Roseanna: There are things that help a little, things that can’t hurt, and things that are a whole lot of fun, no matter the outcome.
#3 Have a Pitch
Inevitably, someone in the grocery store or church parking lot or soccer sidelines will ask you, “Oh, you’re a writer? What’s your story about?”
Trust me—it helps to have something to tell them. Otherwise you’re left going, “Oh, well, you know. A guy. And a girl. With some issues. Stuff happens. You know. A little romance, some faith…er…um…”
While you certainly don’t want to sound rehearsed in this situation, do have a concise explanation handy. Mine would go something like this:
Well, it’s biblical fiction, set in the New Testament days—the Church of Rome, actually. My heroine is a slave named Zipporah who can see into the spiritual realm, so there are some pretty interesting adventures she falls into. Especially when I pit her against a woman who has a spirit of divination. It’s not exactly a romance, but there’s a strong love story—I gotta have a love story! Really, though, I wanted to examine the depths of faith and what it would have been like to be one of the first generation of the church. Pretty fun stuff.
As you can see, it’s not formal. I always interrupt myself. I phrase it like a chat. And when I do this with curious acquaintances, they always respond with questions and opinions that allow for a conversation to develop—and a perfect opportunity to hand out a bookmark. ;-)
#4 Make it a Group Effort
Do you belong to a close-knit writers group? Group blog? Just friends with other authors in the same genre? Pool your efforts!
Some of the most amazing online events I’ve participated in are the monthly Tea Parties hosted by Colonial Quills (www.ColonialQuills.blogspot.com). Every month, new releases by the contributors are celebrated in style, and dozens of readers churn out hundreds of comments, sharing images of the gowns they’re “wearing” and chatting as if they’re at the location specified in the party, complete with “Do pass another of those scrumptious shortbread cookies!” Authors often appear as their characters, promoting their books in the process, and a merry time is had by all. Because these events are monthly, avid readers know to come on the first Friday of every month. But because the guests of honor change, new Facebook events, Google + events, and Twitter hashtags are created so friends and fans can be invited.
The result? Shared efforts combine to create incredibly successful online events.
#5 Be Enthusiastic
Whether you’re posting to Facebook or talking to someone face-to-face, your enthusiasm goes a long, long way. Make sure your passion for your story comes through. Use a few of those exclamation points you weren’t allowed to put in the book itself. ;-) Don’t play it cool—play it real. Yes, this will occasionally get you labeled “absolutely adorable.” There are worse things, LOL.
As with many things in life, there are no guarantees in marketing. My mantra with this sort of thing has become “There’s no magic bullet.” Which means no one thing that will make something a huge success. But you can identify things that help, things that harm…and tailor it to you from there!
What other good ideas have you put into practice for selling books? If you're unpublished is there something on your list to try when the time comes?
Roseana M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of 9 historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com..