The following are a few suggestions I’ve collected over the past weeks for self-published authors to market their books. I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of them and if so, how they’ve worked.
That’s it for now. I’ll pass on more marketing tips as I gather them. In the meantime, never stop writing and never stop marketing your book(s).
In my writing blog dated September 23, 2021, I promised as soon as I unearthed more writing tips, I would pass them on. Well, I’ve been doing some digging and here are the most recent ones I’ve extracted:
Under “The Joy of Writing” portion of my blog, I would like to list some of the writing tips I’ve gathered along the way. They are not listed in order of importance. Here we go!
Being a self-published author has its challenges. One of them I find particularly taxing is the marketing of my book. There are so many confusing voices on the Internet telling me that if I purchase their service, my advertising will reach hundreds (or thousands) of people. How do I know what is true – what works and what doesn’t?
Of course, there are many ways to market my book without spending money, such as approaching bookstores, libraries, joining groups on social media, and sending queries to podcasts and radio stations to interview me regarding the book. It’s the advertisements that promise me the moon that I’m unsure whether to invest in or not.
For example, I purchased an ad on one of the social media sites and ran it for seven days. I got clicks but not purchases. I gave up after one campaign. But should I have? I receive blogs regarding book marketing and one blogger stated that you have to keep trying different ads to see which ones are successful and which ones are not. This makes sense but it also costs money.
I think my quandary is where will my advertising dollar have the most success? And when you get right down to it, the only way to find out is by trial and error. Not very reassuring. But I’ll keep plugging away. Giving up is not an option.
There are two aspects of writing I do not like. They both involve description. One is the physical description of people. The other is the description of scene.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE
It is important for the reader to have a mental picture of what the characters in the novel look like. Are they tall or short, heavy-set or thin? Do they have long faces, or round cherubic ones? What color are their eyes? Do they have a short, stubby nose or a long patrician one?
There are any number of characters in a work of fiction, most of which will require a physical description. What I find challenging is making each one distinct. It takes a lot of thought. Does their physical description match what their character is like? Or do they look like an angel but act like the devil?
DESCRIPTION OF THE SCENE
I remember reading books that went to great length to describe the scene. I usually read one or two lines and skipped over the rest. So, the test is to make the reader acutely aware of the scene the character is moving in, but not to bore. It’s a fine line.
How is the character experiencing the scene? What does he/she see, hear, touch, taste, and feel? If I write that a stiff breeze blew from the west, what does that breeze feel like on my character’s skin? If I write that a plane flew overhead, did the sound hurt the character’s ears, irritate or interest? If I write that a river sparkled in the distance, does the character want to go and see it up close, jump in for a swim, or just view it from afar?
Physical and scene description are extremely important for the reader to “see” what the character looks like and where the action is taking place. I think I don’t like writing them because, although necessary, they don’t move the story along.
However, no matter whether I like writing them or not, these are two skills that I must continually develop to improve as an author.
It is an interesting exercise for a writer to consider how they write. For example, I write Christian romance novels. How do I develop the plot, characters, setting, time, and all the other elements that go into my novels?
I’ve been thinking about this recently. A word that keeps coming into my mind is ‘organic’ – that I write organically. So, I looked up the word and some sentence examples to gain a better understanding of its definition. One of the definitions Lexico.com provides for organic is, “denoting a relation between elements of something such as they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole” (Lexico.com is a new collaboration between Dictionary.com and Oxford University Press (OUP).
Here are two examples of the word used in a sentence:
My next step was to look up what I consider to be the opposite of organic and that is
‘structured’. As a transitive verb, Lexico.com defines structure as, “construct or arrange according to a plan.”
When I sit down to write a novel, I do have an overall plan. But the parts within that plan are flexible. For example, in a way that is difficult to explain, my characters sometimes go off in directions that I did not anticipate when I developed the structure. Rather than stick rigidly to the structure, I allow the character to go where he/she wants to go. Sometimes this is inconvenient, as it means rearranging other aspects of the book. But I believe it is important to give the character free rein.
In “Seventy Times Seven,” the character Maria was to play a secondary role to the main character, Merisela. However, Maria took on a life of her own and played a much more important part in the book than originally designed. I believe that letting Maria be Maria ultimately enhanced the part of Merisela.
Am I saying that it is better to write organically rather than structurally? No. What I am saying is that I am a writer who writes organically. Ultimately, it is the reader who will decide whether they like an organic writer. They will vote yay or nay with their pocket books.
I write Christian romance novels and have been blessed to work with an excellent editor. Today, I’d like to share some of the things she’s taught me. Although they are basic, it never hurts to be reminded of them.
That’s it for now. It never hurts to be reminded of what keeps our writing sharp, clear and compelling.
For my first "The Joy of Writing" blog post, I want to share with you the Prologue for "Seventy Times Seven". Of course, the purpose in doing this is to make you want to read the whole book. Here it is.
The air was unusually still - almost stifling. The breeze off the ocean had disappeared. Stray dogs barked incessantly. The vendors' stalls stood vacant. Dark clouds blocked out the sun, casting grey shadows across the pavement.
One of the stray dogs followed on her heels, stalking her. An ugly thing, its bones protruded with each movement and patches of skin showed through its mangy brown and white fur. Jaundiced eyes glowed like burning sulfur.
"Go away," she said sternly.
It kept following.
She picked up a stick and threw it down the street. "Fetch," she hissed.
It snarled with a low, deep growl.
Stopping, she bent down and tried another tactic, "Nice dog, nice dog," she said, reaching her hand toward the creature.
With slow, deliberate steps it began to circle her. Round and round it went, making it difficult to proceed further.
"Help me!" she sobbed loudly, tears streaming down her face.
No one heard and no one responded.
The dog began circling faster
I must make my move now, she realized. Nearly tripping over the animal, she ran down the street, her legs wobbling. The dog's breath, like fire, burned her calves.
"Leave me alone!" she screamed as she raced up the walkway to her home. Her foot hit something hard and she plummeted to the ground. The dog's fangs bit into her flesh as it dragged her body like a rag doll. Blood gushed everywhere. She tried to get up but the animal knocked her down. Struggling, she thrust at the scruffy body with every ounce of strength she possessed.
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.