Marketing is cited as the #1 pain in the rump for most writers, which is funny because…
1) marketing and then selling our books is the only way we can continue to write and do what we love,
2) marketing is a great way to creatively express your ideas, and
3) you’re a writer so you are already skilled in the best marketing tool there is—more writing.
But, I totally get it because I often feel the same way. We are selling books, literature, art! We aren’t marketing gadgets or gizmos.
These stories came from our hearts and it feels wrong to “push” them onto people. We want people to love them just like we do.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If people don’t see your books, they won’t know they are available for purchase.
As writers, writing should be easy, non?
Facebook ads and Amazon ads, etc., are all great but you gain external credibility when another website publishes your personal essays or articles that are tangentially related to your book(s).
Is it slower and more work to market in this way?
Perhaps, but it should be part of your marketing toolkit and you’d be remiss in not trying it.
Example of how to market your book in a personal essay
Here’s an example to follow: this Conde Naste Traveler article “How My Mother’s Travels Shaped My World View” focused on a woman’s relationship with her mother.
At the end of the personal essay, the author mentions, “She wanted to travel the globe, and she did. Because of my mom, I decided to work in food media after college, even though I had zero connections in that world and all my peers were going into finance. I wrote a cookbook while working as a full-time journalist.”
The author bio at the bottom linked to the woman’s cookbook and voila, this woman is marketing her book without being annoying.
In fact, she is providing entertainment value and making herself relatable to the audience before inviting them to buy her book. Even better.
Write essays and publish them everywhere
So, that’s my #1 tip—pitch essays like the one above for publication on third-party websites.
This approach gets your book in front of a lot of people all at once without annoying anyone.
You can (and should) feel proud pushing the article on all of your platforms because it’s not screaming, “BUY MY BOOK!”
The downside is that it’s not easy to (successfully) pitch third-party websites your essays and it requires a lot of lead time.
There is a ton of rejection involved in freelance writing and if you’re not experienced, you’re going to become quickly frustrated.
Alternatives to publishing on third-party websites
Don’t have time to pitch and get rejected over and over again?
Here are some alternatives to third-party exposure:
—Publish your essays on Medium.com
—Publish your writing on LinkedIn
—Publish your writing on your own website (you should have an author platform, hello!)
—Coordinate with other bloggers who might have smaller-than-Conde-Naste-size audiences and see if they take guest posts
Follow the formula above—offer authentic, genuine writing that is attractive to your intended audience and weave in the fact that you’ve written a book toward the end of your essay with a link in your bio.
Don’t forget to optimize your homepage
If the website doesn’t allow links to books/products, then definitely ask for a link to your homepage and make sure your homepage is optimized to send people to your book.
For my current children’s book Kickstarter campaign, I optimized my homepage to be a landing page.
My homepage currently sends people directly to my Kickstarter campaign that way if any third-party website articles take off and link to my homepage, readers will be clearly directed to my book’s campaign.
You can see how I set it up here: https://lisaferland.com
So, my fellow writers, keep writing and getting your book in front of new readers.