to you.

How to network then? Online, make sure your email address is available so others can contact you privately. Offline, get yourself business cards and make sure to hand them out to those you meet.

There are a variety of places where you can network. Choose those which suit:

  • Online forums, clubs, email lists, events, blogs
  • Author and writing associations
  • Writing conferences and literature events
  • Book trade events
  • Asking friends for referrals


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Rule 10: The early bird catches the worm

Thinking about Web 2.0 and therefore Marketing for Authors 2.0 moves me nicely on to Rule 10 of Marketing for Authors: the early bird often catches the worm.

If you’re the first to do something, you’ve got a chance to get established before the marketplace becomes crowded.

 

It is true that sometimes marketing is about following what’s gone before. e.g.

  • A publisher is looking for a certain type of book similar to what they’ve published before. You might want to write that book to get that publishing slot. For example, if you’re aiming for Wild Rose Press’s Yellow Rose imprint their guidelines are pretty specific: “make sure its full of those yummy cowboys we all love.”

  • There’s an opportunity to promote with lots of other authors at a conference where there will be lots of book readers, such as Alison Kent who’s planning to go to the Romantic Times Convention which coincides with a book release next April.

 

However, marketing is also about innovating, about doing new and different things.

  • Michelle Styles sold three Roman romances to Harlequin, despite various people saying she’d be better off writing medieval or Regency as that’s all they publish. Yet they bought her Ancient Rome set stories.

 

And often it’s enough simply to give an old idea a new twist.

  • Joseph O’Steen finds he gets more than his far share of attention at book events when he appears as a pirate.

 

Or spot and seize an unexpected opportunity.

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