Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Marketing That Gives by Amanda G. Stevens

If you're a new writer, getting your name and book information into a world crowded with new writers can seem like swimming up a waterfall. Today, Amanda G. Stevens gives us some good, common-sense tips for that swim. -- Sandy

Amanda: As a new author (my debut released less than a year ago!), I have no magic marketing formula, no silver bullet to bring on the book sales. I try to notice what works for me as a reader first—what piques my interest in an author, and what does the opposite?

1. Be diverse in conversation.

We’ve all heard the Twitter caveat: don’t tweet solely (or mostly) about your book. We ought to embrace the spirit of this rule in all our reader interactions. On Goodreads, don’t rate your own books. On Facebook, discuss what you’re reading; ask questions and respond to the answers. Discuss music and movies, too. Your artistic tastes are likely to coincide with those of your target audience. But more importantly, talking about these things demonstrates you’re not here to push a product.

2. Be generous.

Offer readers something unique. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow for $100 Amazon and Starbucks gift cards. (Mine doesn’t!) Well, can you give away a $10 card? Do that. There’s a fun thrill in winning even small things. Remember, though, you can be generous in other ways. Offer knowledge. For example, one of my author friends posts recipes on her blog. Offer encouragement. Look at your life experience. If you’re ready to be open, I don’t doubt there’s a group of people you could speak to. Do you take great pictures? Turn them into Bible verse memes. Whatever it is, I promise you have something to give.

3. Be thankful.

I saw Taylor Swift in concert when she had only one album out and was still an opening act, and I won’t forget the sweet humility of her stage presence that night. I lost count of how many times she said “thank you!” People are buying our books. Reading our books. In other words, spending money and time on the work of our hearts. What an amazing honor! It’s great fun to see authors who don’t take that for granted but rather express gratitude to their readers, not only by offering giveaways but by saying thank you.

4. Be courteous.

I’m speaking as a reader especially here, because nothing more quickly turns me away from an author than entitled or antagonistic behavior toward his/her readers. Most atrocious is the author who comments on negative book reviews. There’s no way to do this well. No book is liked by everyone. Publishing a book means exposing it to criticism. A few bad reviews are proof your book is being read by a wide audience. Soak that up!

5. Value your tribe.

No author promotion is as persuasive as reader word of mouth. When everyone is buzzing about a book, I’ve got to read it and join the discussion. Especially when my friends with similar reading tastes are the buzzing ones. They’re disinterested parties and I know them and I trust them to know me. The tribe who spreads the word about your book to people of like mind—they are the priceless ones. Treat them well!

What has been your greatest difficulty in marketing your book? If you're a multi-published author, what is something that you did in the beginning to get your name out? What kind of problems do you run across even now? How have you attacked those problems? 


As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in English, she has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn.