In my last newsletter, “New Year’s Resolutions and Alternatives,” I mentioned my new 2x2x2 Daily Writing Method — two hours of working on my current book, two hours of marketing, and two hours of reading each day. While the first and last tasks are relatively self-explanatory, the two hours of marketing needs more explanation.
Most people, new writers included, don’t realize authors have to do their own marketing. This is especially true of self-published authors, but even writers who are published by big publishing companies will have to do some marketing. It can be overwhelming, so breaking it down into easy tasks helps.
Two hours of marketing
During the Writers Digest Conferences last November, I attended Amy Collins‘ “One Small Thing a Day: Marketing Made Easy” session. In that session, Amy urged writers to complete six marketing tasks every day. With Amy’s consent, I’ve listed them below and have included my own ideas and comments.
Honestly, I could spend all day on any one or two of these tasks. So, instead of trying to fit all of them in one day, I tackle them over the course of a week, working on any combination of them for two hours each day.
Okay, here we go . . .
Six Easy Marketing Tasks for Writers
1. Find and approach someone to talk to about your book/writing
This includes reaching out to radio stations like Playtime with Bill and Kerri in Chicago, WNIJ with Dan Klefstad in Rockford, Illinois (see the outtakes from my interview), and My World and Welcome to it with Rex Owens in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; literary agents (including querying agents); literary magazines such as the Chicago Writers Association’s online magazine The Write City Magazine (submitting your work counts!); neighbors; family members; your local grocer, the mail carrier; etc. This task gets the word out about your writing and helps you become comfortable discussing your work.
2. Work on newsletter/blog articles
Amy Collins suggests aiming for 350 words each day. By doing this, you’ll make good progress and won’t be as rushed trying to get them done on time. Plus, the more you work on them, the more ideas you’ll generate.
3. Read one article on writing
Or, I’ll add, listen to a writing podcast. Great article sources include the Storm Writing School Blog (start with “How Habits Can Revitalize Your Writing“), better yet, sign up for his newsletter. Also, Jane Friedman’s newsletter Electric Speed and Valerie Biel’s blog which is recognized as one of the top 50 writing blogs. For podcast recommendations, check out The Write Life‘s article, “33 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to Right Now.”
4. Connect with readers on social media for ten minutes
This is one of those tasks you can easily do every day while waiting in line at the grocery store or doctor’s office. Connect through Twitter, Facebook groups, Instagram — whatever platform you prefer. Responding to readers’ emails counts, too.
5. Learn something about a successful author
Start with authors who write books in your genre. Because I’m writing a young adult dystopian series, I turned first to Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games. Did you know Ms. Collins worked at Nickelodeon?
To this, I’ll add reaching out to a successful author. Connect with authors through Twitter, their Facebook page, Instagram, and their website. Don’t forget about reviewing their books on Amazon and Goodreads.
6. Find an event or venue to approach
Whether it’s presenting a workshop to writers, having a discussion with a book club, or selling books at a bookstore or book fair, participating in literary events is a great way to get the word out about your writing. Sarah Nicolas’s Substack lists virtual author and reader events that are pretty awesome. Whether you’re a writer or reader or both, be sure to check it out.
That’s it! You’ll notice I never suggested browbeating people with requests to buy your books. Instead, connect with readers through your common love of literature. This makes marketing a lot less painful for you and much more rewarding for everyone.
Do you have other marketing tips? Pass them along!
Where I’ll be tomorrow
Online Writing Retreat with Tim Storm. I’m looking forward to Tim’s discussions on turning points, connecting with other writers, and working on The Devil Particle.
The Chicago Writers Association’s virtual Book of the Year Awards Ceremony. I’ll join in the celebration of the four winners, including my friend Mary Lang Sollinger, whose book, From Inspiration to Activism: A Personal Journey through Obama’s Campaign, won the award for best Indie Nonfiction. Congratulations to Mary and the other winners!